Olhão’s beaches are on a barrier island that’s part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. They can be reached in just a few minutes by ferries departing from a pier in the center of town. These ferries also link the city to the beaches on an island to the west, that’s officially part of the city of Faro. These beaches are some of the most peaceful in Algarve, and are even deserted in large parts.
- Ilha da Armona
- Ilha da Fuseta
- Ilha da Culatra
- Ilha do Farol
This is the main and most accessible beach in Olhão. It’s the western end of a 9km(6 miles)-long island that’s home to a small fishing community, and can be reached by a regular ferry. After going down the village’s main street, visitors follow a long boardwalk, over the protected dunes, to the beach. The fine white sand stretches as far as the eye can see, and if you walk to the east when you arrive, you’ll have it all for yourself, except for a few nude sunbathers. The sea is usually calm, clear and shallow, and the entire beach is very clean. On the dunes, you’ll be able to spot chameleons and different bird species. If you prefer quiet beaches and to be surrounded by unspoiled nature, this is the beach for you.
See the Ilha da Armona Guide.
Although it’s considered part of Olhão, to reach this beach you have to take a boat from the fishing village of Fuseta (sometimes spelled “Fuzeta”) to the east. It’s one of Algarve’s best-kept secrets, mostly frequented by the people of the region. It depends on the tides, but the water here is usually shallow and calm, and great for swimming, particularly on the eastern end. This part of the beach is especially peaceful and beautiful, with a view of the neighboring island of Tavira.
See the Ilha da Fuseta Guide.
This island is accessed by ferries from Olhão and Faro. Like Armona, it has a tiny fishing village which you need to cross when you arrive, in order to reach the beach. A long boardwalk over the dunes takes you there, and then you just have to decide if you stay where there are parasols for rent and lifeguards, or continue walking east to a deserted area, with dunes stretching for kilometers. Surprisingly, despite the proximity to two of Algarve’s largest cities, it’s never crowded. This is such a pristine beach, that you can sometimes sight dolphins in the distance.
See the Ilha da Culatra Guide.
It’s possible to walk from the beach of Culatra to that of Farol. They share the same island, which has different names for the eastern and western ends. Ilha do Farol is the name of the western end, and is home to the island’s second fishing community, which grew around a 19th-century lighthouse. It’s where many people from Faro spend their summer days, but there are also ferries from Olhão. The village is quite picturesque, and has a number of restaurants, making it a popular family destination. At the beach, everyone tends to stay in the area by the lighthouse, which can get crowded, but if you walk east, you’ll find plenty of seclusion.
See the Ilha do Farol Guide.