If you are planning a trip in Algarve, it is a wise idea to consider spending one day on Ilha do Farol (Farol Island). This island located next to Faro is a gem! In this article, you will get all the information you need to plan your trip on Farol Island.
How to get to Ilha do Farol?
As its name suggests, Farol Island is an island, which means that getting to it is not as simple as that. Indeed, you will need to take a boat in order to access this island. But which boat should you take? There are several options available: taxis, shuttles, ferries, and rented boats.
Ferry boat to Farol
There are many ferry boats to Farol. There are 4 ferries a day that depart from Faro and from Farol. Ferry boat is the best way to get to Ilha do Farol.
When I was in Faro back in September 2020, I took a ferry. It worked very well, so I will only present this option. It costs only 5€ per person to book a round trip ticket. The only thing with ferries is that they are slow and that they are not many of them per day.
We waited one hour at the meeting point before jumping on the ferry because we were not aware of the times ferries were leaving. Indeed, there are ferries which go to different places: to Ilha do Farol, to Ilha Deserta, …
Normally, the cashier will give you all the information you need regarding the time the ferry leaves the dock. But for us, due to our poor Portuguese skills, it was not so clear, which lead to one hour of waiting. It is a bit frustrating, knowing that I only spent 3 days in Faro and that I wanted to make the most out of this trip.
Hence, what I would recommend doing is to ask for a timetable of the ferries first, and then book your tickets another day. Indeed, the place to buy your ticket is very close to the city center, so you could easily ask for them.
Or, if you are more intelligent than me (you are don’t worry), you can simply read the following timetable, which is something I did not do when I was there. It will help you to prepare your excursion to Ilha do Farol.
Faro ferry timetable
The following picture is the Faro ferry timetable to Ihla do Farol. It shows you that boats depart from Faro at 8:30 AM, 10:35 AM, 14:45 PM, and 16:45 PM.
I found this timetable after some additional research I did while writing this article.
Where do you buy your Farol island ferry boat tickets?
To get your ticket, you simply need to go to the place where the ferries leave. The thing is that it is not in the Marina. It is somewhere else.
Once you get to this place, here is how it should look like.
As you can see on that Google Street View screenshot, there is the dock on the right. This is the place to go in order to get inside the ferry. You will need to cross a railway, so please mind the trains. But before embarking on the ferry, you will need to buy a ticket.
As mentioned in the introduction, it costs 5€ to book a round trip to Ilha do Farol. To get it, you need to get to the wooden cabin on the left of the screenshot. Once again be careful, there are several cabins which sell tickets for the different islands. So make sure to ask a ticket for Ilha do Farol, and the cashier will tell you exactly in which cabin you should buy it.
When I was there, it was the second cabin on the left, but this could change from a year to another.
If you planned your trip as I recommended it, you should now have a ticket and be ready to embark for a 40 minutes ride to Farol Island! Indeed, it takes 40 minutes to get from Faro to Ilha de Farol by ferry.
What to do on Ilha do Farol (Farol Island)?
The ferry will disembark in the only small village of the island. You should see a lighthouse, some houses, and some shops. If you booked a ferry in the morning, maybe the best option is to directly head to the beach to enjoy the sun while it is not too warm.
The beach (Praia da Ilha do Farol)
The beach is the main feature of the island. It is a long strip of white sand. You will be pleased with how sweet the sand is. It is a joy to walk on this beach. To get to the beach, follow the itinerary on the next screenshot.
If you can’t figure out your way thanks to this screenshot, you can still follow all the tourists who leave the boat. There is also a map on the island, you can find it easily.
Eating on Ilha do Farol (Farol Island)
There is one point that you should be aware of when you travel to Ilha do Farol: there is only one ATM! The thing is that when I was there, the ATM was out of service, and a lot of restaurants in the Algarve region do not accept the credit card.
This means that you should always have some cash with you. Food is relatively cheap, even on the island, but you won’t be able to eat for under 5€/person. So make sure to have some cash with you, or you may be in trouble.
The good point of the ferry ticket is that it is a round trip and that your returning hour is already defined when you book the ticket. This way, you cannot run out of cash on the island and miss the money to come back to Faro.
But still, if you want to eat, or to buy some souvenirs, make sure to have some cash, because the ATM may well be out of service.
When you are hungry, you will not have any trouble finding a restaurant. There are lots of them very close to the beach. Those are touristic restaurants, but this is logical because you are on a touristic island (and you are probably a tourist yourself).
I personally ate in Maramais, and it was great. We only had 12€ to eat because we did not know about the ATM issue, but we were able to eat a good sandwich and drink water before heading back to the beach.
The lighthouse of Ilha do Farol
When you arrive on the island, you cannot miss it: the big white and red lighthouse. When I was on the island back in September 2020, I did not visit it. In fact, we felt like it was not possible to visit it because there was nobody on top of it. But we are not sure if it was the case.
The way back from Ilha do Farol to Faro
During the afternoon, you can either choose to walk or to relax on the beach again. Let’s face it, there are not a lot of activities on the island, so I hope that you like laying down on the beach.
The only thing you should not forget about is the hour your ferry leaves the island. Indeed, no one will tell you to go the ferry, so be careful not to miss it.
The village is relatively small, and you can get from the beach to the dock in less than 10 minutes, but still, do not fall asleep.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you want to read more about the Algarve region, I recommend that you read the other articles I wrote about places in the area. For instance, you could read the one about Faro Beach. It will tell you exactly how to get to Faro Beach and what you should expect there.
If you want to include this hike in a 3-days guide around Faro, you can check the ultimate travel guide I wrote about Algarve by clicking the link attached.
Finally, if I did not cover a point about Farol Island, make sure to ask your question in the comment section below, or to shoot me an e-mail. I will be very happy to answer you since it will bring back some good memories to me.