Ria Formosa
Nature & Adventure

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Our most recommended Ria Formosa Nature & Adventure

  • Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

    1. Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

    When you’re in Portugal make sure to experience this exciting catamaran boat to Deserta and Farol islands that will take you through the spectacular nature of the Ria Formosa. Come see why this region was elected one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. Depart from the Marina of Faro sailing slowly through the channels of the Ria Formosa to fully enjoy the beautiful landscape. Along the tour you will see birds like the Grey Heron, the White Stork and many other birds that use this area as a feeding habitat. As you approach the islands and beaches you see the lighthouse of Culatra Island where you make our first stop. Looking around, one can observe the hard work of the people in the oyster and clam farms. A closer look towards the coastline and you will notice the market of the city of Olhão - an important fishing town. And off toward the ocean you can glimpse one of the most importan...

    This trip was the highlight of our holiday. Lovely and comfortable luxurious boat. Informative guide on the way to the islands. One hour stop at the lighthouse and a half hour stop of Deserta Island. Both stops were breathtakingly beautiful…you’d think you were in the Caribbean. Will definitely visit again. Easy to book and staff were most helpful. I wish I had booked a longer tour and it was out of this world.excellent value for money.

  • From Faro: 4 Islands, 4 Stops in Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

    2. From Faro: 4 Islands, 4 Stops in Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

    Enjoy a tour on a comfortable Catamaran, taking in the fauna and flora of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa. Cross the channels of the park and stop for 45 minutes at Deserta Island, where you will the opportunity to take a swim. Then, proceed to Farol Island where you will have another 45 minutes to discover its lighthouse and take photos. Sail to Hangares and see the culture of oysters and the military reserve. Lastly, arrive at Culatra Island where you will have 1.5 hours of free time to explore the traditional fishing village. You will also have the option to have lunch in a typical restaurant on Breech Island where the main course varies between fresh fish or seafood.

    The tour was perfect and we had a lovely time. The guide knew what he was talking about and was keen to share his knowledge. We had some free time in each island which was perfect to relax and take a dip if you wanted to!

  • From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

    3. From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

    Sail to the beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park by catamaran, with regular departures scheduled from Faro. The journey follows the Ria Formosa channels, and includes stops at the magical islands of Farol and Deserta. Don't forget your swimsuits and towels - there will be plenty of breaks for swimming! The guide on board will provide information in Portuguese, English, French and Spanish. The modern catamaran has a capacity of up to 11 passengers and provides a pleasant and comfortable way of exploring the islands. The day is divided into 2 tours. The first tour will take place in the morning and last for approximately 3.5 hours, and the second tour will take place in the afternoon and last for approximately 3 hours. There will be a break after the first tour for lunch at Farol Island. Lunch is not included in the cost of the activity.

    Had an amazing time both on and off the boat - the guide definitely knew what he was doing, and we saw some beautiful scenery and wildlife on our way to the islands of the Ria Formosa. He hopped fluidly between English, German and French descriptions of animals for the guests on the boat which made everyone feel welcome. The islands themselves were amazing and the only thing I'd change was wanting to spend more time there! I would recommend this trip to anyone and it was one of the highlights of our stay in Portugal!

  • From Olhão: Ria Formosa Full-Day 3-Island Tour

    4. From Olhão: Ria Formosa Full-Day 3-Island Tour

    Explore the islands of Ria Formosa in Olhão and Faro for an unforgettable and rich experience. Start in Culatra, an island located in the Natural Park of Ria Formosa with about 750 inhabitants, most of them fishermen. Learn about the local history and visit all the small streets and typical houses of the region. Discover the lighthouse and continue to the most peaceful beach in the Algarve on Culatra, which separates the dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean and the light blue of the Ria Formosa. Dive, swim, relax and enjoy the sun. Don’t stress about bringing anything for your beach relaxation, as everything you could need will be provided.

    This trip is worth of money with spectacular view, communicative and insightful tour guide.

  • Olhão: 4-Hour Ria Formosa Islands Tour

    5. Olhão: 4-Hour Ria Formosa Islands Tour

    Navigate the waterways between the barrier islands of Ria Formosa off the coast of Olhão and discover a paradise of nature. Enjoy great views of the Farol Bar and Santa Maria Lighthouse on Farol Island. Stop for lunch in the fishing village of Culatra, home to about 1,000 residents with shops, a school, church, medical office, and even its own football pitch. Savor the local fresh fish at a typical restaurant or go for a nice picnic on the beach. Continue to Armona Bay and island, where you will stop for another 30 minutes to appreciate the nature. Return to Olhão, passing close to several tuna factories and the fishing harbor. See a larger area of Ria Formosa than most other tours, and benefit from the expert knowledge of your skipper to learn about the flora and fauna.

    Great way to explore a bit of the islands and to know some facts and history of Olhão.

