June 1, 2016

Ilha da Culatra Olhão

The two main areas for beaches at Olhão, on the Algarve close to Faro, are on the islands of Ilha da Culatra and Ilha da Armona. Both are reached by short boat journeys from the harbour near the fish and vegetable market and the replica of the Caique Bom Sucesso.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.


Ilha da Culatra is the further from Olhão by boat of the two islands, which are both part of the Parque Natural de Ria Formosa, a large area of coastal salt marsh, creeks, lagoons and sand dunes stretching 60km from Faro east to Cacela Velha.

The boat drops you off at the small quay with a few bars and restaurants nearby. Walk from here to Praia de Farol (Lighthouse Beach) near the lighthouse for the nearest beach.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Algarve, Portugal.


Sun loungers and parasols can be rented on the sands and there is a beach cafe/restaurant. A few sellers also wander the beach in summer hawking ice cream and sweet, cream-filled buns.

The water is clear, though a little cool and the fine sand kept clean. Indeed you can watch more sand being dredged just offshore to be deposited on the beach during the off season in winter.

Altogether the Ilha da Culatra is 6km long and is divided into three parts: Farol, Hângares and Culatra. The northern side of the island is sheltered and mainly lagoons and here near the ferry harbour is a marina for fishing boats and yachts.

Another beach on the south of the island is Praia da Culatra, west of Farol.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Portugal.


Rooms and holiday cottages can be rented here. You may need to inquire in one of the places near the harbour. Casa Marina is one such place.

There are no paved roads or vehicles on the island which is very tranquil and relaxing. Wooden boardwalks have been laid to ease pedestrian access to the beaches.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão, Algarve.

Ilha da Culatra can also be reached by ferry from Faro.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão.

Ilha da Culatra Olhão.

Timetable for boats to Culatra and Farol on Ilha da Culatra.

Timetable for boats to Culatra and Farol on Ilha da Culatra.
Click on the timetable to enlarge

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