Ria Formosa
Day Trips

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Our most recommended Ria Formosa Day Trips

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

1. 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.

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.

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

4. 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.

From Faro: Private Ria Formosa Sailing Trip

5. From Faro: Private Ria Formosa Sailing Trip

Enjoy the pleasure of sailing in a magnificent place. Visit the Ria Formosa salt marsh in the Algarve in Portugal, covering an area of about 18,400 hectares along 60 kilometers from the river Ancão to the beach of Manta Rota. In 1978, it was established as a nature reserve and at the end of 1987, it became a natural park. Most of its area corresponds to the lagoon system of the Ria Formosa, composed of islands and sandy peninsulas arranged parallel to the coast, protecting a lagoon.  At the park, discover the natural habitat of several rare species such as the common cayman, the flamingo and the round-winged eagle. Another inhabitant of the park, almost extinct in Europe, is the chameleon. Go deep inside this ecosystem, while enjoying the pleasure of sailing. If you like, the skipper will teach and mentor you on how to perform some of the sailing tasks, so you can feel like part of the crew. Choose your itinerary, and if you would like to, stop at some of the barrier islands.

Ria Formosa: Tour to Paradise Boat Tour

6. Ria Formosa: Tour to Paradise Boat Tour

Get back to nature in the barrier islands of Ria Formosa Natural Park and discover a unique lagoon system that constantly changes according to the movement of the winds. Experience the natural beauty of the Algarve away from the tourist resorts and marvel at the area's amazing biodiversity. See birds nests and learn about the mollusks and crustaceans that provide revenue for the local seafood producers. Climb aboard a boat in Olhão for a 4-hour trip to observe the flora and fauna of the barrier islands from the water.  Stop at one of the islands to take a relaxing stroll on the golden sands and see the typical fishing villages of the area. Get the chance to visit the market in Olhão before or after your boat trip, and marvel at the wide variety of fresh seafood on sale, including clams, oysters and more. Lunch on the islands can be arranged (not included in the tour price). Enjoy free time to swim and relax before your return.

From Albufeira: Algarve Islands, Faro, and Vilamoura Tour

7. From Albufeira: Algarve Islands, Faro, and Vilamoura Tour

Discover several of the highlights of the Algarve region all in one day. Explore the charming town of Faro, the Rio Formosa natural reserve, Vilamoura, and the islands off the coast. Start your tour with pickup from your hotel. Visit the old town of Faro, including Faro Church. Climb the church tower for sweeping views over the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve. Take a tour of its estuary, or take a taxi boat to the islands off the coast and eat freshly caught seafood. See the yachts in the Vilamoura Marina, one of the most exclusive places in the Algarve region, known for its celebrity homes. Enjoy drop-off at your hotel at the end of the tour.

Frequently asked questions about Ria Formosa Day Trips

What are other things to do than Ria Formosa Day Trips that are worth visiting in Algarve?

The other unmissable things to do in Algarve are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Ria Formosa

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What people are saying about Ria Formosa

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 749 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.

Louis notre guide etait excellent , et tres sympathique.je recommande ce tour et je conseille de prendre le tour de 10h qui dure 5 heures . le temps passe tellement vite, on s'ennuie pas

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.

Really enjoyed our eco boat trip. The guide was very knowledgeable. Binoculars provided were good quality. Highly recommend!

Was a beautiful trip and Richard was an excellent host. Thank you for an amazing experience