Ilha Deserta – General information
Ilha Deserta (also known as Ilha da Barreta) is an island near Faro. Literally, Ilha Deserta means Deserted Island. This pretty much describes the island, since there are no people who live on this island permanently. It is the only uninhabited island near Ria Formosa. The only building on this island is a restaurant. In the evening also the people from this restaurant leave the island, making the island truly deserted.
The beach of Ilha Deserta has white sand and streches for about 7 kilometres. The main appeal of this beach is its remoteness and its unspoiled nature. The beach will make you feel like you truly are in paradise. According to TripAdvisor, Ilha Deserta is the #1 thing to do in Faro.
In terms of people, Ilha Deserta is a really quiet beach. Even in summer there will only be a handful of people on this island. It is a great alternative to the crowded beaches of the Algarve. On the beach you can enjoy the sun and swim in the sea peacefully. There is not much else to do on this beach. The water here is exceptionally clean.
Ilha Deserta is one of a few beaches in Portugal that are officially classified as an naturist beach. There is an area for nudism. This area can be found on the western side of the island, about 30 minutes walking from where the ferry arrives.
It is also possible to book one of several nature tours around Ria Formosa, near the island. For example, there is a guided tour from Faro that takes you to the natural park of Ria Formosa, then to Ilha Deserta and back to Faro.
How to get there
The island can only be reached by boat. It is possible to catch a boat from Faro or Olhão. The boat trip lasts for 30 minutes each way and costs around 10 euros. During the boat trip, it is possible to see several bird species, like flamingoes, in the natural park of Ria Formosa.
There are boats going back to the mainland at 10.45, 12.45, 14.15, 16.00 and 17.30. Make sure you don’t miss the boat back to the mainland! If you do, you are basically stuck on a deserted island. The only way to get off the island after 17.30 is by private speedboat, which will cost you about 50 euros.
Ilha Deserta – Facilities
There are almost no facilities on this beach. However, there is one restaurant on Ilha Deserta, called O Estaminé. The kitchen of this restaurant runs on solar power.
Facilities in Ilha Deserta:
• Restaurant: yes, one on the whole island
• Bar/club: no
• Toilet: yes
• Shower: yes, in the restaurant
• Water sports: no
• Sunbeds: yes
• Parking: no
• Lifeguards: yes
• Blue flag beach: yes