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Ria Formosa Natural Park Tours

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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, Portugal
Admission: Varies
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Ports of Call Tours

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Catamaran Tours in Ria Formosa

Fantastic tour to discover the wonderful islands of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, led by an experienced guide.
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  • 3 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$62.00
From  
US$62.00
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  • 3 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Sailing Trips

From Faro: Private Sailing Trip in Ria Formosa

Join a sailing boat trip in the Ria Formosa with a skipper for 3 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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  • 3 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$48.47
From  
US$48.47
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  • 3 to 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Eco Tours

Bird Watching Guided Boat Trip in Ria Formosa from Faro Algarve

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
From  
US$28.18
From  
US$28.18
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

1 Hour Tour | From Faro: Boat Trip in Ria Formosa Natural Park

Enjoy this relaxing stroll with your family or group of friendsYou can observe the wildlife in the Ria Formosa Natural Park, some birds : Storks, Spoonbills, White Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant , Oystercatcher and with some luck flamingos....
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$67.64
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US$67.64
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

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From Faro : Dolphin Watching

Start your day with a 3 hour adventure where you can enjoy the beauty of the Ria Formosa Natural Park and navigate your coastline searching for Dolphins ....
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$50.73
From  
US$50.73
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

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BIRDWATCHING ECOTOUR RIA FORMOSA NATURAL PARK

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  
US$22.55
From  
US$22.55
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

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Boat Tour Ria Formosa + Lunch in Tavira Island + Beach sunshade

• The natural beauty and wildlife in the Ria Formosa• Private boat tour with local driver• Excellent opportunities for nature and holiday photos• Perspective on the ecological and sustainable activities of the local people• Lunch at Sal Restaurante & Lounge with seaview • Sunshade at Xiri Beach Bar, in the beach frontline of Tavira Island
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$49.60
From  
US$49.60
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

Bird Watching & Historical Tour

• The natural beauty and wildlife in the Ria Formosa• Excellent both for keen birdwatchers and simple nature lovers• Private boat tour with local driver• Perspective on the ecological and sustainable activities of the local people• Excellent opportunities for nature and holiday photos
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$28.18
From  
US$28.18
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

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All Day Route in Fuseta

This experience is the most complete of all the trips we offer. Get to know Ria Formosa and its Islands, like Armona, Culatra, Hangares and Farol, as well as its fauna and flora. A unique experience, where you will leave richer than you started. Enjoy a bit more about the local culture.
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$56.37
From  
US$56.37
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

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NATURE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP IN RIA FORMOSA NATURAL PARK

Light and natural colors beautify this place so full of marine life. Every season is a new theme, every hour of the day is a picturesque picture that you feel like saving for eternity.Bring your gear and get us through the wonderful maze of canals in the Ria Formosa where you can experience natural and surreal encounters with the surrounding nature.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$33.82
From  
US$33.82
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

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Amazing Day Ria Formosa

"Amazing Day" est vraiment inoubliable. Accessible à tous à partir de 1m50. En première activité, visite du magnifique parc naturel de la Ria Formosa en Fat-Bike électrique jusqu'à la plage de Faro. Activité sportive et ludique.Arrivé à la plage, Hugo vous emmène en bouée tractée en solo ou en groupe.(selon votre demande) Moment de folie garantie.Un moment de détente en paddle board avec initiation vous attend pour vous remettre de vos émotions.Le sport ouvre l'appétit, un bon repas garantie incluant : une salade ou un hamburgeur ou un toast accompagné de frites et une boisson de votre choix. En dessert une glace "Carte d'Or" 12 parfums au choix.Après ce repas... repos environ 1 heure dans une chaise longue face à l'océan.Retour au centre équestre en e-Fat-Bike pour préparer votre cheval avec Livia pour partir en balade en fôret. (si cette activité ne vous convient pas, elle peut être changée avec une sortie nettement plus sportive : e-trotinette tout-terrain) Décoiffant...
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  • 6 hours
From  
US$145.42
From  
US$145.42
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  • 6 hours

Nature & Wildlife

Lagoon and Fishing Villages Discovery Tour

• The natural beauty and wildlife in the Ria Formosa• Private boat tour with local driver• Perspective on the ecological and sustainable activities of the local people• Excellent opportunities for nature and holiday photos
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$49.38
From  
US$49.38
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

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Boat Tour Ria Formosa & Lunch in Tavira Island

• The natural beauty and wildlife in the Ria Formosa• Private boat tour with local driver• Excellent opportunities for nature and holiday photos• Perspective on the ecological and sustainable activities of the local people• Lunch at Sal Restaurante & Lounge with seaview
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$48.47
From  
US$48.47
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

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e-Fat Bike Sunset on the beach "My Friend & Me" RIA FORMOSA

