Olhão beaches and islands

Olhão beaches and islands. The beaches in Olhão are located on two islands - Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona.

Both islands belong to the Ria Formosa Natural Park, a protected area with a unique ecosystem, featuring swamps, lagoons and sand dunes. These sandbank islands provide some of the most peaceful beaches in the Algarve and can be reached by boat from Olhão or Faro.

Around 1,000 people live in Ilha da Culatra permanently, most of which still work as fishermen. There are a few cafés and restaurants on the island, but it’s recommended to bring food and drinks if you’re planning to stay for a whole day. The main beach on the island is Praia da Culatra. Backed by gentle sand dunes, the beach extends for several kilometres and boasts exceptionally clean waters, making it the perfect place to practise snorkelling and diving.

If you head to the western side of Ilha da Culatra, you will find Praia do Farol which is named after the lighthouse (farol in Portuguese) that is established there.

From Olhão, you can catch a ferry to Praia da Culatra which takes around 30 minutes or directly to Praia do Farol, which is an extra 15 minutes. The boat trip itself is very pleasant, offering a great opportunity to spot the numerous species that live in Ria Formosa. There are boats throughout the year, but they're less frequent in the winter so always make sure to check the timetables at the docking station before your departure.

Ilha da Armona has a much smaller population than Ilha da Culatra, with about 50 permanent residents.

Passengers arrive at the harbour of Armona, which is lined with holiday chalets and restaurants. From there, you will need to walk for about 15 minutes until you reach Praia da Armona and its vast sandy stretch.

On the eastern end of Ilha da Armona, there is Praia da Fuseta. It takes more than an hour to walk from Praia da Armona to Praia da Fuseta. The best way to get to Praia da Fuseta is to catch the ferry from the fishing village of Fuseta, which takes only 10 minutes. The beach stretches for miles and miles, so you can always find a bit of privacy, even at the height of summer. There is also a watersports operator on the beach, where you can rent anything from canoes to stand up paddleboards and surfing equipment.

Explore this region by following our Olhão 2 day tour. Also read about Olhão, Fuseta and Moncarapacho.