Faro
National Parks

Enter your dates to find available activities

Our most recommended Faro National Parks

From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

1. From 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. Don't forget your swimsuits and towels - there will be plenty of breaks for swimming! The guide on board will provide information in Portuguese, English, French, and Spanish. The modern catamaran has a capacity of up to 11 passengers and provides a pleasant and comfortable way of exploring the islands.

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.

Faro: Guided Benagil Cave and Marinha Beach Tour

4. Faro: Guided Benagil Cave and Marinha Beach Tour

After gathering at the tour meeting point, your van will depart from Faro for the approximately hour-long journey after which you will arrive to Benagil Beach. It will be from this location, together with your instructor, that you will enter the cave. It will take between 5 and 10 minutes to enter the cave, after which you will have 40 minutes inside to enjoy its unique environment. You can choose to spend your time taking photos, swimming, and just generally relaxing. It will soon be time to head to Marinha Beach, which is considered the most beautiful beach in Portugal. At this location you will have an hour to discover the amazing cliffs and views, following which you will head back to Faro.

Olhão: 4-Hour Ria Formosa Islands Tour

5. 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.

Boat trip from Faro to Ilha Deserta by Ferry

6. Boat trip from Faro to Ilha Deserta by Ferry

Discover a hidden paradise of the Algarve on a catamaran cruise from Faro. Climb aboard to journey through the channels of the Ria Formosa Natural Park on a 45-minute trip to see seabirds and native plants. Then, dock at Ilha Deserta (also known as Barreta Island and Santa Maria Cape Island). Only accessible by boat, the island remains unspoiled and it’s hard to believe such a natural jewel still exists in Europe. Go to a unique beach at the southernmost point of Portugal and sample the traditional flavors of the Algarve at the environmentally-friendly Estaminé Restaurant. Opt to stay on the island for a few hours or the entire day, and return to Faro whenever you want. Avail of a number of return crossings for your convenience.

From Olhão: Ria Formosa 3-Island Day Tour

7. 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

8. 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.

Ria Formosa: Sunset Boat Trip

9. Ria Formosa: Sunset Boat Trip

Come and relax in the Ria Formosa lagoon on a boat trip at the best time of day: sunset. Soak up the stunning natural surrounds aboard a solar powered boat as you cruise through this beautiful natural park. Sit back and relax as you depart from the Faro Marina on board an eco-friendly boat. The solar powered boat is beautifully quiet, and this trip includes a variety of views. Your experienced skipper will guide you through the lagoon, its beautiful channels and marshlands, and approach numerous species of birds that inhabit this protected area without any disturbance.  This small group trip is limited to 10 people, offering an intimate experience and a wonderfully relaxing end to the day watching the sun go down over the lagoon. Soak up the stunning natural surroundings and the beautiful views over the Faro’s Old Town as you experience a beautiful sunset and cruise back to the Marina of Faro.

From Faro: Ria Formosa Islands Sunset Catamaran Cruise

10. From Faro: Ria Formosa Islands Sunset Catamaran Cruise

Sail to the beautiful Ria Formosa Natural Park by catamaran, and benefit from regular departures from Faro. Follow the channels of the Ria Formosa and explore the barrier islands that form the natural reserve. Experience a majestic sunset in a paradise location, and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Take your seats aboard a vessel with space limited to a maximum of 11 people, and enjoy a small group experience to last a lifetime. Gaze across the tranquil lagoon as the sun dips across the horizon in radiant colors. Then, return to your original point of departure for the end of the tour services.

Frequently asked questions about Faro National Parks

What are other things to do than National Parks that are worth visiting in Faro?

Other Sightseeing Options in Faro

Want to discover all there is to do in Faro? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Faro

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 1,279 reviews

Had an amazing time today, the guide really knows his stuff and I highly recommend you take this trip with him. His music playlist was on point so felt like the drive didn’t take very long and he took us to the best spots with unbelievable views

Excursion to do absolutely if you pass by Faro! We were able to stop on two islands, very different but both extremely beautiful. Our guide Nico was very friendly and funny, I recommend 100%

We did the Sunset Cruise, which was lovely. The natural surroundings were stunning, our guide was a sweet & funny guy (Nico) and I would highly recommend taking this tour.

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

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