The Best Ria Formosa Activities as Recommend by Locals!

If you’re planning a trip to Portugal’s stunning Algarve region — or if you’re already here enjoying our sunkissed coastline — Ria Formosa Natural Park is a must-visit destination. And the Algarve’s capital city, Faro, is the perfect place to explore its natural wonders from.

At Formosamar, we are leaders in sustainable, environmentally friendly Ria Formosa boat tours from Faro, so we’re perfectly placed to put together this list of recommendations.

Scroll down and find our picks for the best Ria Formosa activities, and please get in touch with our team if you have any questions.

Join a Birdwatching Boat Tour in Ria Formosa!

Ria Formosa is a haven for over 300 bird species, from white storks to greater flamingos. This ecological paradise is also a Wetland of International Importance (or Ramsar Site) and a UNESCO-designated Biosphere Reserve.

And while our Ria Formosa bird watching tours are hugely popular with avian enthusiasts, they’re just as loved by anyone looking to connect with nature. Our expert guides will navigate you through the labyrinth of channels, canals, salt marshes, lagoons, and mudflats, unveiling the secrets of this special place.

We equip you with binoculars, so you can closely observe and admire our feathered friends in their natural habitat. The serenity of the landscape, coupled with the enchanting melodies of our winged residents, creates an immersive experience that you will never forget.

If this sounds like an experience you’d love, read our Birdwatching Guide to Ria Formosa for a deeper dive into this topic. 

Enjoy Even More Ria Formosa Wildlife Spotting!

For those craving encounters with creatures beyond the avian realm, the waters in and around Ria Formosa are home to plenty more wildlife, including common and bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, porpoises, seahorses, ocean sunfish, sharks, and whales.

On our Marine Life and Dolphin Watching Boat Trips from Faro, you can speed through the gorgeous waterways of the Ria Formosa and into the open Atlantic Ocean beyond in a safe, comfortable RIB boat.

Our guides, armed with a wealth of knowledge about the local ecology and marine life, lead this two-hour journey of discovery, during which we can travel up to five miles offshore. Along the way, we take in the beautiful Algarve coastline, pass barrier islands and Portugal’s southernmost point — Santa Maria Cape — and marvel at Ria Formosa’s stunning scenery.

Admire the Unique Flora in Ria Formosa

As you would expect from a habitat made up of freshwater ponds, sandbanks, barrier islands, salt marshes, dunes, streams, farmland, woodland, brackish lagoons, and more, Ria Formosa has an incredibly diverse range of flora.

The local plant life features in our Ria Formosa boat tours, allowing you to get up close to specimens you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Our Ria Formosa bike tour from Faro is the perfect companion experience for a land-based adventure. Join one of our expert guides on a comfortable, modern bike and explore the captivating landscapes.

If you’re planning to visit in late summer, keep your eyes peeled for the sea daffodil’s striking white petals.

Take in a Different Perspective with Paddling or Kayaking in Ria Formosa

If you want to get even closer to the water in Ria Formosa, you can also hop on a stand-up paddleboard or into a kayak. Glide through the labyrinthine water channels feeling at one with your surroundings, relishing the beauty of every twist and turn.

Our two-hour kayak tour in Ria Formosa, guided and monitored by a member of the Formosamar team, navigates the park’s placid channels, heading towards picturesque islands via beautiful beaches, marshes, and islets.

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a first-timer, our guides will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Feeling the gentle breeze as you soak in the sights and sounds of this natural paradise adds an extra layer of intimacy to your Ria Formosa adventure.

For a more independent experience, you can hire one of our Faro paddleboarding rentals and hit the water under your own steam.

Take a Ria Formosa Boat Tour to Ilha Deserta

Ria Formosa is a crown with many jewels, but one that glistens especially bright is Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island), also known as Barreta Island. With gorgeous scenery in all directions, it beckons with pristine beaches and untouched landscapes. 

Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll on the peaceful beaches, a refreshing swim in the azure waters, or some time to simply lay out in the sun, Ilha Deserta offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. 

Our Ria Formosa Boat Tour to Deserta and Farol Islands is the perfect way to reach this barrier island at the southern edge of the reserve. And as you may have already guessed, you have the bonus of visiting neighbouring Farol Island too!

Hop on a Sunset Boat Tour for Some Twilight Magic

Last but not least, our final pick for the best Ria Formosa activities is a sunset boat trip from Faro. There’s no better way to finish your day than by watching the sun dip below the horizon from aboard a comfortable boat with a glass of sparkling wine in hand.

Formosamar’s sunset boat tours provide a front-row seat for the grand spectacle of an Algarve sunset. Watch in wonder as the sky transforms into a canvas of warm hues, casting a magical glow over the tranquil waters.

Feel the gentle rocking of the boat as the mesmerizing sky creates a perfect backdrop for a cherished moment. This is an experience best shared with someone special!

As we near the end of this guide, we’d like to point you in the direction of our Essential Guide to Ria Formosa Natural Park. It’s a must-read resource for anyone planning a visit!

Ria Formosa at sunset

Book Your Ria Formosa Tours and Immerse Yourself in the Algarve

So, now you know the best Ria Formosa activities, make sure you don’t miss out during your escape to the Algarve! Browse our Ria Formosa boat tours and book your spot today. Read our blog How to Choose the Perfect Algarve Boat Trip if you need a little help making your choice!

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