Forgotten beauties of Faro

Faro is the capital of Algarve, Portugal's most southern region, located not far from Spanish border. Its old town center is a splendid tourist spot with waterfront, parks, small streets, and leisure venues. I was impressed by the beautiful architecture of Mediterranean feel, decorated and enriched with traditional tiles, both on facades of houses as well as covering the floors of main pedestrian areas, creating beautiful patterns and pictures.

beautiful Palacete Belmarço with tiled square in front of main entrance

There were many incredible buildings, old and also some modern new ones, business and residential, cathedrals and industrial complexes. But what truly caught my attention was how many beautiful sights throughout the whole city center are actually abandoned or rapidly decaying.

Greeted by the ruins

The first of a kind you'll meet as soon as you reach the seafront of the old town. Once leaving from the bus or train station you'll get to the small boats marina, wonderful wide square and garden of Manuel Bivar, where streets first turn towards the hinterland. There stands once beautiful but now sadly decaying building hiding behind the grand commercial board of Faro citizens.

ruins and citizens greeting you in the city

At the beginning of Manuel Bivar's garden also stands a beautiful two story gazebo. Still equipped with lights it's awaiting better days. But on the happier note, we can find a small Space invader mosaic located on right side above the doors.

decaying gazebo with mosaic of Space invader

City oases

Strolling east towards the town's famous cathedral of Santa Maria, from the tower of which one can enjoy spectacular view over the city or towards the sea and the islands, you'll find another grand abandoned side. Located right behind cathedral's premises, by the square of  King Afonso III,  is a decaying pale red building that seems to be awaiting renovation.

decaying beauty sheltered by construction roof

It's surrounded by a big garden where you can find remains of several other structures. The site is closed with solid high fence, while the building had assisted roof placed over it to protect what's left.

ruins in the empty backyard

On the other side of the garden, in a small street of Rua Rasquinho lies another abandoned villa, this one covered in tiles from bottom to the top. The yard behind it is now extensively overgrown, and both places look like two city oases from the sky view.

abandoned tiled building

Crossing over the city in satellite mode of Google maps will help you find even more such places, where unexpected greenery among the buildings turns out to be hiding even more ruins.

Layered through centuries

Crossing the square of  King Afonso III and continuing by the street leading south you'll reach the vast yellow complex of former beer factory, part of which is actually built on remains of old city walls. The repurposed industrial building served as brewery until the 90s. Despite visually decaying, parts of it are now used as an alternative art center where different exhibitions and events are taking place.

city view towards the former brewery complex

Sleeping beauty

The more odd discovery was building standing opposite of the Parish council just a stone throw from the main road leading east.

the abandoned long building

The stunning long architectural piece covered in warm brown tiles with ornaments and decorations towards the roof and window seals is hiding a rather peculiar scene.

life continues within the ruins

Picking inside you can soon notice a missing roof that looks like it fell down during the fire. But what is truly strange is that the interior of beautiful yellow walls covered with colorful tiles in the bottom looks pretty much intact.
look through the main entrance

There are loads of pieces lying on the floor, but the walls are remarkably spottles, not just with no marks of fire but also no traces of water, either from extinguishing or rain. They're probably worse on the outside where the beautiful top of the building is visually decaying.

one of the rooms in the front

Even the curtains on windows haven't faded away yet. This made me assume that unfortunate event of losing the roof must have happened recently while the building has been abandoned for a longer time.

still hanging curtains look completely intact

This can be confirmed by the look at an overgrown garden, where trees are covered in wrappers.

look to the building from garden fence

But yet again you'd be surprised upon discovery of the flock of well groomed chicken strolling around paths and what once probably used to be a fountain.

chickens in the overgrown garden

The whole place seems like its caught in two different times. Climbing to the garden to discover more of this mystery shouldn't be too hard, the only problem is its location as (at least in the time of my sniffing around) there were several police cars parked in front. Therefore I had to satisfy with only the frontal look.

front with ornamented top

West side with staircase leading to terrace or backyard

Right beside the garden's end I was able to find this gated staircase leading to another mystery. Judging by the big mirror and still hanging christmas decoration I could assume it's an entrance into former underground club or venue.

entrance to the abandoned venue

Pretty in pink

On the last crossroad before the top of the main avenue of 5th October leading east, you'll find a rather unique architecture decorated in pastel colors.

the beautiful dollhouse

The building prolonging down the Rua Ataide de Oliveira is in a rather good state and wouldn't seem to be abandoned at all, if it wouldn't be for the grand flower bushes taking over the front yard.

look through the  gates

Furthermore you can spot some graffiti, but instead of classical vandalism somebody decided to decorate the arcade in front of the main entrance in a rather tasteful way.

art over the entrance

Faro's garden

South of Avenida 5 de Outubro, towards the city's end, you can find Faro's largest public garden, Alameda. This wonderful place of socializing and relaxation contains some interesting features like exercising equipment and sport grounds, cafes, forest with various flora, bird cages and freely walking peacocks, fountains and beautiful municipal library built in neo-Arabic style.

Faro's municipal library

Beside it there are few other structures located on park's grounds, among them also colorful house that is home of Faro's Piece and art society, but its exterior has certainly seen better days.

frontal look to the PAS building

decaying facade in the back

The tower

Once marking entrance to the city, Torre da Horta dos Cães was inspired by Tower of the winds from Athens. Therefore it features several mythological depictions such as Titans and Hercules. 10 meters tall two-floored octagonal structure was built in the 8th century and is oriented with its edges towards the cardinal points. Despite being classified as a national monument, it stayed in private possession and decayed to pretty bad and hazardous state.


Beside these recognizable spots you'll find numerous other decaying buildings around the town. But it's not just Faro in this state. I've seen similar situation upon my visit to Tavira, where one of their main squares is circled also by a vast decaying building. Or to be precise, what I found during my quick research, cases like these are common all over Portugal.

Some blame it on their complex inheritance laws when the heirs can't agree on their destiny; and also continuous high emigration after which new owners are hard to track. If interested, you can read more about it trough this Reddit discussion.

decaying interior of a former restaurant

And for your own urbex experience I'd encourage you to look around the city in satellite mode of Google maps, where you'll be able to discover that a lot of spots that might at first glance look like backyard gardens are actually overgrown ruins, even by the main streets of city center.



  1. So beautiful. Looks like such a charming place to visit! :]

    // all the best,

  2. So much colour, culture and history! Such an interesting post xx

  3. Such vibrant and beautiful post! Thanks for sharing it xx


  4. You found all the beautiful spots in Faro!

    x Merel

  5. They look like such beautiful buildings even after being abandoned, how sad to have so many abandoned and derelict buildings around!

    Hope that you are having a great weekend! We went for our annual family Christmas photo with Santa yesterday, with two kids and a dog it didn't quite go as planned, ha!

    Away From Blue

  6. Definitely so much history and so many ruins to look at.
    Beautiful photos!

  7. Great post. Thank you for sharing! :)
    New post  -  

  8. Such a beautiful city. I like your photos. Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous city.

    New Post -

  9. A great share. Thank you

  10. beautiful ruins, Faro looks like an amazing place to visit.


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