Faro manages to avoid the mass throng of sun worshipers who make their way to Portugal’s Algarve every summer, as the city itself does not have a beach. |
The secret – which only a few of tourist have discovered so far – is that, while it may not have a beach, some of the Algarve’s most beautiful stretches of sand are only a short bus or ferry ride away.
The result of this well-kept secret is that this stretch of coast is relaxed and un-crowded, and is perfect for a tranquil Portuguese holiday in the sun.
Eagle-eyed visitors will have spotted the three sandbar islands that surround the city on the drive during their Faro Airport transfer, which is where the beautiful beaches are to be found.
So, while I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag and attract too many tourists, here is my guide to the local beaches.
Praia de Faro
This is probably the most popular and developed of the three sandbar islands. With a number of beach bars, cafés, kiosks and restaurants lining the golden sand, visitors can happily spend the whole day here.
Connected to the mainland by a bridge, this is the only one of the three islets that is accessible by road. In addition, there’s a regular ferry that goes there from Faro’s Porta Nova Pier. The islet has two coast lines: one is on the exposed Atlantic side and is popular with surfers and windsurfers, and the other faces the lagoon and is ideal for swimming and sunbathing.
Because this is the easiest stretch to reach from the city, it is also the most popular, so it tends to get a little crowded during the summer months. It is classified as an accessible beach, which means that there are ramps, footpaths and walkways down to the sand, and its restaurants and bars also offer wheelchair access.
Ilha da Barreta (or Illha Deserta)
Known locally as Illha Deserta (deserted island), this special spot certainly lives up to its name. Long stretches of empty, golden sand make this an idyllic place to spend the day.
The islet is uninhabited, but there is an excellent seafood restaurant here, so take the ferry in the morning, spend a few hours on the beach and then enjoy a fabulous lunch before returning to Faro by ferry.
Ilha da Culatra
Take a ferry ride through the Ria Formosa Nature Park with its lagoons and mud flats to the Illha da Culatra, a beautiful stretch of soft golden sand to the west of Faro. Make sure you take time to visit Culatra, a small traditional fishing village with bright coloured houses and some excellent seafood restaurants, before spending the afternoon on the beach.
Faro Airport is served well by a wide variety of airlines, so getting here from the UK is simple. Just make sure you book your Faro Airport transfer with Shuttle Direct before you set off, so that you avoid the crowds and queues for taxis at the airport.
If you book a private Faro Airport transfer with Shuttle Direct, you’ll be met at the airport by a friendly and professional driver, who will then take you directly to your accommodation.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you’re looking for the most affordable Faro Airport transfer, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.
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