Ilha Deserta Beach (Ilha da Barreta)
Ilha Deserta means deserted island and this small sandy isle just off the coast of Faro lives up to its name. At 7km (5 miles) long the island has plenty of beach for all of its zero permanent inhabitants. Even in the height of summer you would be unfortunate if you had to share your stretch of beach with more than a few others - not like the nearby beaches of the mainland Algarve.
Ilha Deserta (or Ilha da Barreta as it is sometimes known) is only reachable by a 30 minute ferry trip from Faro or Olhao. Once on the island there isn’t much to do except soak up the sun and take a dip in the sea. Facilities are pretty minimal too with only one significant structure on the island. Luckily this is O Estamine Restaurant with its solar powered kitchen.
Given the secluded nature of the beaches on Ilha Deserta it is little surprise the beach is one of Portugal’s seven or so official naturist beach. The nudist section of the beach is at the western end, around half an hours walk from the ferry landing at the opposite side.
The landward side of the Ilha Deserta faces into the waters of the Ria Formosa lagoon which are a haven for wildlife including a colony of flamingos.
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