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“I often wonder why we locals do not visit it more often...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ilha da Culatra

Ilha da Culatra
Book In Advance
$28*
and up
Ria Formosa Catamaran Trip from Faro
Ranked #1 of 36 things to do in Olhao
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Faro, Portugal
Level Contributor
156 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“I often wonder why we locals do not visit it more often...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

I often wonder why we locals do not visit it more often...the only good excuse I find is that we are definitely spoiled when it comes to beaches.
The island of Culatra (actually Culatra is the name of one of the only 2 settlements on the island, also called Farol [lighthouse], the name of the other settlement at the westernmost end of the island) is a truly unique place.
During the year there are not so many scheduled boat trips to the island but in season you have maybe up to a half dozen per day. Typically the boats will do a triangular route touching at the island's 2 settlements and then returning to Olhão (mainland). Chances are you'll do at least one of these legs with a stop on the way to or back from the island.
I enjoy getting off at the first stop (whichever) and taking my time walking to the other one - meaning finding a nice spot at the beach (usually one where you don't see a leaving soul a mile out) taking a nap, swimming and moving on to the next spot until eventually reaching the other settlement.
You can enjoy/swim the lagoon (north) side but the ocean (south) is definitely the best.
Forget the settlements which are uncharacteristic although some people may find there a pleasant third worldish character kind of, and go for the truly unspoilt beauty of the rest of the island.
Bring whatever you need and enjoy. I always do.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank JOSE G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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466 reviews from our community

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Glasgow, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Try the funky little beach bar”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 24, 2013

Near the lighthouse, very cool, great people. Careful, you'll want to stay there all day long. There's also a lovely family run little fish restaurant, with great home cooked food and a lovely helpful waitress.

Visited October 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Elaine O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bookman55
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Nice day out”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

Go to Pingo Doce, buy yourself a big picnic and go to Farol. Sit on the beach and sleep or birdwatch. Walk to Culatra, have a beer or a coffee and get the boat home.
Or just have lunch in Culatra. Wonderful relaxing day out, away from the noise of the traffic (and in the off season away from everybody else as well!)

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Bookman55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
64 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Simply Stunning . . .”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 11, 2013

We recommend catching the ferry to Farol and then strolling through Farol towards the lighthouse, and then stroll back along the Big Beach to Culatra

If you enjoy birdwatching and get the tides right you can then stop for a while in the small estuaries/lagoons to watch Storks, Egrets and waders.

or perhaps stay on the beach go for a paddle/swim in the Atlantic

On returning to Culatra have a late lunch at one of the many cafes, before catching the ferry back to Olhao.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank retsehcniw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Level Contributor
113 reviews
76 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
“Beautiful Natural Scenery”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2013

The ferry boat trip out to Culatra was interesting, although no commentary is given. The island is reached in 25-30 minutes. On landing there are some cramped houses many of which are holiday homes with the remainder belonging to locals. Potentially there are about a dozen cafes, and a mini market. However, as it was during the Christmas period only one cafe and the mini market were open.
The real beauty is, however, the natural surroundings. The beaches are long and clean, and it is pleasant to walk along them even in December. Regretfully, when it rains, there is little shelter, and the ferry boat has long intervals before returning. Best for a warm day with settled weather.

Visited December 2012
Helpful?
5 Thank EdinburghDoug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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