Visiting Ria Formosa Natural Park: 5 Fun Activities For You To Do

The Algarve is known for its amazing beaches and great weather, but this region of Portugal also hides a natural paradise, where flora and wildlife flourish amongst fishermen and small villages and towns. The Ria Formosa Natural Park has been a nature reserve since 1978 and became one of Portugal’s natural parks in 1987. This new status offered a higher level of protection to the lagoons, flora and migratory species, along with their natural habitats. 

At 60km long, the Ria Formosa Natural Park stretches from Faro to Cacela and is made up of islands, canals, sandbanks and swamps. With a rich biodiversity, this is a truly unique and individual area of the Algarve and is one of the last places in Europe which welcomes migratory birds from Central and Northern Europe during the nesting and wintering periods. Here, you can spot around 30,000 different birds, but you can also find numerous fish species and the common chameleon.

The Ria Formosa Natural Park is a unique place for you to enjoy a wealth of activities and, thanks to its natural and beautiful surroundings, most of these are in amongst the Natural Park. 

Hiking In Ria Formosa Natural Park

Hiking in the Ria Formosa Natural Park is one of the most interesting and environmentally-friendly activities you can do during your holiday, and is one of the best ways to discover the region. 

There are two hiking trails, both 3km circular trails, where you will find yourself strolling through the landscape of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, taking in pine forests, sand dunes and salt marshes. You will also have the opportunity to spot pink flamingos, who call the Ria Formosa Natural Park home. 



Kitesurfing is one of the most popular sports across the Algarve and the Ria Formosa Natural Park beaches are a haven for dedicated kitesurfers and novices alike. There are a few kiteboarding schools in the area, where the instructors will teach you how to kitesurf around the lagoons, islands and beaches.


Fresh Oyster Tasting

The Algarve is famous for its seafood, with numerous quality restaurants in almost every town and village. There are boat tours and experiences operating from the Ria Formosa Natural Park where along with the sights, you’ll get to learn all about Oysters, from their growing process to how they end up in the finest restaurants around the world. As well as this, you’ll get to taste oysters freshly picked from the ocean, washed down with a crisp, cold glass of white wine.


Sunset Boat Trip

Thanks to almost 100km of coastline, boat tours are very common in the Algarve, with most tourists opting to go on one during their holiday. However, for a boat trip with a difference, why not spend your afternoon and evening enjoying the sunset on the Ria Formosa Natural Park from the ocean? 

For the perfect chilled out activity, sit back, relax and listen to music all whilst sipping on a glass or two of wine whilst watching the sunset over the Algarve and the Ria Formosa Natural Park. Some boat tours schedule swim stops, whilst overs also mix in dolphin watching and even a BBQ on board. 


Nature Watching

If you’ve got children who are into nature and wildlife, then why not combine that with a day on the beach? The Ria Formosa Natural Park is filled to bursting with nature and is the perfect place for children to explore or admire nature from afar. With chameleons, ducks, flamingos and even dolphins. Pack a picnic and some towels and head to one of the many stretches of sand and enjoy a chilled out day admiring the wonders of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. 

A seagull flying over Ria Formosa Natural Park in the Algarve