Faro
Boat Tours & River Cruises

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Our most recommended Faro Cruises & Boat Tours

Faro: Deserta Island and Farol Island Catamaran Boat Trip

1. 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.

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From Faro: Ria Formosa Faro Islands Catamaran Tour

2. 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.

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Algarve Coast: Dolphin Watching & Cave Tour

3. Algarve Coast: Dolphin Watching & Cave Tour

The Algarve coast brings to mind pirate adventures, and pristine beaches. Today you will explore the coast between Albufeira Marina and Capvoeiro beach on a luxury boat that offers you the chance to swim, relax, and maybe even see a dolphin or two! Begin with a relaxing ride through the caves and rock formations that make this landscape so unique. Then head out to sea in your search for the dolphins who call these waters home. Your boat is the perfect vessel for dolphin exploration, and these playful and fun animals are truly a sight to behold! Your expert guide will share with you interesting facts and history on this memorable trip.

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From Faro: 4 Islands, 4 Stops in Ria Formosa Catamaran Tour

4. 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.

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Faro: Dolphin and Wildlife Watching in the Atlantic Ocean

5. 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 water, spot wildlife such as dolphins, whales, and porpoises, and if you're lucky maybe come across a pod of orcas or fin whales. 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 tope 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.

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Ria Formosa Natural Park Kayak Hire from Faro

6. Ria Formosa Natural Park Kayak Hire from Faro

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 and 1 child, making it ideal for both families and solo travelers. There is also the Rotomod Ocean Quattro, perfect for families. This kayak can seat up to 2 adults and 2 children, although it works best with 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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Ria Formosa: Sunset Boat Trip

7. 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.

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Olhão: Ria Formosa Boat Cruise

8. Olhão: Ria Formosa Boat Cruise

Set sail from the port of Olhão and travel through the Ria Formosa National Park. Discover beautiful scenery and rich biodiversity with your expert crew. Learn more about the national park and local culture with your expert captain. Cruise by marshes, barrier-islands, islets, dunes, sand bars, and saltpans which are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Spot local birds, marine life, and beds of clams and oysters. Make a short stop at Praia Deserta and enjoy the serenity of a tranquil location accessible only by boat. While there, enjoy some time for a swim and to take photos, before returning to Olhão.

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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 caves and grottos became the favored home of generations of daring pirates. As we set sail, we'll see enchanting rock formations and spectacular caves 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.

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

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

Explore the islands of Ria Formosa in Olhão and Faro for an unforgettable and rich experience. Start in Culatra, an island located in the Natural Park of Ria Formosa with about 750 inhabitants, most of them fishermen. Learn about the local history and visit all the small streets and typical houses of the region. Discover the lighthouse and continue to the most peaceful beach in the Algarve on Culatra, which separates the dark blue of the Atlantic Ocean and the light blue of the Ria Formosa. Dive, swim, relax and enjoy the sun. Don’t stress about bringing anything for your beach relaxation, as everything you could need will be provided.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Faro

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What people are saying about Faro

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 799 reviews

The tour was was well run and Guilherme a knowledgeable captain and guide. Good observance of Covid measures. The weather was not great but the direction of travel was adjusted slightly to minimise choppy seas. There was ample time to spend on each island and observe the differences. An excellent opportunity to compare how the island beaches compared to those of the mainland.

Had a wonderful time kayaking with Luis in Ria Formosa. He was very knowledgeable about the wildlife in the lagoon and we could tell his love for nature and the sea. We had a picture-perfect morning despite the recent rains in the Algarve, saw a great variety of birds, and did not want our kayaking tour to end.

We had a fantastic experience with the Ocean Vibes team. They are scientists who have a passion for marine safety and safeguard. We were so happy to contribute to their research. We saw beautiful dauphins even in November! Thank you Ocean Vibes!

It was an unforgettable day with a very careful and experienced skipper :-). I would do the tour again at any time and can only recommend it to everyone.

Wonderful, very warm welcome and a top captain thank you to you and the whole team