Ria Formosa
Birdwatching

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Our most recommended Ria Formosa Birdwatching

Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

1. 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. See the imposing Santa Maria Lighthouse in Farol and enjoy time to explore and try island cuisine. In Deserta, admire the rolling dunes and unique landscapes. Look out for unique flora and fauna, including the chameleon. Enjoy plenty of swimming opportunities on both islands, with secluded beaches and pristine shores. On board, learn about the islands and the park with insightful commentary from your guide in various languages.

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

2. 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.

Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

3. 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.

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

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

Olhão: Ria Formosa Boat Cruise

5. 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, and sand bars which are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Spot local birds, marine life, and beds of clams and oysters. Stop at Culatra Island where 1000 people live and no cars are allowed; experience this European sustainability project that will be completed by 2030. Then make a short visit to Praia Deserta and enjoy the serenity of a tranquil location accessible only by boat. While there, enjoy some time for a swim and take photos before returning to Olhão.

From Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

6. 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

7. 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.

Faro Bike Tour through the Beautiful Ria Formosa

8. Faro Bike Tour through the Beautiful Ria Formosa

The biodiversity of the Ria Formosa is truly marvelous. Noted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal, you will discover this rich landscape by bike! Under the watchful eye of your expert guide, we will explore the surroundings from saltpans to beaches on a fun and comfortable ride! As we set off, you will be treated to sights of birdlife and the incredible range of wildlife these protected lands have to offer. Your guide will help explain this unique environment as you visit the Saltpans -- a truly marvelous place to stop and enjoy some birdwatching. With binoculars in hand, you'll be invited into a world of Flamingos. Next up, we'll pedal our way to the marshlands of the Ria Formosa, where you will get a great sense of how these channels and small islets make up this rich landscape. After continuing along, you will arrive at the Praia de Faro (Faro Beach). All of your efforts pay off here as we have some of time to relax on the beach and enjoy a refreshing drink. The azure blue waters invite you to take a swim before continuing your journey back to Faro.

From Faro: 2-Island, 2-Stop Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

9. From Faro: 2-Island, 2-Stop Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

On this 3-hour tour in a comfortable catamaran through the most beautiful waters of the Algarve, always with professional guide telling you about the fauna and flora of Ria Formosa Natural Park.  Discover the two main islands of Deserta Island, 11 kilometers of beach at the southern most point of Portugal and Farol Island, a holiday island with a lighthouse. Cross the channels of Ria Formosa Natural Park until Deserta Island, where you will make a 45 minute stop, then travel to Farol Island with another 45 minute stop to see the lighthouse and its community. During the tour, observe the resident birds and when the tide lowers, the shellfish.

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

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

Explore the Ria Formosa in the Algarve with an experienced guide. Respect your natural surroundings as you glide along on an eco-friendly boat, powered by solar energy. Commence your journey through the Ria Formosa by departing from the wharf in Faro. Head into the protected marshlands of the Algarve on this relaxing boat tour. During your 1-hour adventure through the Ria Formosa, visit the protected marshlands of the Algarve and spot some of the native wildlife and birdlife that exist in the area. The comfortable, solar-powered boat never leaks oil and doesn't contaminate. What's more, your trained guide is experienced in traveling through this beautiful area without leaving any trace whatsoever.

Frequently asked questions about Ria Formosa Birdwatching

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Other Sightseeing Options in Ria Formosa

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What people are saying about Ria Formosa

Overall rating

3.7 / 5

based on 322 reviews

Friendly, informative and sharp-eyed guide. Lucky enough to have the boat to ourselves. The solar engine is so quiet and gentle we were able to approach birds quite closely and to get into the shallows. Recommend this to anyone.

Really good tour. The guide was very friendly and informative. Even though we didn't see the sunset because of the weather I would still highly recommend!

It is nice to get a look at the city from the sea. Staying in the lagoon makes for a smooth boat ride, to enjoy the sun and the natural park.

Wonderful experience, the staff is very kind and professional!! We're very happy and satisfied!!

We were lucky to have perfect hot weather and clear sky Lovely sunset on our gentle boat trip