  • Faro: Hop On Hop Off City Tour by Tourist Train

    6. Faro: Hop On Hop Off City Tour by Tourist Train

    Relax and enjoy a Faro tour on a special tourist train. During this tour, you will visit beautiful and important monuments of the city, including Old City, the Jardim Manuel Bivar, Igreja da Misericórdia, Sé de Faro, Teatro Lethes, Igreja do Carmo, Igreja São Pedro, Zona Comercial da Baixa de Faro, pass by the lagoon Ria Formosa and the new town. Via a multilingual audio system, learn curious facts and secrets as you pass by each location. Your ticket is valid for a full day, so you can stop at any of our stops, explore the surroundings and hop back in to the next stop. The stops are: Praça D. Francisco Gomes (where our tour starts), Jardim da Alameda, Ermida de Santo António, Mercado da Cidade e Igreja do Carmo.

  • From Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

    7. From Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

    After boarding your boat, head out into the sheltered waters of Ria Formosa. Your first stop will be at on Praia Deserta at one of the most pristine beaches in the Algarve. From the beach, head to the village of Ilha da Armona and enjoy a refreshing drink while you contemplate the amazing views. The final stop on your tour is at a deserted beach where you can relax and, in summer, enjoy some swimming or snorkelling. From the beach, you can also enjoy beautiful views of the sunset over the ocean at the end of the day when your group will almost certainly have the beach to yourselves. After about 30 minutes to enjoy the beach and the sunset, you'll board your boat for the return trip Olhão.

    Great day out and lovely experience. Capitán Luís was a fantastic guide and even encouraged/helped us to clean up some ocean trash.

  • Ria Formosa Natural Park Kayak Hire from Faro

    8. Ria Formosa Natural Park Kayak Hire from Faro

    Paddle through the Algarve's famed blue waters in a kayak. The Rotomod sit-on-top kayaks are stable, safe, comfortable, and easy to use, making them the perfect way for you to explore the waters of the Algarve. You don’t need any experience to get the most out of your very own kayaking adventure. Various types of kayaks are available for rent. The first is the Rotomod Ocean Duo, a comfortable double kayak that can seat up to 2 adults and 1 child, making it ideal for both families and solo travelers. There is also the Rotomod Ocean Quattro, perfect for families. This kayak can seat up to 2 adults and 2 children, although it works best with 2 adults and 1 child. The Rotomod Tango is a heavy duty solo kayak, ideal for bigger paddlers or people travelling with a lot of heavy gear. If you don’t have that much gear, then the Toromod Mambo might be for you, with excellent maneuverability from...

  • Olhão: Ria Formosa Boat Cruise

    9. Olhão: Ria Formosa Boat Cruise

    Set sail from the port of Olhão and travel through the Ria Formosa National Park. Discover beautiful scenery and rich biodiversity with your expert crew. Learn more about the national park and local culture with your expert captain. Cruise by marshes, barrier-islands, islets, dunes, sand bars, and saltpans which are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Spot local birds, marine life, and beds of clams and oysters. Make a short stop at Praia Deserta and enjoy the serenity of a tranquil location accessible only by boat. While there, enjoy some time for a swim and to take photos, before returning to Olhão.

    Great experience, the whole day was pure magic, the guide (Louis) in particular was great and gave us even more time than we paid for.

  • Boat trip from Faro to Ilha Deserta by Ferry

    10. Boat trip from Faro to Ilha Deserta by Ferry

    Discover a hidden paradise of the Algarve on a catamaran cruise from Faro. Climb aboard to journey through the channels of the Ria Formosa Natural Park on a 45-minute trip to see seabirds and native plants. Then, dock at Ilha Deserta (also known as Barreta Island and Santa Maria Cape Island). Only accessible by boat, the island remains unspoiled and it’s hard to believe such a natural jewel still exists in Europe. Go to a unique beach at the southernmost point of Portugal and sample the traditional flavors of the Algarve at the environmentally-friendly Estaminé Restaurant. Opt to stay on the island for a few hours or the entire day, and return to Faro whenever you want. Avail of a number of return crossings for your convenience.

    Brilliant day out. The island is beautiful. Food and drink or reasonably priced. Staff on the boat were incredibly helpful and friendly.

Other Sightseeing Options in Ria Formosa

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What people are saying about Ria Formosa

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,193 reviews

Really great experience - Sandra and Ricardo were very communicative before the trip about the meeting point. Ricardo was friendly and knowledgable - he managed to spot lots of different birds in the wetlands, including the flamingos! The islands were beautiful too. Thanks so much for the lovely day trip!

It was very easy to book this nice tour. My girlfriend and I really enjoyed the trip. Our guide explained and showed us many things. We also had some time to explore the two islands next to Faro by our own. Thanks for the tour!

Great way to discover Ria Formosa and some of its islands. We spent a great afternoon with Nico who was very knowledgeable, funny and made sure we had a great time.

Great day out and lovely experience. Capitán Luís was a fantastic guide and even encouraged/helped us to clean up some ocean trash.

Very kind people, me and my friends enjoyed the trip !