Armona

Step into relaxation modus the moment you step off the ferry (/sailing boat/canoe/water taxi). Ilha da Armona, one of the Algarve’s islands, is a place to escape to if you’re longing for sun, sea & sand plus some peace and quiet. Heading over to Armona this summer? (You’ll want to after reading this article). Enjoy the Algarve tells you what not to miss.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine May 2017

 

Have a drink with a view

Whether it’s a galão or a vinho verde, it tastes better with a nice view. Can’t beat the panoramas from the cafés located conveniently around Ilha da Armona’s ferry pontoon. (Apart from when you find yourself a deserted piece of beach – in that case, bring your own drinks and some ice to keep them cool). Look out over the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve all the way to the Cerro de São Miguel (that’s that mountain in the distance), say no to the straw (they end up in turtles’ noses) and enjoy. Cheers!

 

Search for sea shells

From one end of Armona to the other, it’s about 9km. Ideal length for a barefoot shoreline walk while searching for sea shells and looking out for dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean. Feeling less active? Walk across the island from north to south, which will take about half an hour. Want to do your bit for the environment while walking? Pick up any litter you find along the way.

 

Marvel at the quirky houses

Cottages partly painted as blue as the sea. Houses with anchors and life buoys in their front yard. Bungalows with shells plastered all over the walls. Even a place which has a palm tree forest as a garden. A stroll over the car-free island, especially through its sidewalk-sized ‘main street’, leaves you with plenty of decorating ideas. That is, if you’re into barefoot & quirky rather than highbrow and conventional.

 

Work on your tan

The best bit about being on an island? Escapism. That feeling of being on a mini vacation, far away from your daily life. So leave your phone at home and take some time to do absolutely nothing. Apart from working on your tan. Whether it’s on Armona’s south coast (read: frolicking in the waves & colder water) or on the north (warmer water & sheltered from the elements – especially if you head to the lagoon). Do slap on enough sun cream.

 

Catch some dinner

Although Culatra is known as the real fishermen’s island, wild oysters, mussels and clams can be found all over the Ria Formosa. With a bit of luck, you just pick them up from the bottom with low tide. No luck? See if you can buy some off the fishermen or just try the catch of the day in one of the island’s restaurants. Don’t make the mistake of picking seafood from the marked clam fields and oyster farms which belong to local fishermen.

 

Pretend to be a pirate

There’s a real ship wreck on Armona, a few hundred metres east from the village on the lagoon side. If you use your imagination and take care with rusty bits, it becomes the perfect spot to play Pirates of the Algarve. Walk even further along this beach and you’ll find a secluded spot, even in the middle of high season.

 

Go island hopping

Want to visit more than just Armona? Discover the other islands of the Algarve. There’s Ilha de Tavira to the east and Ilha da Culatra (check out page 5 for sailing to Culatra) to the west. Alternatively, go sailing on the Atlantic Ocean or get a small boat to explore the Ria Formosa nature reserve and keep your binoculars handy if you’re into bird watching.

 

Try SUP

Up for a paddle? Go Stand Up Paddleboarding, which can be done from Fuseta to the eastern side of Armona –which is even less crowded than the western side, especially in low season when there’s literally nothing – or even on the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the Algarve tried balancing on a board in the Ria Formosa. Want to know what it’s like? Read the article.

 

Head back to Olhão

After a day on Armona, it’s time to head back to the mainland. Regular ferries depart from the western end to the city of Olhão, which is worth a visit as well. When going there, keep an eye out for the red brick market buildings and the graffiti, and read our article about what not to miss in Olhão. Alternatively, if you’re on the eastern side of the island, catch a ferry back to Fuseta.

 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine May 2017

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