4.5 star rating: Recommended 7 Reviews

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  • Address: Luz de Tavira, Portugal
  • Hours: Open daily 9am - 12.30pm and 2pm - 5.30pm
  • Admission: € 1.50

The Algarve ATTRACTIONS See all

Ria Formosa Natural Park

Like Porto’s Parque Nacional da Peneda-Gerês, the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa is a Portuguese national treasure created for the preservation of the the Algarve’s unique marshland and its flora and fauna. It encompasses a large lagoon area hugging almost 60 km (37 mi) of coastline between Manta Rota and Vale do Lobo. This lagoon’s diverse topography includes dunes, dune islands, marshland, saltpans and inland lakes. These wetlands are in turn a protected habitat for many species of birds.

What makes this park unique is its two distinct types of wetlands, the salt marshes and the freshwater lagoons. The latter is dotted with observation hides, and bird (and other critter) watching is a popular activity.

In addition to the birds, the park is home to Portuguese water dog kennels. This somewhat rare breed, known for its webbed feet and proclivity for swimming are bred and trained here, saved from the brink of extinction by dedicated dog-lovers and preservers of Portuguese culture.

Practical Info

The park boasts a number of nature trails, and its visitor center, located at Quinta de Marim, about 3 km (1.5 mi) east of Olhão is highly informative. Within the boundaries of the park are the ruins of the Roman town of Balsa. Most of these are inaccessible to visitors as they reside on private property, but five Roman salting plants are available for exploration near the freshwater lagoons. Dating back to the 2nd century, the salted fish produced at these plants were delivered all over the empire.

Tours & Tickets

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Ria Formosa Natural Park Boat Trip, Faro, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Ria Formosa Natural Park Boat Trip

4 star rating: Recommended 11 Reviews

Take a 3.5-hour sightseeing cruise through Ria Formosa Natural Park. The journey is made by the Ria Formosa channels with stops at the islands of Armona, ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $34.32
Ilha Deserta - Guided Nature Tour - Ria Formosa, Faro, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Ilha Deserta - Guided Nature Tour - Ria Formosa

4 star rating: Recommended 8 Reviews

Guided tour in a catamaran through Ria Formosa Natural Park channels, with a professional guide, who will be speaking about local biodiversity, traditional ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: 90 minutes (approx.)

From USD $34.32
Ria Formosa Catamaran Trip from Faro, Faro, Eco Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Ria Formosa Catamaran Trip from Faro

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 16 Reviews

Board a comfortable catamaran with a small-group of no more than 10 people to discover the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Visit the Deserta Island and Farol Island ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $28.60
Bird Watching Guided Boat Trip in Ria Formosa from Faro Algarve, Faro, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Bird Watching Guided Boat Trip in Ria Formosa from Faro Algarve

Embark on an ecotourism experience in Ria Formosa on board a “Saveiro” (a traditional boat). In the company of a nature tour guide, this boat trip ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $28.60
Ria Formosa Natural Park Bike Tour, Faro, Eco Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Ria Formosa Natural Park Bike Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 12 Reviews

Two and half hours tour at Ria Formosa Natural Park, enjoy the beauty of this paradise, learn about the flora and fauna and the amazing birdwatching. ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: Flexible

From USD $40.04
Bike Tour in Ria Formosa Natural Park, Faro, Bike & Mountain Bike Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Bike Tour in Ria Formosa Natural Park

Journey through the heart of Ria Formosa National Park on this 2.5-hour guided bike tour. Venture out into Portugal’s wilderness with your expert guide, ...  Read more

Location: Quarteira, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $62.93
Boat Tours in Ria Formosa Natural Park, Faro, Bike & Mountain Bike Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Boat Tours in Ria Formosa Natural Park

Join this catamaran tour which will take you to the most beautiful waters of the Algarve. Deserta (unique island with no permanent housing), Farol (only ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $22.88
Moncarapacho - Tavira mountain and hybrid bike tour, Albufeira, Day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Moncarapacho - Tavira mountain and hybrid bike tour

Scenic bike tour in the quiet and unspoilt eastern Algarve region. An interesting combination of beautiful countryside and a gradual descent to the coastal ...  Read more

Location: Faro, Portugal
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)

From USD $34.32

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