The most famous islands are located in the municipalities of Olhão, Faro and Tavira. All of the islands are worth spending a day at, or maybe renting a house for a week or two and spending some holidays in these quiet havens, with the opportunity to go to the beach at any time.

To arrive on an island, you need to hop on a boat. Each municipality has a port with boats that to people to their destination; depending on the port and the island chosen, the trip may take more or less time, but you’ll not be more than a 45-minute trip from each port.

Ilha da Armona

Ilha da Armona located in the Olhão municipality, is probably one of the most sought after islands by the locals, as it is very famous, especially for its offers when it comes to accommodation. The boat leaves from the Olhão port, and the ticket price may vary according to the season. At nine kilometres wide, the island has various restaurants and small shops where visitors can spend their time. Along the island, there are dunes and salt marshes worth being explored, especially for those who enjoy birdwatching, as some amazing species land on the island.

Ilha Deserta

Moving to the Faro islands, one of the most famous is Ilha Deserta, which can be translated to Desert Island. Here, visitors can enjoy the life that may be seen in its Blue Lagoon, and in a desert area with barely any people around. To arrive at the island, the Faro port is the greatest option, due to the location of the infrastructure. On the island, it is possible to walk along the shore, in a peaceful area, where it is possible to swim in clear waters and observe nature in the protected area of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Ilha Deserta has a restaurant where people can taste the magnificent Algarve seafood while looking over the Atlantic Ocean.

Ilha da Culatra and Ilha do Farol

These islands are located in the same place, like neighbouring islands, both located in Faro municipality. For both islands it is possible to pick up the boat in Faro or Olhão port, and the price varies according to the season, and port of departure. Both the islands are linked to a fishing culture that is still evident today.

Ilha da Culatra is a proper fishing village with colourful houses on narrow streets, where a café or a restaurant can be found where people least expect it. The marvellous beach closest to this part of the island is quiet, and offers an atmosphere of tranquillity.

Ilha do Farol has an iconic lighthouse that serves as a postcard of the place. With some bars and beautiful houses, the lighthouse brings a charm to this island that cannot be compared to any other place. With bars right next to the beach, Ilha do Farol is the perfect place to spend some quality time, in a quiet and beautiful setting.

Ilha de Tavira

One of the most iconic islands in Tavira municipality, the Ilha de Tavira is a very popular destination and to arrive there, a ferry ride must be taken from Tavira port, which is not very far from the train station of Tavira. Besides the accommodation offer of houses spread across the island, the Ilha de Tavira has a camping park for those who prefer to spend their holidays under canvas. The main beach of the island offers a bunch of activities for families, including water sports like kayaking or paddleboarding. There are also dunes that can be crossed with the help of wooden walkways, which also makes access to the beaches on the island easier.

The Algarve has a wide offering when it comes to the islands, and they are very popular with those who have already discovered these hidden gems! You can book accommodation online but be sure to make your reservations early as they are often booked out a year in advance!

The islands are also home to many species, so it is important to keep the places as clean as possible so that the animals can enjoy the wonders of their habitats as much as humans.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos