Departure from the Faro. It is the capital of the Algarve since 1756; we will discover the Manuel Bivar Gardens are a beautiful reception area for visitors, where everything overlooks the marina, the Ria Formosa and the sea.
The Arco da Vila gives us access to the old town, known as "vila adentro" (into the town). Here you will find the 11th century Arab Gateway, the oldest horseshoe arch in the country, which was the gate through the walls for those arriving by sea. From here, a tangle of streets begins that are well worth meandering through to explore their nooks and crannies. Many archaeological finds that testify to the city's history are to be found in the Municipal Museum at the 16th century Convent of Nossa Senhora da Assunção.
In Largo da Sé, dominated by the buildings of the Bishops’ Palace, we will exteriorly visit the Cathedral, erected in 1251 after the Christian reconquest on the site formerly occupied by the mosque. Inside is one of the most remarkable collections from the 17th and 18th centuries in the Algarve, a period that is also well represented in the Church of São Francisco with its beautiful gilt carvings and tiles. Nearby lie the two watchtowers that protected the Arco do Repouso, so named because, according to the story, it was here that King Afonso III rested during the conquest of Faro.
On the way to Almancil, we are going to visit the village of São Lourenço. The São Lourenço Church dates back to 1730 and its walls are decorated with the characteristic blue tiles which tell the story of its patron saint. There is also a good collection of 17th and 18th century statues in the church and the sacristy also houses a fine chest with carved decoration. The Centro Cultural of São Lourenço is also worth visiting. This center has been established for many years and is host to regular art exhibitions and music events.
We will stop at local Portuguese restaurant for lunch to enjoy fantastic local kitchen and taste Aquardente de Medronho.
Straight after lunch we will visit a beautiful village Alte with brightly adorned white washed houses where two are never alike. Up the hill we will descover two natural fountains featured in a park and recreation area. The old ceramic chimneys and carved wooden doors are particularly attractive. The area around the church is a delightful snapshot of the real Algarve. Main church - Built in the 13th century by the wife of the second lord of Alte to give thanks for his safe return from the eighth crusade to the Holy Land, the church has been modified on a number of occasions since, above all in the 16th and 18th centuries. The main chapel has a Manueline triumphal arch that is partially hidden by wooden mouldings. The vaulted ceiling is painted with decorated keystones. The walls and vaults are decorated with 18th century tiles. The chapel of São Sebastião (St. Sebastian) contains some notable polychrome tiles made in Seville which date from the end of the 16th century. The carved vestibules in the chapels of Nossa Senhora do Rosdrio (Our Lady of the Rosary) and São Francisco (St. Francis) are good examples of 18th century art; the latter is also decorated with the coat of arms of the Counts of Alte.
On the way to visit ruined castle, erected by the Moors. Then, stop at Loule, craft center and horticulture.
Return transfer back to your hotel.