Five things for families in Faro

Having recently returned from a trip to Portugal for which we flew into and left from Faro airport, however we had never really ventured into the city.  Faro is such a vibrant place with plenty to do for families.  As a family we decided to spend 24 hours in Faro, and for the vast majority of our time there it rain.  In addition to these places featured there were plenty of parks for the kids to play in, a playground near the marina and of course many shops to visit.

Capela dos Ossos  - Chapel of Bones

The chapel of bones is located to the rear of the Carmo church and as a result is only accessible when the church is not in use for mass or service.  The church is beautiful in its own right and is certainly worth a visit.



The walls and ceilings are lined with gold that glistens in the Portuguese sun.  My children stood mesmerised by the statues and figures, trying to take it all in.  In order to reach the chapel of bones you walk the aisle up towards the altar before turning to the right to go towards the back of the church.  


As you stand in the chapel of bones it is hard to comprehend what you are looking at.  The walls, ceiling and archways are all made from human bones including skulls.  each skull perfectly aligned to the one above and below and there is a real symmetry about the design.  In a strange way it is captivating, and strangely beautiful.  The girls were fascinated about what they were looking at.


Cidade Velha - Old Town

Faro Old town is surrounded by the old city walls, upon entering through the giant gate archway you feel transported back into a traditional city.  Narrow cobbled streets, with stunning architecture on the buildings.  The streets have shops selling traditional goods, houses, and cafes.  A trip to old town is worth it alone just to have a walk around and immerse yourself in history or simply stop at one of the cafe to watch the world go past.  If you do visit Old town there is one place which has to be visited, Faro Cathedral and look out tower


The cathedral, museum and grounds were perfect for taking a lazy walk around.  Looking at the different artifacts and discussing the history of old town with the girls, but it was the look out tower that made the visit.  The steps are steep and winding but both girls managed it, we did take our time, and the views from the top are breath taking. 





We had a pretty rainy day, and you can see in the photo above the rain coming into shore, but we still had fantastic views over Faro and old town.




Centro de Ciência Viva do Algarve - Science Museum

Our day in Faro rained, pretty much the whole time, so we looked for things we could do whatever the weather.  The majority of the science museum is indoors, there is a garden outside but we chose to stay in the main building.  The girls were simply blown away.


The museum is very hands on, encouraging children to learn by exploring.  Upon entering the museum the girls were greeted with a large aquarium, and of course they needed to take time to find Nemo!


Whilst the majority of the instructions are in Portuguese, this simply added to the fun.  Not only trying to work out what each exhibit did and how it worked, but also learning about the exhibit itself!  The girls favourite part was the earthquake bridge which shook to replicate an earthquake, Little Man loved the giant bubbles and for me I loved the attention to detail.  The bright colours, the decorations and how all the exhibits worked with each other.  


In addition to the outside area the main building is on two floors.  The attraction upstairs is insects and reptiles with a focus on scorpions and spiders.  I am usually OK with house spiders, and the bigger spiders if I know where they are but I have never seen spiders this big before.  Following with the rest of the museum this area is also very hands on, although the girls were not too keen on this prospect despite it just the skin of the spider and not a live spider they could interact with.  [If you are scared of spiders please scroll quickly past the next photo]


Marina

I always feel at peace next to water.  The marina in Faro is such a beautiful place that is very family friendly.  As well as a flat walk that is great for pushchairs, there is also an outdoor park for the older children to play in.  We had dinner in a pizza restaurant right on the marina front, and I have to say the food was delicious and came with a fantastic view.




The beach is also accessible from here which was a wonderful place to sit and watch the planes take off and the gorgeous sunset!  Do be aware that there is an active train line to cross to get to the beach, and our pushchair wheels got stuck so take care.



Land train

As the heavy rain poured down we sort shelter in the Land train.  The train picks up outside the marina by the playground, I would give you a time but as the tourist information point said it should be here but they seem to be a bit random times today.  The land train took us on a tour of Faro and lasted around 30 minutes.  Whilst the tour was in English the points the narrator was mentioning was not in the location we currently were, so for example it was talking about the marina whilst we were at the top of a hill looking at a statue!  Not that it made any difference to the children, they simply loved the fact were were taking a ride on a train!


There was so much to see and do in Faro, fantastic shops and restaurants and plenty for the whole family whatever the weather.  We spent a full 24 hours in Faro in the rain and could have easily spent longer!  Faro really is a great family friendly city to visit.



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