ILHA DESERTA FARO 2018-04-13T15:31:30+00:00

WELCOME TO

ILHA DESERTA

RIA FORMOSA NATURAL PARK

CAPE ST. MARY

More than a beautiful natural landscape, Cape St. Mary is located in one of the most primitive islands of Europe and gets his mystique from where she stands – the southernmost point of mainland Portugal.

BOARDWALK

The Santa Maria boardwalk along the Ria Formosa Natural Park was built in Ilha Deserta in 1999, and today is one of the must visit in Faro and Ria Formosa, in the Algarve.

BIRDWATCHING

More than 300 bird species have been recorded here, some of them very rare and others recognised internationally as endangered, such as the Purple Swamphen – the symbol of the Natural Park.

ILHA DESERTA BEACH

Here we welcome you to one of the most secret beaches in Algarve. Imagine how amazing it is to have an extension 7 km of white sandy beach to choose where to lay your towel and enjoy your day of sun.​

RIA FORMOSA ECOSYSTEM

The biological diversity of Ria Formosa is beyond imagination.​ In Ria Formosa, due to the calm waters of the lagoon, you really can feel and breathe the pace of the biodiversity as you cross the channel in the direction of the sea and Ilha Deserta.​

ILHA DESERTA - FIND IT. LOVE IT. PRESERVE IT.

Ilha Deserta is one of the 5 barrier islands in the Ria Formosa Natural Park. A commonly asked question is if the island is called Barreta or Deserta. Barreta is the geographic name of the island, Deserta, which means deserted, appeared as a nickname among the fisherman.

The shape of Deserta looks like an arrow pointing south, between the Atlantic Ocean and Ria Formosa. The island has been kept pristine for years, and today is still surprise box if you’re into Nature. From birds, to plants and flowers, crustacean, chameleons and others still to be found, Ilha Deserta is a hotspot of biodiversity.

One of the most enthusiastic features is the characteristic smell of the Island, and because of the lack of air pollution and when a wet atmosphere occurs, Deserta is emerged in a vibrant orchestra of aromas. Depending on the season, Deserta keeps something secret for the occasion. The summer brings along the calm of the Atlantic Ocean where you can enjoy the pristine calm waters, with bright sun on a beautiful landscape. During the Fall, the birds start coming down south and find shelter in Ria Formosa to stay hidden form the cold winter of Europe.

The winter brings us a composition of silence and nature sounds, the waves start to hit the coast, the wind blows faster, as the wildlife finds shelter on the island. As with the with the arrival of the spring, the blossom of the flowers and the highly productive marine ecosystem, brings out a bloom of colours and scents. Come and feel it for yourselves.​

CAN´T SKIP IT

CAPE ST. MARY - ILHA DESERTA

More than a beautiful natural landscape, Cape St. Mary in Ilha Deserta gets his mystique from where she stands – the southernmost point of mainland Portugal.

Cape St Mary is located on the only inhabited barrier island of the Ria Formosa Natural Park – Ilha da Barreta or Ilha Deserta. The barrier islands are highly dynamics systems and sensitive areas in terms of coastal erosion. Like the name recalls, the islands of the Natural Park, act as barrier to Ria Formosa form storm erosion, subsidence and sea level rise (Ceia et al., 2010).

The relationship that the local culture has with Ria Formosa, the Barrier Islands, and with Cape St. Mary was subject for the history books. During the century V, the area we know recall as Faro, was named “Santa Maria de Ossónoba’’. The myth of the Santa Maria continued the name of the city during 9 centuries, until it evolved to ‘’Faroon’’ and then Faro.

All it takes to reach Cape St. Mary, and visit one of the historical landmarks of Faro its beyond imaginary – a 30-minute walk on a white sandy beach lying on the bottom of Europe.

YOU MUST VISIT

SANTA MARIA BOARDWALK - ILHA DESERTA

The Santa Maria boardwalk along the Ria Formosa Natural Park was built in Ilha Deserta in 1999, and today is one of the must visit in Faro and Ria Formosa, in the Algarve.

