The Bone Chapel
If you’re in the Algarve region of Portugal and you’ve had enough of relaxing on the beach, then Faro has an unusual place for you to visit.
It’s a short walk from the train station to the Igreja do Carmen Church, a beautiful baroque building, which is worth a look round in its own right.
Walk through the church, and you find yourself in a small garden, which catches the sun beautifully.
It does have an unusual feature, though, an archway and altar made using human bones which have weathered over time.
To the side of this, in a small extension to the church, is the Capela dos Ossos – the Bone Chapel.
As a reminder of our mortality, above the entrance is a saying which translates as ‘Stop here and consider, that you will reach this state too’.
This small chapel holds the bones of more than 1000 Carmelite friars, which cover every surface apart from the floor.
Surprisingly, while this is a thought-provoking place, it isn’t morbid; the sunshine pours in through the door and as the church is close to a school I could hear the sound of children playing outside.
Brave Traveller tips
There is a small charge for entry – 2 Euros – and on the day I visited the ladies who were taking the payments did not speak any English.
As access is through the Church, times are limited by services and mass times, and the Chapel is closed on Sundays. Opening times on weekdays are 10:00 – 13:00 and 15:00 – 17:30, on Saturdays 10:00 – 13:00