Many visitors pass through Faro on their way to somewhere else, particularly seeing as there are no sandy beaches in the city. However there is much to explore in the old town, and golden beaches are only a 20 minute ride away.
The Cidade Velha (Old Town) has many attractions, and wandering through the cobbled streets on foot is a pleasant experience in itself. At its core is the Faro Cathedral, which contains many Baroque artworks, and views of the city from the top of its tower.
Thick-skinned visitors may want to see the Carmelite Church and its Chapel of Bones, the walls of which are adorned with the bones and skulls of monks. For something a tad more lighthearted head to the Municipal Museum, which contains many archaeological relics.
Faro is a great place to use as a base for exploring the surrounding scenery. Take the bus to Graia de Faro, the closest sandy beach. The Ilha de Barreta is a small island with another sandy beach, and is covered in wild flowers. It is reachable by taking the ferry from the Porta Nova pier. The island can also be visited as part of a boat tour through the Ria Formosa National Park salt marshes, where you can explore the regionís flora and fauna.