Your journey already started on a boat tour to Ilha Deserta, and you’re already on paradisiac island. The Santa Maria boardwalk in Ilha Deserta is 5 minutes away from the pier, and it starts with a scenario of the main elements on the local ecosystem: the Atlantic Ocean flooding the Ria Formosa, creating a labyrinth of channels sided by marsh salt biotope on a seagrass bed and the Barrier Islands, protecting the Ria Formosa from all the strength that the Atlantic Ocean can reveal.

As you walk along, you can sense the biodiversity flow and gradient amongst the complex dune system. The path goes on for two kilometres, and it finishes on the southernmost point of mainland Portugal – Cape St. Mary. Once you reach the beach, you’ll have in front of you a walk along the wave lines on a white sandy beach with a carpet of shells. The variety and abundance of shells in Ilha Deserta is notable, and to keep it that way we sincerely ask you, as you go along the beach, to take a picture instead of taking them home.

If you have the chance, try to do the boardwalk, for the first time, with a local guide, so you can really embrace the subtleties that Ilha Deserta and Ria Formosa lies within.

BIRDWATCHING EXPERIENCE

BIRDWATCHING - RIA FORMOSA

Every year more than 30,000 birds use the Ria Formosa during their migrations and in winter, making this wetland among the three most important wetlands in Portugal. Some species are of European importance because of their important breeding populations, including the Little Tern, the Pied Avocet and Audouin’s Gull. The wide diversity of habitats here leads to the occurrence of a great number of species, one of the highest in Portugal, especially waterfowl, including waders and ducks in particular and, in lesser numbers, herons.

The Ria Formosa is also noted for the highest numbers of wintering Eurasian Wigeon and breeding Red-crested Pochard in Portugal. On the land areas several species of woodland passerines occur, as well as various raptors.

More than 300 bird species have been recorded here, some of them very rare and others recognised internationally as endangered, such as the Purple Swamphen – the symbol of the Natural Park.

The Ria Formosa is one of the most beautiful and important wetlands of Portugal, featuring an extensive string of sandy barrier islands parallel to the coast protecting the interior of the ria from the sea and creating environmental conditions similar to an estuary.

You must dive on this pristine waters

ILHA DESERTA BEACH

Here we welcome you to one of the most secret beaches in Algarve. Imagine how amazing it is to have an extension 7 km of white sandy beach to choose where to lay your towel and enjoy your day of sun.

The beach in Ilha Deserta has the highest rank of the region in terms of water and air quality, and for 20 years now, every summer we were proud to be part of the ‘’Bandeira Azul’’ project (meaning Blue Flag) on a national level. Furthermore, from June to October, to guarantee your safety Deserta Beach has the permanency of lifeguards along the beach.

Would you believe if we told that the water temperature during the summer can reach 24 degrees (75.2 F) and the water is so clear that you see the shells lying on the bottom? It is true, most of the days during the summer (June – October) the beach in Ilha Deserta displays an authentic setting of paradise.

Our concept is to give you the perfect vacation day: after a boat tour along the Ria Formosa Natural Park, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a gastronomic experience in Restaurant Estaminé, with fresh fish, local seafood and some Portuguese Wine, and finish up on the beach laying on a sunbed.

Don’t miss it out.

KNOW MORE ABOUT
RIA FORMOSA NATURAL PARK

RIA FORMOSA NATURAL PARK - ECOSYSTEM

The biological diversity of Ria Formosa is beyond imagination.

Ria Formosa is a shallow coastal tidal lagoon with the seaward belt of dunes protecting the system of salt marshes, subtidal channel and the seagrasses bed (Newton et al., 2005). The real complexity and value of the Ria Formosa ecosystem are lying between the tides. This ecosystem is considered a nursery for many coastal species, and the areas that become exposed when the tide goes down are being used for traditional growth of bivalve and as aquaculture ponds (Falcão et al., 2002).

From east to west, the five barrier islands are Barreta (Deserta), Culatra, Armona, Tavira and Cacela, and with the 6 inlets – Ancão, Faro-Olhão, Armona, Fuzeta, Tavira and Lacém – the Ria Formosa Natural Park covers an extension of 18400 ha, throughout 5 cities in the Algarve – Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira and Vila Real de Stº António.

In Ria Formosa, due to the calm waters of the lagoon, you really can feel and breathe the pace of the biodiversity as you cross the channel in the direction of the sea and Ilha Deserta.

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