Ilha da Culatra

Planning to visit Ilha da Culatra while on vacation in Faro?

Ilha da Culatra is an extraordinary island near the city of Olhão and is one of the islands that separates the sea from Ria Formosa natural park. This island is about 6 kilometers long. Culatra Island width ranges from 100 to 900 meters.  The island is permanently inhabited by around 1000 people, most of whom live off fishing and tourism.

How to get to Ilha da Culatra?

Ilha da Culatra can only be reached by boat. The island is impossible to reach by car. Our Faro Boat Tours organized a boat tour to Culatra Island and also to the village of Culatra or the village of Farol (both located on Culatra Island). The ship departs from Olhão or Faro. You can buy Ilha da Culatra boat tour tickets online on our website. This definetely will save your time at the ticket desk in Faro, and guarantee you a place on the boat. During the Ilha da Culatra boat trip, you will be able to see several species of birds, such as flamingos, in Ria Formosa Nature Park. The Ilha da Culatra boat trip adventure adds to the experience of visiting the island.

Ilha da Culatra consists of three parts: Culatra, Farol and Hângares. All three parts have a nice beach. In that case they are quite comparable to each other. It’s easy to reach Culatra and Farol by boat. However, if you want to go to Hares, you have to walk to get there. There are no roads for vehicles on the island. It is only possible to explore the island on foot, on a wooden trail.

There are some beautiful little fishing houses on the island. Watching them will gives you an idea of ​​how local fishermen live. If you want to see the lifestyle of a traditional Portuguese fisherman, this is the place.

Animaris has created several products in the field of Nature Tourism. Since we started in 1986, our focus has been on respecting and preserving the environment, especially the Ilha Deserta boat tour. At present it is still the only uninhabited barrier island of Ria Formosa.

The Estaminé Restaurant, recognized and awarded for its gastronomic quality and energy efficiency, is the only structure on the island. Open every day of the year, with beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and Natural Parks, we specialize in fresh products from the sea and the Ria, such as fish and seafood.

We also manage beach concessions on the island, with support services such as sunbeds and sun shade, and a coast guard team during the bathing season (June to September).

Our fleet, for transportation and boat tours, consists of various types of ships (semi-rigid, speedboats and catamarans), with capacities ranging from 10 to 200 passengers.

Our multilingual team is experienced in guided tours, personalized experiences for families, business groups, school groups, tourists and residents.

Looking for the best things to do in Ilha da Culatra? Below are the best things to do while visiting Ilha da Culatra.

The most obvious activity on the island is enjoying the beautiful sandy beaches with the middle and east sides almost deserted even in summer. But here are other things you can enjoy on the island:

The lighthouse Ilha do Farol

You can go to Farol directly by ferry from Olhão or Faro. And yes, you have to walk from Culatra to Farol. This is a pretty long beach trip, but walking from Culatra to Farol is definetely worth it! Farol also known as Ilga do Farol. In Portuguese, Farol means lighthouse. You can see a really nice lighthouse standing here looking out at the island.

Relaxing on the beach

Culatra Island is mainly visited for a day trips by Portuguese families, but also by some tourists who are looking for quieter beaches. The beaches on Culatra Island are not as crowded as many beaches in the Algarve. This is all because the island can only be reached by boat. This is great if you don’t want to share the beach with bunch of people. You can even make it as your private beach. Most people who arrive at Farol live on the beach near Farol village. And most people who arrive in Culatra, live on the beach following the sidewalk. If you are willing to walk a little bit, you will find yourself alone at the beach for sure, even in summer. This beach is popular all year long, but also attracts more people in the summer. However, Ilha da Culatra and Farol are also good if you want to visit in winter.

Walking on the island

The beach on Ilha da Culatra stretches several kilometers. The beach reaches as far as your eye can see. This makes this island perfect for a walk on the beach. You can also collect tons of shells along the way.

Ilha da Culatra is the right place to walk. In fact, you can walk from the Culatra Village to the Farol Village. There are two ways to do this: along the beach, or on a wooden path in a dune. The road is about 4 kilometers. You will see a lot of vegetation and wildlife and you will truly appreciate the beauty of this island. For example you can arrive at Culatra, walk to the beach, then walk along the sea to the west to get to Farol. There you can enjoy a delicious seafood lunch and take a boat back to Olhão.

Walking to the beach on arrival

When you arrive at Culatra, you have to walk a little to get to the beach. The road is about 20 minutes. This can be difficult if you are traveling with kids.  You will have to walk through the small village of Culatra. You will find several seafood restaurants and also asupermarkets here. After the village, you have to follow a long trail to get to the beach. Just follow the sound of the sea and you will not be disappointed.


This beach is pretty sandy and it has good sand. The water here is transparent and clean. This is good for diving and snorkeling. You will be able to see a variety of flora and fauna under the water. Waves are generally small, but can be more rough sometimes. Be careful because the water near the island can be very cold.  But if you can stay for sunset, which is truly beautiful from the island. However, also make sure you don’t miss the last boat back to the mainland


There are plenty restaurants and cafes on the island. Fish in seafood restaurants are so fresh, sometimes you can see fishermen bringing fish directly to the kitchen. But some restaurants and bars may be closed during the low season.

Those are the most common things to do at Ilha da Culatra. However, you cannot miss a visit to Ilha da Culatra while visiting Faro and it is very much worth a visit!

Why choose our Ilha Deserta Boat Tour?

Our Ilha da Culatra boat tour is the most popular tour on the Algarve. Animaris boat tours has more than 30 years of experience in tourism with a team of certified professional marine biologists and skippers, multilingual and friendly staff, timeliness and safety, our Ilha Deserta boat tour also gives guests the freedom to spend time on the island and choose your return  schedule!

Our Ilha da Culatra boat tour fleet departs every day, all year long, from Faro (Porta Nova Pier). We have various types of boats, suitable for a number of group sizes, and prepare for different weather conditions that we can find throughout the year.

Our fleet has all navigation and safety equipment that complies with coast guard regulations, insurance, and provisions required by law.

Our concept is to give you a perfect vacation day: after a boat tour along Ilha da Culatra, you will have the opportunity to enjoy fresh fish, local seafood, and some Portuguese wine, and finish on the beach lying in the sun lounger.

What are you waiting for? Book your Ilha da Culatra Boat Tour with us now!