Culatra Island
National Parks

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Our most recommended Culatra Island National Parks

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.

Olhão: 4-Hour Ria Formosa Islands Tour

2. 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.

From Olhão: Ria Formosa 3-Island Day Tour

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

Begin your island-hopping trip with your captain who will act as your tour guide. First, stop at Lighthouse Island, where you can visit its village, get a drink, go to the beach, and explore the neighborhoods of beautiful houses. Continue on to Culatra Island for a few hours to take in a picnic lunch, or you can visit one of the local restaurants to dine at. Culatra Island has beautiful swimming areas too if you prefer to play in the water instead of eating here.  Next, you’ll arrive at either Armona Island or Deserta Island, depending on the season. In the summertime, Deserta Island hosts a beautiful beach, wild with no buildings. Explore either the Ria Formosa for a swim, or take in the Atlantic Ocean side of the island.

From Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

4. From Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

After boarding your boat, head out into the sheltered waters of Ria Formosa. Depending on the season you will get to discover one of two islands. In May, stop on Armona Island and drink a coffee on the beach or take a swim and explore the island. From May to September your first stop will be at Praia Deserta, 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 on Culatra Island, a small community of 1000 people that is to be a sustainability project by 2030. Here you can relax and, in summer, enjoy some swimming. After about 40 minutes to enjoy the beach and the sunset, you'll board your boat for the return trip to Olhão.

Olhão: 3-Hour Ria Formosa Boat Tour

5. Olhão: 3-Hour Ria Formosa Boat Tour

Observe the nature reserve of the Ria Formosa while being navigated through its channels.  Stop on a desert island where you can swim, relax, and walk on its white sandy beach. You can also stop at one of the island communities Ilha do Farol or Ilha da Culatra. Explore the Ria Formosa area and listen to the detailed explanations that your skipper has to share throughout the tour. Learn about the fauna, flora, and fishing activities.  Discover this unique coastal lagoon that is constantly changing due to the continuous movement of winds, currents, and tides. It is also one of the most important areas for ornithology in Portugal, hosting more than 20,000 birds during the winter season.

Olhão: Private Boat Tour to Ria Formosa

6. Olhão: Private Boat Tour to Ria Formosa

Discover some of the most beautiful places at the Natural Park of Ria Formosa on this private tour with your family or friends. Embark on a private tour together with an experienced skipper that will take you to the best places of this beautiful area which is considered one of the 7 natural wonders of Portugal. Go for a swim in crystal clear waters, explore the island´s picturesque villages, or take a stroll on one of the many beautiful sandy beaches. Listen to the information your skipper can share in Portuguese, English, Spanish, and French. Benefit from a pleasant and comfortable way to explore this little paradise while enjoying cold drinks on board. The boat has capacity for 12 passengers.

Frequently asked questions about Culatra Island National Parks

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Other Sightseeing Options in Culatra Island

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What people are saying about Culatra Island

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 649 reviews

AWESOME ! Carlos was very welcoming. As we were leaving during the day he changed the parking meter of the car in our absence so that we did not have a fine! We were 6 customers on the boat, we had José as captain. He guided us in English and French, he speaks both languages very well. It was really rewarding! We learned a lot about the fine and the flora and were able to enjoy each island. What can I say… The landscapes are magnificent! If I can advise you not to go to the restaurants, hang your picnic and walk to the beaches, believe me it's worth it. Foot in the sand to admire the beauty of nature! We are really happy that everything has been perfect (apart from the wind, perhaps, but nothing surprising in March. Thank you again!

One of my favourite trips during our stay in the Algarve - not only did we get to discover three islands (and I could happily have spent all day on Farol alone), we learned more about the area's nature, spotted a sea eagle and saw a quieter corner most tourists don't visit. Our guide Jose switched seamlessly between Spain, French and English as he piloted us around the lagoon and islands, and was great with my daughter too. Highly recommend.

Very interesting and enjoyable trip, with a magnificent guide/driver of the boat.

good trip There is much to see. Both islands are great. Great Guide!

Joãn very good and informative. Jolly man. Had a super day out.