Ilha do Farol

Many a hot day has been spent languishing on Faro Island. This is the westernmost island of the Rio Formosa, and the only one accessible by car; the single-lane bridge can slow traffic down to a near-standstill during the summer months. Sun seekers are drawn to Praia de Faro – the unbroken bar of soft white sand that forms the island’s south coast. Lapped by a crystal-clear sea, this is the nearest beach to the city and is a very popular windsurfing and kitesurfing destination.

The other side of the ilha faces a shallow, more sheltered lagoon and is favored by canoeists and kayakers. A single road dissects the island and is lined with holiday homes, a variety of cafés, kiosks, and restaurants flavored with the tantalizing aroma of grilled sardines. A boardwalk at the eastern tip of the island reaches a cluster of ramshackle fishermen’s huts where the dunes are more secluded. This is as near to off-season as you’ll get.