Top choice in Faro

The centrepiece of the Cidade Velha, the was completed in 1251 but heavily damaged in the 1755 earthquake. What you see now is a variety of Renaissance, Gothic and baroque features. Climb the tower for lovely views across the walled town and estuary islands. The cathedral also houses the Museu Capitular, with an assortment of chalices, priestly vestments and grisly relics (including both forearms of St Boniface), and a small 18th-century shrine built of bones.

The blocky, castle-like cathedral occupies what was probably the site of a Roman temple, then later a Visigoth cathedral and a Moorish mosque. Only the tower gate and several chapels remain of the original Romanesque-Gothic exterior – the rest was obliterated in 1755. The interior has very elaborate baroque side altarpieces, and the altar itself is flanked by matching vaulted Gothic chapels. The baroque pipe organ was built in 1715 by Johann Heinrich Hulenkampf.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Faro attractions

1. Museu Municipal

0.06 MILES

Faro’s domed 16th-century Renaissance Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, in what was once the Jewish quarter, houses the town's local history museum…

2. Arco da Porta Nova

0.06 MILES

At the southwestern end of the Largo da Sé is this small 15th-century town gate connecting the old town with the waterfront, where some boats depart.

3. Galeria Trem

0.07 MILES

This converted military warehouse displays contemporary art with temporary exhibitions by local and international artists – painters, photographers,…

4. Arco da Vila

0.09 MILES

Enter the Cidade Velha (Old Town) through the neoclassical Arco da Vila, built in 1812 by order of Bishop Francisco Gomes do Avelar, who oversaw the city…

5. Arco de Repouso


You can leave the Cidade Velha (Old Town) through the medieval Arco de Repouso (Gate of Rest). Apparently Afonso III, after taking Faro from the Moors,…

6. Igreja da Misericórdia

0.12 MILES

The 16th-century Igreja da Misericórdia, opposite the Arco da Vila, was originally built in Manueline (Portuguese late Gothic) style but is now nearly all…

7. Igreja de São Francisco

0.22 MILES

The foundations of this monastery's church were laid in 1679 and it was enlarged during the 18th and 19th centuries. Behind its blinding white facade are…

8. Museu Regional do Algarve

0.28 MILES

Three of the four halls at this worthwhile museum house exhibitions on rural life in the Algarve, including mock-ups of 19th-century shops and rooms, a…