Ria Formosa
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Our most recommended Ria Formosa Rentals

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 important sea entrances of the Ria Formosa. The next stop is Farol Island. Here, you can enjoy a walk around the streets of this small but friendly community. When passing by the lighthouse, go on until the very end to admire an extensive beach of fine white sand washed by calm warm waters. Leave the Farol Island and make your second stop at Deserta Island. This island is also known as Barreta Island. Here lies the most southern point of Portugal - the Santa Maria Cape. In this second stop you can choose to explore the fauna and flora of the island by an easy walk or simply enjoy the sunshine and bathe in the clear waters of the beach.

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From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

2. 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.

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Ria Formosa: Sunset Boat Trip

3. Ria Formosa: Sunset Boat Trip

Come and relax in the Ria Formosa lagoon on a boat trip at the best time of day: sunset. Soak up the stunning natural surrounds aboard a solar powered boat as you cruise through this beautiful natural park. Sit back and relax as you depart from the Faro Marina on board an eco-friendly boat. The solar powered boat is beautifully quiet, and this trip includes a variety of views. Your experienced skipper will guide you through the lagoon, its beautiful channels and marshlands, and approach numerous species of birds that inhabit this protected area without any disturbance.  This small group trip is limited to 10 people, offering an intimate experience and a wonderfully relaxing end to the day watching the sun go down over the lagoon. Soak up the stunning natural surroundings and the beautiful views over the Faro’s Old Town as you experience a beautiful sunset and cruise back to the Marina of Faro.

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Olhão: Ria Formosa Boat Cruise

4. 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.

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Faro: Eco-Friendly Ria Formosa Bird Watching in Solar Boat

5. Faro: Eco-Friendly Ria Formosa Bird Watching in Solar Boat

Ria Formosa is a place of extreme nature, with an environment that is always different at every hour of the day. This is due largely to the fact that the sea level rises and falls about 3 meters every 6 hours. Whilst there, you will discover a complete self-regenerating ecosystem, which allows a part of the local population to develop fishing and shellfish production. This provides all of the ingredients for the varied diets of the migratory birds that continue returning to this area year after year. You may be able to watch the hunting of predatory birds, and will also be able to enter into a maze of canals where the only thing that you will hear is the sound of the birds calling and their interactions with one another. At the conclusion of your tour, you will return by boat to your tour's point of origin.

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

6. 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.

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From Faro: Ria Formosa Lagoon Boat Tour

7. From Faro: Ria Formosa Lagoon Boat Tour

You set sail on a pontoon boat, and the marina of Faro fades behind you. On this tour you'll feel like a native of the Algarve as we explore the lagoon and numerous birds and wildlife who live in this protected landscape. You will sail through marshes and channels, and enjoy a nice boat trip with beautiful views of the walls of the Old Town of Faro. For anyone passing by Faro without much time to explore, this is the perfect way to get an overview of this fascinating city. The Ria Formosa is one of Portugal's Seven Natural Wonders, and you'll soon discover why! Come out and spend a beautiful time on the water.

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Algarve: Ria Formosa Eco-Friendly Solar Boat Trip from Faro

8. Algarve: Ria Formosa Eco-Friendly Solar Boat Trip from Faro

Commence your journey through the Ria Formosa by departing from the wharf in Faro. With an experienced skipper, you will be guided through this protected area of the Algarve in one of the most relaxing and eco friendly methods available.  During your 45 minute adventure through the Ria Formosa you will have the opportunity to visit the protected marshlands of the Algarve with a perfect viewpoint for spotting some of the native wildlife and birdlife that exist in the area.

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From Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

9. 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.

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From Olhão: Ria Formosa & Culatra Island Half-Day Cruise

10. From Olhão: Ria Formosa & Culatra Island Half-Day Cruise

Depart from the port in Olhão and sail through the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Learn about the history and rich biodiversity of the region from the captain as you sail through its natural waterways. Spot local fauna and flora with the binoculars provided. Visit the barrier island of Culatra located in Ria Formosa, which is home to about 750 inhabitants. Take 45 minutes to wander around the streets of the village and learn about its traditions and customs. Sample delicious local cuisine in one of the cafés or restaurants, your captain will be happy to recommend the best spots. After exploring the village, continue to one a desert beach in the Algarve region on the island. Enjoy some time swimming and taking photos in a tranquil location before returning to Olhão.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Ria Formosa

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What people are saying about Ria Formosa

We had an excellent trip. The solar boat was fantastic, because it's so quiet we were able to get close to birds that would otherwise be disturbed and because of being relatively low down it was very good for taking pictures of the birds. We were even able to get relatively close to a feeding Osprey which was an absolute highlight for us. The guide was very knowledgeable and easily spotted birds we would have missed. Overall the trip was really relaxing and enjoyable. Can only recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see a bit more of the Ria Formosa and the wildlife within it. 5 out of 5 stars!

The tour was was well run and Guilherme a knowledgeable captain and guide. Good observance of Covid measures. The weather was not great but the direction of travel was adjusted slightly to minimise choppy seas. There was ample time to spend on each island and observe the differences. An excellent opportunity to compare how the island beaches compared to those of the mainland.

What an amazing initiative and tour guide. Unlike all of the other touristy activities, really caring about the habitat they help you explore. 10 out of 10.

It was an unforgettable day with a very careful and experienced skipper :-). I would do the tour again at any time and can only recommend it to everyone.

Wonderful, very warm welcome and a top captain thank you to you and the whole team