Water Activities - Boat Tours in Ria Formosa - Islands Tour

Islands Tour

  • 4 hour(s)
  • 20 / 30€ /person
  • Map

Experience Description

Ria Formosa is absolutely... awesome! Besides being a Natural Park, the Ria stands as a classified wetland with international ecological importance under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR). Discover and enjoy the diversity of islands, villages and beaches in the Ria Formosa Natural Park in Olhão. This tour is a must do: it takes you around Olhão, Ilha do Farol, Ilha Deserta (Desert Island) and Ilha da Culatra, where you can have lunch during a 1h30m period (lunch price not included); The tour then takes you to Barra da Armona and the Armona Island (30m stop), bringing you back to Olhão in the end.  

Location Itinerary

Olhão - The Islands Tour

Our most popular tour. A route that glides across the river channels of Olhão and the barrier islands that are part of Ria Formosa. Discover Cape St. Mary's Lighthouse (at Farol Island) and take a look at the fantastic Desert Island. Choose your lunch at Culatra Island (1h30m stop, lunch price not included) before heading towards the  Armona Island, where we will make a short 30 minute stop. The tour ends where it started, in Olhão.

Olhão - The Islands Tour

12:30h-16:30h: Ferry.
13:00h-17:00h: Speed Boat.

Itinerary: Olhão - Farol Island - Deserta Island - Culatra Island (1h30 stop for lunch, price not included) - Armona Bay – Armona island (30min stop) - Olhão

Discover and enjoy the diversity of islands, villages and beaches around Olhão:

Olhão: There are indications that the Olhão territory is populated since prehistoric times.The proximity to the inlet and the abundance of water and fish led to the establishment of the first fishermen. The development of inshore and offshore fishing activity, and the development of the commercial trades led to a great development of the town, which in 1695, was known by Nossa Senhora do Rosário from Olhão.During the French occupation of the Algarve, in 1808, the Olhão residents started  a major uprising against the invaders, which led to the expulsion of them of our territory. Olhão would be known as Olhão Restoration village.The small fishing village had an great economic, social and urban development, so in 1985 was elevated to city, getting known for the Olhão Restoration city.
Currently remains a land of fishermen and canning industrials, but the crisis in the sector has led to the increase of tourism as an economic alternative. The city has about 14900 residents.

Armona Island: The island has about 9 km long, maximum width of 1400m on the SW end and a long frontal dune 8-9 m tall. The dune line is robust and well vegetated till Fuzeta. The deposition of sediment to the west is an unique phenomenon in the whole system of Ria Formosa and contributes to the narrowing of Armona Inlet. The widest part of the island is on the west extreme where we find the town of Armona, formed by fishermens and shellfishes. Nowadays most of the houses serve as holiday homes for owners and/or renting houses in summer period.

Culatra Island: The island has 7km long and the initial population came almost in 1880 from near villages dedicated to the fishing of sardines from the fishing frame. The village, currently with about 1000 inhabitants and 350 houses, occurred from being a strategic area for fishing. Dwelling houses with wooden walls and thatched roofs.

Hangares: The existing population is due to the former base of Portuguese Naval Aviation constituted by seaplanes to watch over the coast. They had two hangars (large warehouses) that gave name to the place. Nowadays there are only traces from the base form by the foundation of the hangars The settlement is still recognized for it's chapel, Our Lady of the Rosary of the hangares.

Farol (Lighthouse): The lighthouse was built in 1851 giving the name to this population that developed later around it forming cluster of houses. Now has a high occupational index but rather seasonal. It is a fishing village made up of modest houses, sandy streets and holiday's accommodations facing the estuary. Tourism is now one of the main resources.

Desert or Barreta Island: 8 km long and 70-700 m width. Has very low human occupation. To the east along the lagoon you will find some huts of small fishing storage, a restaurant and a beach with concession next to the bar Faro-Olhão. It has a wooden walkway that runs along the side of the lagoon and ends at the sea coast beach.


  • Armona island

  • Culatra island

  • Hangares Island

  • Farol Island

  • Olhão-Faro Inlet

  • Oyster and small clams farms

  • Center streets

  • Markets

  • Olhão Main Church

  • Chapel of Nossa Sr.ª da Soledade

  • Commerce Street

  • Riverside walkway

  • Ria Formosa Natural Park

  • Maritime Commitment building

  • Fuseta

  • Armona island

  • Culatra island

  • Deserta island


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