Ria Formosa

Dolphin & Whale Watching

Going to visit Ria Formosa? Discover the best things to do on your trip to the Algarve. Top tours, travel tips and verified reviews!

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Have you ever been to Ria Formosa?

One of the main places in Portugal and a point of reference in the Algarve, Ria Formosa is a lagoon complex composed of 2 peninsulas and 5 islands. This Algarvian paradise is even one of the 7 natural wonders of Portugal!

The Ria Formosa stands out for its fauna and flora, being a natural habitat for several species of birds that live here and that you can observe.

With 60 kilometers of coastline that extend through the municipalities of Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António, Ria Formosa has a unique natural landscape that in total represents an area of ​​about 18 thousand hectares!

In this beautiful natural paradise, where approximately 20 thousand water birds live, you can do various activities, and below we will list a top 5 to serve as a reference point for how to explore this wonder!

It should also be noted, for the knowledge of the reader, that the 5 islands and 2 peninsulas that make up the Ria Formosa are: Armona Island, Tavira Island, Cabanas Island, Desert Island, Culatra Island, Ancão Peninsula and Cacela Peninsula.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Since the Ria Formosa is made up of 5 islands, there are several beaches along which you can take a dive.

The Ria Formosa stretches along a significant part of the Algarve coast, passing through 5 municipalities, these being Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Santo António. Then there are also 5 islands: Ilha da Armona, Ilha de Tavira, Ilha de Cabanas, Ilha Deserta and Ilha da Culatra.

There are several ways to do this. You can explore the Ria Formosa in a free and independent way, for example with hiking or cycling through several trails, or choose a guided tour and visit it, for example, by boat.

Yes. In all the islands that make up Ria Formosa there is at least one restaurant, making each island have the ideal conditions for a complete and perfect day.

No. All tourist activities promoted are completely safe for children, with only natural attention being recommended in some of them, for example, on boat tours.

What People Are Saying

"we tried 2 times to see dolphins with different companies and we understand it's not guaranteed...but after this trip I understand that many companies are just tourist traps...here, no caves or anything but just a nature lover (alfredo) who loves to explain you about dolphins and who respect them a lot....even when we found them, we stayed 20,30 min to not stress them while other boats would even follow them if they swim away from you...so in the end, they recognise boats from their noise....and will go more easily near the boats who never bothered them.....like the one of alfredo ! so we have seen dolphins, but even if we wouldn't have seen any, I would have put 5 because I could compare with other companies.....and they were the most respectful of nature, animals...it deserves to be said! thank you !"
"Amazing trip for watching dolphins near Faro. Very friendly skippers Alfredo and Fernando - tought us with wild life of dolphins and how to protect the endangered ocean life. Love it. Thanx."
"Partis pour aller voir des dauphins, nous avons d'abord pu voir un poisson-lune et puis soudain... 2 puis 3 baleines se sont montrées (des rorquals communs, fin whales, d'après le guide). Unique! Extraordinaire! Magnifique! La visite devait durer 2 heures mais les guides ne comptent par leurs heures et au bout de ces deux heures à suivre les baleines, nous avons quand même été à la rencontre des dauphins... Bref, souvenir inoubliable... Soyons honnête la venue des baleines est très rare mais la vue des dauphins est quasi assurée...un tout grand merci aux accompagnateurs pour leur gentillesse et leur professionnalisme ."
"Juste parfait !!! Le temps , le personnel , les dauphins et les explications sur tout ce qui nous entoure ! Les guides ont étaient juste parfait merci encore mille fois car des personnes aussi dévouées pour leurs métier et passion c’est rare . Moments parfait avec dauphins qui étaient bien au rendez vous . Juste un bonheur ! Merci encore à Alfredo et son coéquipier de folie continuez comme ça vous êtes au top !"
"PARFAIT ! Rien à redire, Alfredo est passionné, pédagogue, disponible et surtout très respectueux de l'océan et de ses animaux. À faire les yeux fermés si vous souhaitez découvrir les dauphins et avec un peu de chance d'autres espèces telles que requins,thons etc Merci à Alfredo et son acolyte du jour pour cette balade pleine de forte émotions !"
"The trip to see dolphins was absolutely amazing. Alfredo the guide was very knowledgable and we were able to watch dolphins jumping out of the water. It was wonderful."

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