"PRIVATE CIRCUIT FOR 2 PEOPLE"The departure is from an equestrian center.From the beginning to the end of the tour, you stay in a natural park.We are the only ones to offer this circuit in its entirety thanks to our Fat Bike bikes.A feeling of freedom guaranteedA sunset while driving. Romantic stroll par excellence ...
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
From  
US$100.33
From  
US$100.33
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes

Hiking & Camping

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Faro Beach Tour - Ria Formosa Natural Park

We will visit the westernmost part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, jogging or walking with Nature, where we will be able to observe the fauna and flora characteristic of this unique habitat in the Algarve.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$45.09
From  
US$45.09
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation

4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours

NEW TO VIATOR

e-Fat-Bike Sunset on the beach RIA FORMOSA

The departure is from an equestrian center.From the beginning to the end of the tour, you stay in a natural park.We are the only ones to offer this circuit in its entirety thanks to our Fat Bike bikes.A feeling of freedom guaranteedA rolling sunset
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$39.46
From  
US$39.46
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Bike & Mountain Bike Tours

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e-Fat Bike Quinta do Lago RIA FORMOSA

The departure is from an equestrian center.From the beginning to the end of the tour, you stay in a natural park.We are the only ones to offer this circuit in its entirety thanks to our Fat Bike bikes.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$21.42
From  
US$21.42
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Private Sightseeing Tours

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Private Catamaran Sunset Trip at Ria Formosa Natural Reserve

Come aboard with us on this private sunset tour at the Ria Formosa Natural Park with departure from Faro on our Gorgeous and Catamaran. You will experience an amazing Sunset from a different perspective.
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  • 2 hours
From  
US$496.02
US$620.02
US$124.00 savings
From  
US$496.02
US$620.02
US$124.00 savings
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  • 2 hours

Day Trips

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Power Yacht Private Tour - Ria Formosa

Let us take you, your family and friends on a wonderful boat tour in the Ria Formosa Natural Park on our gorgeous Power Yacht.We will take you to the best desert beaches and some of the best secret spots, while you enjoy all the luxury aboard our boats. Trips are in the Ria Formosa Natural Park with departure from Faro.
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  • 4 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$676.39
From  
US$676.39
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  • 4 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Nature & Wildlife

Flamingo Tour

• The natural beauty and wildlife in the Ria Formosa• Private boat tour with local driver• Perspective on the ecological and sustainable activities of the local people• Excellent opportunities for nature and holiday photos
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$16.91
From  
US$16.91
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation

Catamaran Cruises

4 Islands | From Faro : Catamaran Tour in Ria Formosa - 4 Stops

Experience Ria Formosa on a half-day catamaran cruise. Board your vessel in Faro and sail with a small group (a maximum of 14 people) to Ria Formosa Natural Park and the four picturesque islands of Deserta, Farol, Hangares, and Culatra. Navigate canals, learn about the area’s rich ecosystem, see Portugal’s southernmost point, and visit a traditional fishing village where you can enjoy lunch.
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$33.82
From  
US$33.82
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  • 4 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

SPECIAL OFFER

Eastern Algarve Small Group Day Trip to Castro Marim, Tavira and Faro

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 Castro Marim, the pretty town of Tavira, Olhão, and have a guided walking tour or an optional boat trip in Faro.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$54.11
US$67.64
US$13.53 savings
From  
US$54.11
US$67.64
US$13.53 savings
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Day Cruises

Ria Formosa, Faro, Private Boat Tours

Explore the Formosa estuary on a half-day catamaran cruise. After embarking on your adventure from Faro, spend a few hours visiting beautiful desert beaches and some of the hidden spots in Ria Formosa Natural Park. Enjoy a custom-crafted adventure tailored to meet your interests with options to include food, catering, and transportation.
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  • 3 hours
From  
US$56.37
From  
US$56.37
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  • 3 hours

Cultural Tours

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Oriental Algarve Tour - Tavira, Ria Formosa, Olhão, Faro

We will start this tour in the capital of the Algarve, the city of Faro. Here we will cover the narrow streets and squares until we reach the famous Arco da Vila - built by Bishop Francisco Gomes.The next stop is Olhão. Here you can enjoy a cruise on Ria Formosa and enjoy the beauty of this famous natural park, habitat of hundreds of birds of the most different species. Then, the charming town of Tavira. Crossed by the river Gilão, Tavira is the mirror of a Algarve traditions, full of character and, above all, beautiful. Among the places to visit, we highlight the castle of this city and the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, where you can see various styles of architecture, from Gothic and Manueline to the baroque and neoclassical. Mandatory point of passage is also the Republic Square, which is the center of the city. Located next to the river and the old bridge of Tavira, in it we find the building of the County Hall and an amphitheater from which you can watch shows.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$64.47
From  
US$64.47
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation


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