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Ria Formosa Natural Park Tours

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44 Reviews
Ria Formosa Natural Park
Located at the southernmost tip of Portugal’s Algarve, Ria Formosa Natural Park (Parque Natural da Ria Formosa) is a scenic swirl of freshwater lagoons, sandy islands, and lush salt marshlands. The park hugs the coast between Manta Rota and Vale do Lobo, and is best known for its varied topography and diverse bird life. 

The Basics
Ria Formosa Natural Park is an ideal day trip from nearby Faro. With its scattered islands and aquatic landscape, the park is best experienced by boat—whether you choose to join a boat tour or hop on a ferry to explore at your own pace. There are various options for Ria Formosa boat tours, including bird-watching cruises aboard a traditional painted boat (saveiro), bike tours through the park’s many coastal trails, and catamaran cruises that visit several islands in one day.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • Ria Formosa is a must-see for nature lovers. 
  • The park is a prime destination for bird-watching—look out for flamingoes, wigeon, black-tailed godwit, heron, and the rare purple swamphen.
  • The Ria Formosa visitor center is located at Quinta de Marim and offers information and maps of the park’s islands and nature trails. 
  • Shade is limited in the park, so be sure to bring a hat and sunscreen. 

How to Get There
Ria Formosa Natural Park is located near Olhão on Portugal’s southern coast. The closest international airport is in Faro, which is a 20-minute drive from the Ria Formosa visitor center. Ferries to the park’s islands run from Faro, Olhão, and Tavira. 

When to Get There
Summer (June through September) is the most popular time to visit Ria Formosa, when ferries run frequently and the weather is typically warm and sunny. The park’s tiny islands can get crowded during July and August, so set sail early if you want the beach to yourself. Ferries are much less frequent in winter and sometimes stop completely, so during this season you may need to charter a small boat. 

The Islands of Ria Formosa Natural Park 
Five barrier islands make up Ria Formosa Natural Park, and each has its own character. Ilha de Armona is known for its sandy beaches, Ilha da Culatra for its lively fishing villages and Portuguese Water Dogs, and Ilha da Farol for its landmark lighthouse. Remote Ilha da Deserta is a good place to escape crowds, while Ilha de Tavira is ideal for nature walks or bike rides, with easy-to-follow trails linking the villages.
Address: Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal
Admission: Varies
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41 Tours and Activities to Experience Ria Formosa Natural Park

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Ilha Deserta and Farol Island: a small group boat trip in Ria Formosa from Faro

Ilha Deserta and Farol Island: a small group boat trip in Ria Formosa from Faro

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70
Cruise the glittering waters of Ria Formosa Natural Park on a 3-hour sailing trip from Faro. After you climb aboard a luxurious catamaran, sail to natural landmarks like Deserta Island and Farol Island and scour the scenery for sightings of exotic birds. Observe the lives of locals as you listen to history and culture-rich commentary from your guide. Receive personalized attention on this small-group tour, limited to 10 passengers.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.83
From
$36.83
Taking safety measures

Ria Formosa Natural Park Birdwatching Segway Tour from Faro

Ria Formosa Natural Park Birdwatching Segway Tour from Faro

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93
Experience nature up close and personal on a Segway, during this 1.5-hour birdwatching tour in Ria Formosa Natural Park, departing from Faro. The beauty of the Algarve is in its iconic landscapes and untouched marshes. During this tour, explore Ria Formosa Natural Park and spot native and migratory birds feeding in freshwater lagoons, tidal flats and other ecosystems. Catch glimpses of flamingos, the rare purple swamphen, and other bird species as you learn about their natural habitat from your expert guide. This nature and wildlife tour also offers an optional pickup and drop-off from your Algarve hotel.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$64.04
From
$64.04
Taking safety measures

Ria Formosa Natural Park Bike Tour

Ria Formosa Natural Park Bike Tour

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15
Journey to Ria Formosa Natural Park on this 2.5-hour small-group tour led by a professional guide. Covering more than 60 kilometers of beautiful, rugged coastline, the Ria Formosa Natural Park is not a place to miss. Admire a stunning array of birds as well as unique flora and fauna, all while learning about the park’s history and its significance from your guide. This is a great alternative to a low-key beach holiday, for people who want to immerse themselves in Portugal’s natural beauty.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$55.25
From
$55.25

