Into Portugal – First Stop Faro

During my first visit to Sevilla, I realised that I’d mistimed my visit to the city a little in that I was there a week before the biggest festival of the year was due to begin. I wasn’t so keen to stay in Seville until the Semana Santa festival started as much as I loved the city so decided to carry on with my original plan of heading to south Portugal for the next few days before maybe zig-zagging back to Sevilla again. Or continuing up north through Portugal depending how I felt. Although those that read my last post know that obviously I did return back to Sevilla but at this point, it wasn’t definitely locked into my schedule.

There wasn’t a direct train to Faro from Sevilla which surprised me. I still hadn’t used my Euro rail pass yet as the buses had been so cheap. Or otherwise the train tracks hadn’t gone to any of my intended destinations (i.e Tarifa and now Faro as well). I was starting to think maybe my rail pass wouldn’t get used during my month of Spain and Portugal travelling. The buses are so low priced and easy to spontaneously book even on the day of travel itself with fixed ticket prices and the buses rarely being full. But the cool thing with the rail pass is that if you don’t use it, then you can return it within six months and get a full refund.

Faro is the biggest city in the Algrave region right at the bottom of Portugal on the coastline. It’s still very small and walkable. During my visit, it was pretty quiet with not a lot going on. I stayed for two nights but would been fine with staying just for one as the only activities to do in Faro involve the beach and maybe cycling round the countryside if that takes your fancy. I did try out an electric bicycle and felt pretty tempted to hire one for a day.. But the laziness of a nearby island beach attracted me more.

The first afternoon I caught the bus out to the local beach as the Faro township is quite far from the beach despite being on the coastline. It’s surrounded by swampy type marshland and unless you’re prepared to walk or bike 8km one way, you should take a bus. The water was still too cold to put any more than a toe in, but I enjoyed tanning myself on the warm golden sand and watching the other locals on the beach.

I also checked out the only attraction in town that vaguely interested me.

This church. Which contained……..

BONES!

Arranged in a creepy fashion [cue spooky music]. However not as impressive as the Paris Catacombs

The next day after doing some much needed laundry, I caught a ferry out to a nearby island called Deserta Island. I had a great time doing the long winding walk around the island with relaxing stops on the surrounding beach to rest. All the island contains is sand, bush, a lighthouse and a restaurant that is only staffed during the day. Nobody stays overnight making it a truly deserted island.

View of Faro from the ferry

Stepped off the ferry onto the island to be greeted by this fella

The lighthouse with some fishing rods

I found this at the end of the pathway

A closer look

Walking with seagulls

After a restful night despite two determined snorers in my dorm room, I wandered down to the local estacion de autobuses and caught the next bus to Lagos.

Where I stayed: Casa d’Alagoa
Price: €12 in a 6 bed dorm (which was half empty as a bonus)
Overall: I met a few people who absolutely loved it there and considered it one of their best hostels ever. But I just found it to be okay. I found one of the staff members on arrival to be rather unfriendly. I also didn’t feel like I clicked with any of the other guests. It was clean and tidy though with massive bunk beds. One odd cultural difference I found was that you are encouraged to put toilet paper in the bin rather than the loo. The town pipes are too old handle too much paper in the system. Weird.

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