To the south and east of Faro are 5 islands that are part of the Rio Formosa nature reserve. Most of these islands are only accessible by boat or ferry from Faro, Olhão or Tavira. Two exceptions are Ilha de Faro, accessible via a bridge, and Ilha de Tavira (Praia do Barril), accessible by a charming train. The beaches are stunning, wide and long, and offer plenty of space even during peak season.
West of Faro are the beaches of Vale de Lobo and Quinta do Lago. Ancoa, and especially Garrão Poente and Garrão Nascente are highly recommended.
Farther west are 2 beautiful beaches that certainly deserve a mention: Praia Falesia (Albufeira, known for its impressive red rock formations) and Praia Marinha (Benagil, possibly the most picturesque beach in the Algarve Region).
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