Faro was another one of those places I landed in largely because it was on the way to another destination. In this case, it was a good transfer between Seville to Lisbon, and after a quick search (because I knew next to nothing about it), I thought it sounded like a place worth checking out.
The mainland, including the old town, isn’t all that large an area and was very quiet in June. I liked this a lot, but for those looking for a bit more of a lively atmosphere, I understand it gets alot busier in summer, and the islands in the Ria Formosa lagoon are a big part of the draw; some have accommodations too.
From the mainland, it’s easy to incorporate the islands into your visit for day trips or boat tours. I took a tour that went to 3 of them and gave me a little time to explore each. It was nice for a quick look and to get a little insight about the area from the boat driver/guide, but there are boat taxis and hop-on-hop-off boats that would allow you to explore quite a bit more.
Something I hadn’t read about, but I thought was really cool, is that storks nest around the city. Their large nests were up in some of the beautiful old buildings, and they could be seen flying in and out of the wetlands; it’s pretty amazing to see such large birds flying.
As for the weather, I figured being along the coast it wouldn’t be near as hot as I had experienced in Spain, but it was still cooler than I had expected and downright chilly in the evenings.
This was a 7-night stay…
- Accommodation – $530.36* (additional information below)
- Getting around locally – $0
- Living expenses – $177.58 (mainly just groceries and eating out)
- Activities – $37.64 (Boat tour 35€)
- Mobile phone/data – $17.41 (I use Google Fi, which provides service in most countries. If you’re interested and based in the U.S., you can use this paid link to sign up, which will give me a referral fee at no extra cost to you.)
- Medical insurance – $16.13 (I’m using SafetyWing; rates are determined by age, and mine is above the base. If you’re interested, there’s a paid link/banner on the right side of the page)
Total $779.12 / 7-nights = $111.30 per
- I stayed at Faro Downtown Ria Formosa I reserved through Booking.com. It was a nice little studio just down the street from the heart of old town. It had everything I needed for my week there, and the host provided some fruit and a 1.5l bottle of water; it’s amazing how rare it is to get even a bottle of water in many parts of the world these days. Now, it might be because Portugal is one of the most affordable places I’ve seen in a while to buy bottled water (0,31 euro cents for 1.5l), but regardless, it was very much appreciated! The host (Alberto) was all-around really great; he gave me good recommendations marked on a map for restaurants, boat tours, etc., and seemed honestly ready and willing to help if I needed anything. I know it’s not easy to manage rentals, but a lot of the people in the business show it way more than I think is ok to those of us not giving them any work other than the most basic of the job, that is. So when I find people like Alberto, it’s pleasure for me to spread the word and hopefully help their business.
Transportation to and from varies a lot, so I left it out of the above breakdown along with most incidental/one-time personal costs. But for those interested, in this particular case, I booked a direct Bus with ALSA from Plaza De Armas (Seville) to Faro. I paid a little extra to choose my seat, and the total cost was 16,99€ ($17.95). All other standard day-to-day expenses are included to give an idea of how much basic living costs in the area are. Groceries will sometimes include personal care items (i.e., toothpaste, deodorant, etc.).
** I try to use Rakuten whenever it’s an option; why not take the money. It works with a browser add-on, and there is also a mobile app. Note from the Ratuken site, “Stores pay us a commission for sending our members to their websites, and we share it with you. It’s that simple!” If you haven’t signed up yet, and are interested, please consider using this referral link to help support me, and get a signup bonus. I use it regularly and recommend it, but take a look for yourself to decide if it’s right for you. When you sign up using the link, use it spending $, we each get $! The $ varies; I’ve recently seen at $40 and $30. They state “Offer may be modified or canceled anytime.”
*** Of course, the currency exchange varied during the stay, so for simplicity, I used a rate of 1 USD = 0,93€ for cash transactions. The accommodations and some of the daily purchases made on credit cards are included at the converted cost charged.
**** Since this is my living situation, I don’t go to top-rated restaurants or paid entry to tourist attractions too much. I do eat out a lot, but usually nothing special; to some extent, it’s somewhat more cost-effective this way… at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I try to be cost-conscious, eating as a local would… maybe you could say like a backpacker/broke college student, that is LOL! I try to note any differences to this above.
I’m striving to provide useful information for people planning trips or a nomadic lifestyle, so if you have any ideas to make these posts more helpful, please let me know. You can comment/DM on social media, in the comments below, or email at (MeanderingMax@gmail.com). I appreciate your support!