Ria Formosa Natural Park Bike Tour

Ria Formosa Natural Park Bike Tour

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6
Make the most of your time in Ria Formosa Natural Park by going on a bike tour. You’ll cover more ground than if you were traveling on foot, and you'll spend a whole day in the fresh air. Cut the stress out of navigating and potentially getting lost by having a guide to lead the way. Your guide will enhance your experience by providing commentary, pointing out flora and fauna, and taking you to the most picturesque spots. 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$67.53
From
$67.53
Taking safety measures

2-hour Bird Watching Guided Boat Trip in Ria Formosa from Faro Algarve

2-hour Bird Watching Guided Boat Trip in Ria Formosa from Faro Algarve

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27
If you’re a nature lover in The Algarve, Ria Formosa National Park should be at the top of your itinerary. During this 2-hour tour from Faro, you’ll explore the natural landscape on a ‘saveiro’ (a traditional painted boat) while learning about the myriad of bird species that inhabit the area. With luck, you’ll spot birds such as white storks, little egrets, spoonbills, and grey plover. This small-group tour is limited to 10 people to guarantee an intimate atmosphere.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.83
From
$36.83
Taking safety measures

Relax Tour on Solar Boat Ria Formosa

Relax Tour on Solar Boat Ria Formosa

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27
We are a company focused on providing unique environmentally conscious tourist experiences. We focus daily on the development of good practices for a sustainable activity, using our vessels powered by solar energy. We believe in raising awareness of environmental and cultural education, contributing to a better future. We want to share with you the tranquility and balance of this place ...
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
$18.42
From
$18.42

Ria Formosa: Boat Tour of the 3 Islands (Armona / Culatra / Farol / Deserta)

Ria Formosa: Boat Tour of the 3 Islands (Armona / Culatra / Farol / Deserta)

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116
The tour will be interpretive and explanatory during your trip, so during stops, everyone is free to engage in any type of activities on the respective islands, advised by the vessel's captain. Comments : - Navigation made only by Ria Formosa, avoiding seasickness; - Experienced and fluent captains in several languages; Stops: - 1st Stop - Ilha da Armona (40 Minutes), free visit to Ilha da Armona. - 2nd Stop: Ilha da Armona (between 1H30 and 2H00), stop for lunch with a reserved table, and time to visit after or before lunch. It's up to the customer! - 3rd Stop - Ilha do Farol (40 Minutes), free visit to Ilha do Farol. - 4th Stop - Ilha Deserta (40 Minutes), free visit to Ilha Deserta. Join us, be safe!
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$52.67
From
$52.67

Birdwatching on Solar Boat Ria Formosa

Birdwatching on Solar Boat Ria Formosa

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8
The birds are a passion and during winter we can see in greater quantity and diversity especially the waders who delight in the local food. velvos in their characteristic dances and sounds and a delight for any bird lover We have over 20 years of experience in the area and guarantee customer satisfaction. come and see the local birds and have a bird guide with 432 free species in 4 languages on offer
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$36.83
From
$36.83

1 or 2 Hour Speed Boat Tour - Ria Formosa

1 or 2 Hour Speed Boat Tour - Ria Formosa

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14
Experience Ria Formosa vibrant shoreline from the water on an exciting small-group speedboat tour! Speed up through the Inspiring Natural Channels of the Ria Formosa Natural Park on this Boat Tour from Faro. You will slide through the astonishing canals in a modern, fast and comfortable boat and you will see why Ria Formosa Natural Park is named one of the Portuguese “Seven Natural Wonders”. Along the tour you will be able to admire some of most magnificent exquisite birds and other wildlife that live all year long at the Natural Park. • Small Groups Tours • 1 or 2 Hours Tours • 1 Hour Tour visit 1 Island • 2 Hour Tour visit 2 Islands • Choose a morning or afternoon tour • Experience a comfortable Speed Boat Ride • Driven by a local professional guide
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  • 1 to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$36.83
From
$36.83
Taking safety measures

 4 Stops 4 Islands & Ria Formosa Natural Park - From Faro

4 Stops 4 Islands & Ria Formosa Natural Park - From Faro

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26
Visit The Ria Formosa Natural Parque in a confortable catamaran and discover the 4 beautiful islands with 4 Stops : Deserta Island, Farol Island, Culatra Island an Hangares Island. You can snorkeling, walking near the ocean , enjoy a typical lunch on Culatra Island and observe the culture of oysters. ( Free Masks ) ( lunch not Included - you can bring your Pick Nick)
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$37.78
From
$37.78
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Adventure: Cycling in Ria Formosa Natural Park

