Ilha da Culatra Beach
The Ilha da Cultura is a small, but very sandy island located just beyond the Ria Formosa nature reserve off the coast of Faro. It is only accessible by a ferry from Faro which guarantees it never gets super busy. However, unlike the neighboring Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island) there are a few permanent residents at the western end of the island in Farol - which is Portuguese for lighthouse. The laid back beach town gets a fair bit busier in the summer but still retains plenty of charm along with a choice restaurants and cafés. The beach itself is a great long expanse of beautiful sand stretching for nearly 2km. Backed by gentle sand dunes and the turquoise waters of the Algarve this is a bit of a gem.