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Ria Formosa Boat Tour

Planning to visit Ria Formosa for your next vacation?

Ria Formosa Nature Park is one of the most stunning places in the Algarve, not only because of its various landscapes but also because of its unique location. Recently chosen as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal, this is one of three protected areas that should not be missed during your vacation in the Algarve.  This is a unique beach lagoon that is constantly changing due to the constant movement of winds, currents and tides.

A paradise for birdwatchers, Ria Formosa is considered an important bird area (IBA) and is part of the Natura Network 2000. This is one of the most important areas for water birds in Portugal, accommodating more than 20,000 birds regularly during the winter period. This area is also very important as a stopping point on migration routes between Europe and Africa and provides shelter for rare species in Portugal such as the Purple Swamphen, symbol of this Nature Park and for other symbol species such as colorful flamingos.

In this Nature Park we can find other endangered species such as chameleons – reptiles which only exist in southern Portugal and seahorses, where we have one of the largest seahorse populations in the world.

Our Ria Formosa Boat Tour 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 Deserta Island, also known as Barreta. It is still the only uninhabited barrier island of Formosa Ria.

How to get to Ria Formosa? Our Ria Formosa boat tour will take you around this stunning place!

Access to Ria Formosa and the barrier islands is only possible by boat, a pleasant and quiet trip along the labyrinth of the lagoon. While the boat runs through canals and marshlands, watch the various birds that come here to find food and breed. You can also observe traditional fishermen and shellfish collectors who live with the best that Ria Formosa has to offer.

The Ria Formosa boat tour will depart from Faro, heading towards Ilha Deserta. Eco tours are a must in the Nature Park, where our professional nature guides will guide you through an interactive experience in the lagoon, with stunning views. He will share with you information about local biodiversity, traditional activities, Faroese history, barrier islands, plants and animals that inhabit Ria Formosa.  To be a quiet and educational trip, Eco Tour is a popular choice among families, small groups and solo travelers.

Empty beaches and bountiful wildlife – these are the best things to do during your Ria Formosa Boat Trip : 

Ilha de Armona

With more than five miles from the coast, Armona is one of the most popular destinations in Ria Formosa. The main attraction here, of course, is sand and a sleepy lifestyle, an impressive step that is well maintained. A day on Armona is usually spent walking around the island’s small streets – most of which are lined with closed vacation homes – and walking barefoot along the sidewalks to reach the Atlantic coast on the island.

Ilha da Culatra

Culatra is the island you want to visit in Ria Formosa if you are looking for witnesses to the traditional way of life of this area. There are permanent residents who live on this island, and throughout the year you can watch the fishermen in their boats circle the coast, and release catches from their nets in the harbor. Get lost in the small streets of the two Culatra villages and peek into the front yards of decrepit (but charming) houses.

Ilha da Barreta

If it is not referred to as ‘Ilha Deserta’, or Deserted Island, Barreta is one of the most advanced islands that you can reach in Ria Formosa Nature Park. The paradise beach at Barreta stretches just under seven miles, and even in peak season you will be able to find a place secluded from others.

There is only one restaurant in Barreta, Restaurante Estaminé, which serves traditional Portuguese food and is popular with visitors. If possible, order in advance on busy days so you will not be stranded with a rumbling stomach and no food for lunch. Because Barreta is far to the west, the city is reached from the city of Faro – take a ferry from the Porta Nova dock.

Ilha de Tavira

While all the other islands in Ria Formosa are reached from Faro or Olhão, Ilha de Tavira is located further up the coast, on the far eastern border, and is a 10-minute boat ride from the city of the same name. The island is about seven miles long, with several miles of coast which is even more accessible and pristine.

Getting to Ria Formosa Natural Park

The closest airport to Ria Formosa Natural Park is Faro Airport, which has fewer airlines flying every day. From there, you can reach the island with our Ria Formosa boat tour in Faro.

Animaris operates a fleet dedicated to Ilha Deserta and Ria Formosa’s natural parks. Starting from Faro and Olhão (Jamanta), you can choose among several Boat Tours options. Every day of the year!

Why choose our Boat Tour in Faro?

Our Ria Formosa Boat Tour will take you to the most popular places above. 

Our Faro 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 boat tour in Faro also gives guests the freedom to spend time on the island and choose your return  schedule!

However, a visit the islands in Faro and Ria Formosa are cannot be missed while visiting Faro and it is very much worth a visit!

What are you waiting for? Book your Ria Formosa Boat Tour with us now!