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Musea, places of interest and history of the East Algarve

Below is a small selection of the museums in our area, and a brief overview of the history of this part of Portugal. Feel free to report additions!

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Municipal Museum Faro

In the Museo Municipal in Faro (located in a 16th century monastery) you will find a large collection of archaeological finds from the Middle Ages, Roman times and pre-history.  

Opening hours:
October- May:
Tuesday-Friday 10:00 – 18:00
Saturday-Sunday 10:30 – 17:00
Tuesday-Friday 10:00 – 19:00 Saturday-Sunday 11:30 – 18:00

Largo D. Afonso III, 14, 8000-167 Faro


Museum Municipal Tavira

City museum with exhibitions on the architecture of Tavira, there are regular exhibitions of fine art, painting and heritage. The aim of the museum is to safeguard, exhibit and promote the rich heritage of Tavira

Calcada da Galeria, Tavira

Opening hours:

Tuesday-Saturday from 9:15 AM to 4:30 PM. (closed from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm)

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Centro Interpretativo do Arco do Villa

The arch Arco da Vila rests on one of the medieval gates of the city and was built in the 19th century by Bishop D. Francisco Gomes de Avelar. The Arco da Vila was officially inaugurated in 1812.

The arch is decorated on the outside with a niche with the statue of São Tomás de Aquino, which is of Italian origin. It is a good example of Italian neoclassicism in the Algarve heritage.

Inside we can still see the Arab gate. This was part of the former Islamic walls and was the entrance to the city for everyone who came from the sea. It is considered a unique example of Arabic architecture in Portugal. 


Museum Municipal Olhao

Museums da Cidade de Olhao, Municipal Museum Olhao

This museum is located in the Maritime Palace, an important architectural monument from the 18th century built to support the men at sea.

It proposes, among other things, maritime heritage, argeology, architecture, fish preserves, decorative arts, and   photography exhibit.

Praca da Restauracao, Edificio do Compromisso Maritimo de Olhao  

Opening hours:

Tuesday to Saturday from 9:15 AM to 4:30 PM. (closed from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm)



Museu Regional do  Algarve

In the Museu Regional do Algarve you can see typical items from the region. Traditional rooms have been recreated from the houses and inns of the past. Most of the museum's collection comes from the painter Carlos Filipe Porfirio. Over the years, he has collected all these items and later donated them to the museum.


The collection of work equipment consists of items from fishing, agriculture, craft work and domestic industry. But he also collected furniture, household objects, clothing from the region, basketry items, various photographs and paintings. All these items come from the first half of the 20th century.  


Rua do Pe da Cruz, n.º 4
8000-404 Faro

opening hours:
Tuesday Friday  from 10am to 6pm
Saturday from 10:00 to 16:30

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Museum Paroquial Moncarapacho

This museum exhibits objects used by the ancient occupiers: Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. It also houses special religious statues and, for example, an 18th-century Neapolitan nativity scene

Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Museum Paroquial de Moncarapacho, 

Rua de Santo Cristo

Moncarapacho 8700-095.


History  of the (eastern) Algarve

Before the Algarve was the Algarve as we know it, a few things happened…

The Phoenicians (originally from the area that is now Lebanon) arrived in the Algarve about 3000 years ago and established trading posts there, then following the Cathars, they called themselves pure Christians  (300 BC) they then became  chased away by the Romans and  formed 27 BC. Hispania Luisitana, a Roman, Imperial Province. Named after the main tribe: the Lusitani.













Roman Lusitania included Portugal south of the Douro, as well as Spanish Extremadura and parts of Castile. It was initially ruled from Felicitas Lulia  Olisippo (Lisbon), several towns and settlements were founded, including:  Beasuris Esuri (Castro Marim) located on the river  Anas Flumen (Rio Guadiana)  Ossonoba (Faro) Balsa (Luz de Tavira). This province remained part of the Roman Empire for about 500 years.     


After that the Visigoths ruled; around 700 AD. This empire was at its largest and eventually the Byzantines (the Moors), with its capital Constantinople) took over the province of Spania.


During this time many place names arose with the syllable “AL” such as Albufeira, Aljezur eb Alcoutim. The Moors called this region Al-Garb Al-Andalus (western Muslim Iberia,   Andalusia) which was later renamed Algarve.

Faro was immediately granted city rights and in the 15th century it developed rapidly. Unfortunately, during the Spanish rule, Faro was looted and burned in 1596, after the reconstruction 2 earthquakes completely destroyed Faro again (1722 and 1755) but thanks to Bishop Fransisco Gomez the reconstruction started again and in 1756 Faro became the capital of the Algarve.


In the north Algarve is bordered by the province  Alentejo , on the east side by the Rio  Guadiana , a border river with  Spain  and on the south and west sides by the  Atlantic Ocean , the Algarve comes under the district of Faro

Traditionally, Faro lived from salt production, fishing (sardines and tuna) and cork and marble processing. Now tourism is the main activity.


Almond trees of the Algarve

According to a legend, a Moorish emir was married to a Scandinavian princess, but she got homesick for the snow from the far north. To make his wife smile again, the emir had a huge orchard of almond trees planted on his domain. One January morning, the princess was surprised and delighted to see the landscape snowed under with thousands of radiant white almond blossoms.


Best Preserved Archaeological Site (Faro – Estoi) 4th Century

Here you can see, among other things, a country house (villa rustica), built in the 2nd century AD  by a wealthy Roman, a large comfortable house with lots of marble, gilded mosaics and a skilful water supply system. Two mausoleums and several busts of the Roman royal family have since been excavated. There is still plenty to be discovered, but the now uncovered temple, the living quarters, farm with wine press and wine cellar are beautiful.   and the baths. The storage areas are large and the agricultural goods were transported via Ossonaba (Faro)  transported to the Roman Empire.

Gardens of Palacio de  Estoi 16th century

1 km from Milreu, the romantic appearance of this complex is reminiscent of an Italian palazzo. A palm-lined avenue leads to citrus-lined gardens that terrace up to the Baroque facade of a small 18th-century palace. The terraces are decorated with water features, statues and vases of marble and terra cotta, and tile tableau with mythological themes or fables and fragments of Roman mosaics from Milreu.

old map
kingdom of the visigoten
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