Small-Group Adventure: Cycling in Ria Formosa Natural Park

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8
This is the perfect tour for cycling fans. Make the most of your time in Tavira, by going off the beaten track, and seeing things that can’t be reached by public transport. You won’t have to worry about getting lost, as a guide will accompany you. Highlights include Ria Formosa Natural Park, Cabanas de Tavira, Cacela Velha, Manta Rota, Altura, Monte Gordo, and Castle of Castro Marim.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$70.44
From
$70.44

Your first experience Sailing - Private Trip in Ria Formosa

Your first experience Sailing - Private Trip in Ria Formosa

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4
Join a sailing boat trip in the Ria Formosa with a skipper for 4 hours. Enjoy the trip or be an active part of it, as the skipper will teach and help you perform some of the sailing tasks.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$70.84
Price varies by group size
From
$70.84
Price varies by group size

Eastern Algarve Small Group Day Trip to Olhão, Tavira and Faro

Eastern Algarve Small Group Day Trip to Olhão, Tavira and Faro

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15
Discover the wonders of Eastern Algarve by going on a small-group day trip. By traveling in a smaller group, you’ll have a more personalized experience without feeling your trip is overcrowded. Enjoy roundtrip transport, traveling comfortably in an air-conditioned vehicle. You’ll see the quaint village of Olhão and it’s market, the pretty town of Tavira, and have a guided walking tour of Faro’s old town and cathedral or an optional boat trip in Ria Formosa lagoon.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$73.67
From
$73.67
Taking safety measures

2 Stop | 2 Islands & Ria Formosa Natural Park - From Faro

2 Stop | 2 Islands & Ria Formosa Natural Park - From Faro

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13
Enjoy this relaxing tour in the Ria formosa Natural Parque whit a confortable Catamaran and discover the 2 beautiful and principal Islands with 2 Stop : Deserta Island and Farol Island. You can snorkeling , walking near the oceano , observe Cape os Santa Mariade and enjoy the local wildlife.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$31.49
From
$31.49
Taking safety measures

Romantic Sunset Tour in the Ria Formosa: From Faro

Romantic Sunset Tour in the Ria Formosa: From Faro

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18
Enjoy a romantic sunset cruise for two around the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Take a small, private catamaran and watch the sun dip below the horizon as you enjoy some champagne and strawberries. Admire the beautiful coastal scenery during golden hour and let the day melt away as you sail in the lagoon.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$184.16
per group
From
$184.16
per group
Taking safety measures

Ria Formosa Natural Reserve Park Day Trip from Albufeira (Private tour)

Ria Formosa Natural Reserve Park Day Trip from Albufeira (Private tour)

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1
Visit the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve and see local fishing villages that make their livelihoods off of the abundant waters. Stroll along the sand bars and soak up the sun as your guide describes the local traditions and culture of this coastal area. Enjoy a boat tour through the reserve and take in the beautiful scenery before heading back to your hotel.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$368.33
Price varies by group size
From
$368.33
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Ria Formosa Natural Park: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise - Self-Guided Birding w/ Car

Ria Formosa Natural Park: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise - Self-Guided Birding w/ Car

Ria Formosa Natural Park: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise is a Self-Guided Tour with Car designed to discover the special and diverse ecosystems of this region, one of the most attractive birdwatching spots in Europe. The Algarve is a famous resort, but is also an amazing site for nature observation, being home for hundreds of endemic bird species, and a wintering and feeding station for many others, which thrive in its rich wetlands, saltmarshes, saltpans, and woods.
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  • 8 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$856.28
From
$856.28
Taking safety measures

Short boat trip of the Algarve's Ria Formosa lagoon from Faro: 45 minutes

Short boat trip of the Algarve's Ria Formosa lagoon from Faro: 45 minutes

star-4.5
2
This is boat trip to discover the lagoon of Ria Formosa This 45-minute boat trip is ideal for those who are passing by Faro and do not have much time, but still would like to know the Ria Formosa, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. We leave the marina of Faro on board a confortable catamaran. When exploring the lagoon area one can see numerous waders that feed on small organisms that live in the marshes. This boat trip goes through the numerous channels of this protected area and it ends with the beautiful view of the Walls of the Old Town of Faro. This small-group tour is limited to 11 people, offering a more intimate experience.
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  • 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$18.42
From
$18.42
Taking safety measures

Pirates & Islands: Treasure Hunt (Summer 2020)

