Boardwalk with sea beyond and yellow flowers
Coast & seascapes,  Monday walks,  Portugal

A spring walk by the sea in Faro

One of the delights of a spring break somewhere a little warmer than home is of course to get out and enjoy the sunshine. And if you can do so by the sea, so much the better. I’m not one for lying baking on a tropical beach; I can’t take the heat and I get easily bored. But I love the sea: the sound of waves on the shore, the fresh sea air.

To the beach!

On the Sunday of our recent weekend in Faro we had planned to go to the beach, and despite waking to cloudy skies we decided to stick to that plan. And in Faro a trip to the beach means catching a bus or ferry. We opted for the former, as the bus terminal was so close to the apartment we were renting. We were at the terminal in good time and the bus left promptly. All went well as far as the airport, where unsurprisingly the majority of passengers got off.

But then thing started to go wrong. The bus continued to the next roundabout but the exit he needed was blocked by a police car; we couldn’t turn off. The driver retreated to the previous stop where he explained as best he could (he didn’t speak much English) that the police hadn’t given him a reason for the road block nor said how long it would last. We had two alternatives; we could walk the three kilometres to the beach or stay on the bus and return to town. Chris and I discussed the options briefly and decided to go back to town and try catching the ferry instead.

But as we set off the driver clearly decided to give the beach road one last try; and it was open! So he managed to complete the journey to the terminus. This is at the land end of a bridge which connects the mainland to the barrier island and its beach, Praia do Faro. A short walk along the bridge and we’d arrived, finally!

Sandy beach with a few people
First view of the beach

The first task was to have a coffee, and although the cappuccinos were disappointing (they seemed to have been sweetened) the sunny table with a view of the sea was not. Yes, a sunny table; during our elongated bus ride the clouds had parted and the weather had turned perfect for a spring outing!

An island walk

After coffee we set off on a walk along the narrow barrier island; a walk I of course have to share with Jo for a Monday Walk that no doubt she knows very well!

At first we followed the only road that runs along the island’s spine between the mainly holiday homes that cluster either side of the bridge. Those on our right as we walked faced the lagoon, those on our left the open sea.

As I had been some years before on Farol, I was captivated by the traditional chimneys and took lots of photos.

Soon we left the road to follow a boardwalk on the seaward side.

Boardwalk with yellow flowers
Boardwalk among the flowers and dunes

There were bright purple, yellow and white flowers everywhere; the sun came and went but for the most part shone brightly; and the sound of the waves accompanied our walk.

Although it was a Sunday the beach wasn’t at all crowded. A few people had settled down to sunbathe, others were walking their dogs or like ourselves simply walking.

After a while the holiday homes petered out and we were among the much simpler fishermen’s houses. Dogs barked as we passed, a rooster crowed and the sun grew hotter.

Taking lots of photos as we went, we eventually reached the point where all the houses finish, as does the boardwalk, and the nature reserve begins.

Boardwalk, dunes and sea
Where the boardwalk ends

It was at this point that we turned and retraced our steps. Just before we reached the central point, by the bridge and parking area, we spotted a small beach-facing café with a shady table available. We ordered tuna sandwiches which were huge and very good; generously filled and on homemade bread. It was such a treat, in early April, to be able to enjoy this simple but tasty meal accompanied by the sound of the sea!

After lunch we sampled the walk in the other direction but found it less interesting. There was no boardwalk so we had to follow the road, and much of the route was taken up by a rather dull looking campsite.

Sailing boat at anchor in calm waters
Boat in the lagoon
Water tower painted with a sea horse mural
Water tower in the campsite

Still, we got a few more photos before again retracing our steps, this time in search of ice cream. By now the cafés around the bridge were busier but we managed to find some shade while we ate.

By the time we’d finished our ices it was mid-afternoon and we’d been in the sun a long while, without hats (neither of us had thought to pack one!) So we decided to catch the next bus back to town, very satisfied with our time by the sea.

Wetlands with distant hills
The Ria Formosa lagoon
Plane landing over wetlands
Parting shot

I visited Faro in April 2022


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