CIAL Faro is located in a typical Algarve villa in the centre of Faro, in the Municipal Square. The school offers high quality year round Portuguese courses in all levels, in small groups or in tailor...
Learn Portuguese in Faro, colourful capital of the Algarve region
Portugal is a country full of colour, music and festivals, and there’s a festival every month of the year in Faro! The capital of the Algarve region in the south of Portugal hosts a sand-sculpting festival, a festival of folk music and dancing, a traditional fisherman’s festival in September and in October, the Feira de Santa Iria.
This is Faro’s biggest traditional festival and it has its own fairground just outside town as well as taking over many of the streets with delicious food stalls and souvenirs of St Irene, the festival’s patron. Learning Portuguese in Faro, you’ll experience Portuguese culture all year round.
Things to do in Faro
Look for azulejos - these beautiful Portuguese tiles decorate churches, monasteries and royal buildings. They can even be found on banks and railway stations. You can buy simpler modern versions as souvenirs, while older azulejos are often framed and sold as artworks. There is a Museum of Azulejo in Lisbon, if you find yourself fascinated by this traditional craft and want a weekend in Portugal’s capital.
Ria Formosa nature reserve is the favourite day trip for Faro residents. The guided tours around the reserve will show you many birds and animals that you would never otherwise see. The huge lagoon has five barrier islands and two peninsulas to separate it from the ocean. One island - Ilha Deserta - is famous for its white beach, many miles long. To get to it you need a boat, so the public ferry runs daily between Ilha Deserta (often called Ilha Barretta by locals) and Porta Nova Pier in Faro.
If you are lucky, you will see some Portuguese Water Dogs. This breed has become popular since President Obama received one as a gift and now you can often see breeders exercising their dogs on the beaches around Faro, as the dogs like to swim far out to sea.
Tips for student life in Faro
Early morning is the time to visit the Mercado Municipal, the indoor produce market on Largo Dr Francisco Sa Carneiro, which opens daily at 7am and is the place that the Faroese buy their olives, local sausages and pasteis (custard filled pastries). Then move on to the Arco de Vila - the 18th century arch topped with stork nests, which is on the site of the medieval castle gate. This is the entrance to the old town, leading to Largo da Sé, a cobbled square lined by elegant buildings. The most notable of these are the Bishop’s Palace and Faro Cathedral. The Largo is good place to try a galão - breakfast coffee made with a quarter coffee and three quarters hot milk.
People in Faro are very friendly and will love to help you practise your Portuguese. While this is wonderful for your language skills, you’ll need to allow extra time for all your shopping trips, as you will be offered vocabulary lessons by shopkeepers who want you to learn the names of everything they sell!