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Cruises & boat tours

Our most recommended Faro Cruises & Boat Tours

Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

1. 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. See the imposing Santa Maria Lighthouse in Farol and enjoy time to explore and try island cuisine. In Deserta, admire the rolling dunes and unique landscapes. Look out for unique flora and fauna, including the chameleon. Enjoy plenty of swimming opportunities on both islands, with secluded beaches and pristine shores. On board, learn about the islands and the park with insightful commentary from your guide in various languages.

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.

Olhão: 4-Hour Ria Formosa Islands Tour

3. 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.

Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

4. 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 Olhão: Ria Formosa Sunset Tour

5. 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.

Olhão: 3-Hour Ria Formosa Boat Tour

6. Olhão: 3-Hour Ria Formosa Boat Tour

Observe the nature reserve of the Ria Formosa while being navigated through its channels.  Stop on a desert island where you can swim, relax, and walk on its white sandy beach. You can also stop at one of the island communities Ilha do Farol or Ilha da Culatra. Explore the Ria Formosa area and listen to the detailed explanations that your skipper has to share throughout the tour. Learn about the fauna, flora, and fishing activities.  Discover this unique coastal lagoon that is constantly changing due to the continuous movement of winds, currents, and tides. It is also one of the most important areas for ornithology in Portugal, hosting more than 20,000 birds during the winter season.

From Olhão: Ria Formosa 3-Island Full-Day Tour

7. From Olhão: Ria Formosa 3-Island Full-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.

Faro: Dolphin and Wildlife Watching in the Atlantic Ocean

8. Faro: Dolphin and Wildlife Watching in the Atlantic Ocean

Discover different species of cetaceans, birds and other marine life on this exciting experience in the Algarve. Leaving from Faro, cross through Ria Formosa Natural Park towards the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the views of the Barrier Islands (Deserta and Culatra) or the marshlands as you cruise to the coastline. Once you reach the ocean, spot wildlife such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises. Whale season is between February and May, while dolphins are resident all year round. You will also see birds such as gannets and shearwaters flying overhead. When it comes to fish, spot species such as ocean sunfish, blue sharks, and hammerhead sharks, as well as a few marine turtles. A team of two marine biologists will help you find as many species as possible during your time on the ocean, and give you facts and information about the fauna and the surroundings.  After spotting a group of dolphins, enjoy 30 minutes free to watch the group. Feel free to ask any questions regarding dolphins and other marine life to one of your guides and take the opportunity to learn more about how biologists collect data for scientific research on dolphin populations. Once your observation time is over, return to Ria Formosa and cruise back to Faro.

Pirate Ship Cruise along the Algarve Coast

9. Pirate Ship Cruise along the Algarve Coast

We hoist our pirate flag, lift the anchor, and away we go! On the beautiful Pirate Ship Leãozinho ("little lion"), we will explore the most treasured spots along the Algarve Coastline and discover why these hidden gems became the favored home of generations of daring pirates. As we set sail, we'll see enchanting rock formations on our historical ship. If you feel like a sip from the ol' barrel of rum to lift your spirits for our cruise, we've got an onboard Pirate Bar that's perfect for quenching your thirst. The wind whips through the sails, and your comfortable seating lets you look out on all of the most beautiful beaches and breathtaking formations along this coastline. We will even have the chance to head out onto the Atlantic, passing the soft, sandy beaches of San Rafael, Castelo, and Praia da Gale. Of course, no pirate adventure is complete without having to "walk the plank", and you'll be happy to do so as you end up in the refreshing and beautiful waters below! Your swim in the clear waters is the perfect rejuvenating dip before we set sail and return to the Marina of Albufeira.

Faro: Kayak Hire in Ria Formosa Natural Park

10. Faro: Kayak Hire in Ria Formosa Natural Park

Paddle through the Algarve's famed blue waters in a kayak. The Rotomod sit-on-top kayaks are stable, safe, comfortable, and easy to use, making them the perfect way for you to explore the waters of the Algarve. You don’t need any experience to get the most out of your very own kayaking adventure. Various types of kayaks are available for rent. The first is the Rotomod Ocean Duo, a comfortable double kayak that can seat up to 2 adults. There is also the Rotomod Ocean Quattro, perfect for families. This kayak can seat up to 2 adults and 1 child. The Rotomod Tango is a heavy duty solo kayak, ideal for bigger paddlers or people travelling with a lot of heavy gear. If you don’t have that much gear, then the Toromod Mambo might be for you, with excellent maneuverability from this solo kayak. Just for your safety, your kayak hire will also include light paddles and comfortable safety vests.

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What people are saying about Faro

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 799 reviews

We had a great time on our sunset tour! The tour operators were accommodating as we had managed to go to the wrong port, they told us to stay where we were and picked us up. The Captain Miguel was very kind and and knowledgeable. He even gave us a personal gift upon knowing that one of us collected clam shells ! Highly recommended

Our guid was Claudio. His is really nice guy. Highly recommended. Experience was amazing. It was raining for some time. And our discussion to continue was perfect. We finished trip with sunshine. Many thanks Mante and Lukas!

Fantastic experience, both islands were great. Def take a couple of beers with you to sit on the deserted beach and watch the sunset!! I just wish we had more time on the 1st island to swim and grab a drink.

Unser Guide, Miguel, hat uns die Ria Formosa interessant und mit viel Leidenschaft für seine Heimat näher gebracht. Absolut empfehlenswert!

Such an amazing tour. The tour guide was so friendly and made it all the better. The islands were absolutely gorgeous!