Ilha da Culatra, Ilha do Farol and Ilha Deserta
Ilha do Farol is the western end of Ilha da Culatra and it has a small, permanent all year round, population which increases to around 3000 in the summer season! It is a lovely seaside community of mostly single storey houses; with oleanders lining the sandy pathways and bouganvileas climbing over the verandas. There are several restaurants and cafés dotted along the pathways from the quay.
The beach on the seaward side is another beautiful sandy bay and obviously popular both with the residents and people just visiting for a few hours.
The ferry runs to Farol and Culatra from Olhão port throughout the year, but frequencies are reduced in the winter months to only 4 per day, compared to 12 or 13 in the peak summer months.
From Farol you can go to the uninhabited Ilha Deserta by water taxi. Ilha Deserta has just one very popular restaurant on it ("Restaurante O Estaminé" offering traditional flavours from the Atlantic and Ria Formosa; Tel: 917811856) - if you want to lunch there it is probably best to book a table before or as soon as you arrive on the ilha! The beach on the seaward side is a beautiful sandy bay, just a couple of minutes walk from the quay.
There is a small area of sunbeds for hire, but most people seem to take their own sunshades and their own refreshments to enjoy a quiet few hours on this very peaceful ilha..
If you want a very quiet, relaxed day on the beach and nothing else, then Deserta is just the place; if you like to wander around and explore and have a choice of places to eat and drink, as well as having a beautiful beach, then Ilha da Culatra is the place for you. These Olhão beaches are both supervised during the season.