Pirates & Islands: Treasure Hunt (Summer 2020)

This tour is unique and exclusive in the Algarve, on the islands of Ria Formosa! A tour to be done with family or a group of friends, where we can personalize your entire tour with pleasant and exciting surprises! A magnificent experience where you will delight and surprise the entire group! Our captain will play a Pirate character in Ria Formosa with a story designed by us to excite the youngest and be happy and curious with the idea of searching for a treasure left on a deserted beach a long time ago! We can be flexible and add a picnic moment to the tour and return with the splendid Ria Formosa sunset! We will create the scenery on the boat, on the captain as well as on the deserted beach. We will create clues to try to find the precious buried treasure and create problems so that there is some difficulty in the adventure! For more information please contact us at +351 938 555 612 or by email info@odysseytours.pt
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$226.67
per group
From
$226.67
per group
Taking safety measures

Ria Formosa & Ilhas: Family Boat Trip (Special Conditions)

Ria Formosa & Ilhas: Family Boat Trip (Special Conditions)

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4
Nothing better than a family outing !! Avoid the large crowds of beaches in the Algarve, on a private tour for the family at a special price and with special conditions and discounts at restaurants, or if you prefer, make your own Picnic! Together with our company, personalize an ideal tour for your family to spend an incredible day in pure tranquility and tranquility! From deserted beaches to visiting all the islands, you will have several options to be decided by you and your family! Our boats can take up to a maximum of 9 people in order to maintain social distance with our skipper! You can choose a 2,30h or 5h tour, in case you want a customized one please contact us
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$125.93
per group
From
$125.93
per group
Taking safety measures

Paradise Skate Experience

Paradise Skate Experience

Skateboarder on a fun skate park and dive on a paradise island… Skating on a friendly skate park and a career ferry trip where you will enjoy the wonderful view of our Ria Formosa with shellfishers working in the farmed nurseries to reach an island where you can immerse yourself in its clear waters that are the natural habitat of many species of fish and are excellent for all types of diving. The island consists of beaches facing the Ria Formosa and facing the sea.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$62.97
From
$62.97

Secrets of the East

Secrets of the East

We propose an unforgettable visit to a salt pan where you will be able to see how the finest salt in Portugal is produced. Beyond these, you can appreciate the natural beauty of the Ria Formosa estuary, a wide expanse of canals, marshlands and sand banks that provide shelter to numerous species of migrating birds. Our next stop is Olhão - a traditional fishing village. Here you have an opportunity to explore the famous market in Olhão it is time to recharge your batteries enjoying a typical lunch in a Restaurant, where you will be delighted with the freshness of the fish served! After lunch, we will pass by a tiny, traditional fishing village - Santa Luzia. There you will see the pots used to catch octopus - an ingenious device! Our next stop is Tavira. Our final stop will be at a small village in the countryside to visit an olive oil mill, where you will be able to learn the secrets of its production, followed by a taste of this exquisite produce!
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$100.11
From
$100.11

The Wonders of Ria Formosa- Boat Trip + Visit to Olhão Market

The Wonders of Ria Formosa- Boat Trip + Visit to Olhão Market

Today we offer you the opportunity of discovering one of the less known areas of the eastern Algarve! First we visit Olhão – a traditional fishing village, renowned for the cube-shaped white – washed houses, contrasting with the golden sands and the blue sky and sea. Here you have an opportunity to explore the famous market with its huge selection of fish. After visiting Olhão it is time to get on a boat and start our wonderful boat trip along the Ria Formosa! We propose an unforgettable visit along the waterways of this beautiful Natural Park. It is one of the most impressive in Europe with a very rich flora and fauna. During this cruise along these scenic waterways you can see the peaceful beauty of some of the better known islands of this area. A stop is made in one of these Islands. wYou also have time to have a swim in these beautiful crystal waters. If you wish, you can also enjoy a delicious lunch, served in one of the typical Restaurants in the island (lunch not included).
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$66.64
From
$66.64

Private Half-Day Boat Tour in Ria Formosa from Faro

Private Half-Day Boat Tour in Ria Formosa from Faro

Cross the channels of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa and enjoy a relaxing Private BoatTour. Bring some drinks and have fun on board in 4 hours Trip. Find out the beautiful waters of the Algarve, where 2 main island are located : Deserta Island and Farol Island.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$818.51
per group
From
$818.51
per group
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Ria Formosa Natural Park?