About Armona Island

All about Armona Island

9 Kilometers of Beaches on Armona Island

Everything on Armona Island is beach – even the villas and cottages on the island sit on top of this sandy barrier island. In total there are over 9 kilometres of beach, much of it unspoilt and part of the Rio Formosa National Park. The ferry terminal faces the mainland, and the beach here is usually lively in the peak season. There is a safe swim area, and plenty of restaurants and bars to supply ice creams and great tasting Portuguese wine and cuisine.

The western side of the island is where the houses and villas are located, and here you will find the lovely and child friendly lagoona beach. Our own beach villa is at the end of the lagoona, literally just a few houses away from the waterfront. This is a great place for children to play in the sand, and on Armona Island the water is shallow with no sudden drop offs. At the end of the lagoona, a promontory separates the lagoona beach from the “side beach”, so called because it runs along Armona Island where the channel separates the island from Culatra Island.

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The Atlantic Beach is a bit further than the front beach, but is much longer and you can easily find “your own special place on the beach”. Near the boardwalk you will find more people, and an excellent beach/cocktail bar (which also does snack food). They also rent sunbeds with parasols, so you can escape even the fiercest noon summer sun (or protect your children from it). Away from the beach bar, you will find fewer and fewer people, until you feel you have the whole island to yourself.

Finally, Armona Island has an inland lake which is shallow and where just a few local families and holidaymakers “in the know” love to relax. Out of season there are sand dunes that keep down the breezes and act as sun traps. In the summer, the water is cool and refreshing, but bring an umbrella from our villa to protect your children from the noon sun.

Armona Island Life

Armona Island is great for families because there are no cars, plenty of child safe beaches, and the restaurants serve both Portuguese cuisine and other fare such as pizzas, grilled chicken, and really great chips. Our own villa has 4 bedrooms, great for larger families or multi-family holidays.

The central walkway goes from the ferry terminal all the way to the Atlantic beach. There are small paths leading off to each side, and it is great fun to explore the island, ever turn of the path revealing quaint houses or exotic flowering plants. Near the ferry terminal, at boat landing times, the path gets a little bit busy. Ten minutes later, the myriad paths seemingly swallow up the residents and holidaymakers, and the island goes back into its relaxed and relaxing state of mind.

Portuguese Outside Lifestyle

Most cottages on Armona Island, including our own, are designed to make outside life as relaxing and wonderful as possible. For example, our beach villa has a patio with barbecue, outside kitchen sink, dining tables and chairs and plenty of space to expand. Half of the patio is roofed over, providing welcome shade during the noon heat. The other half of the patio and the beach garden are exposed to the sun, and so everyone can find a place that suits them.

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Those who like to barbecue will find the freshest fish and meat and vegetables in Olhao, the sea port which supports Armona Island. The marketplace is vibrant, and selling fresh local fish you will not see anywhere else as well as global favourites such as salmon, tuna, swordfish, prawns and squid.

Restaurants and Bars on Armona Island

The ferry terminal area has the most restaurants and bars, whether you want just an ice cream or cold glass of beer, or you want a full Portuguese cataplana (fish or chicken based rice speciality of the Algarve). All restaurants are licensed, and most serve both Portuguese cuisine and family favourites such as grilled chicken and chips and pizzas. Armona 4 restaurant for example serves the children pizza yet has amazing Portuguese dishes – serving all in a lovely rooftop area that looks out across the water over Armona Island and over to the mainland.

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Inside Armona Island you will find Cafe Convivio (restaurant, bar, and small supermarket), which is just around the corner from our beach villa. There is also a children’s playground opposite, so you can have a glass of wine or enjoy a coffee and relax whilst the children let off steam.

Just before the Atlantic Beach is Restaurant San Antonio, with European cuisine including some amazing Brazilian style kebabs and local fish and meat dishes such as black pork or calamari. The beach bar is right on the Atlantic Beach, making great cocktails and also renting sunbeds. By day it is relaxed and has a quiet ambience, and in the evening they often open late and play more lively music.

Shops

Peres’ shop is the main shop on the island, located very close to the ferry terminal. It is a great place for both holiday gear and stocking up on food and wine. Inland, near our beach villa, is Convivio shop, which also has the best selection of fresh fruit and vegetables on the island and plenty of fresh bread (delivered every morning), plus beer, wine and other “essentials”.

Olhao, the other end of the ferry ride on the mainland, has several supermarkets and also the Algarve’s largest fresh fish, meat, and vegetable/fruit markets. Saturday is the busiest day, great for people watching, but the market is open all days (shop early for the freshest produce).

More about Armona Island from our blog

Armona Island Atlantic Beach

The Armona Island Atlantic Beach

The Atlantic Beach on Armona Island   The Beach There are some six kilometres of beach, and Armona offers perhaps the most pristine beach on the Algarve! The beach nearest the boardwalk naturally tends to collect the most people, but […]

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Photo of Armona Island Waterfront Beach

Armona Island Waterfront and Beach

The Armona Island Waterfront and Beach   The Armona Island Waterfront Beach The beach is a great place to sizzle in the Algarve sun, and if things get too hot you can always cool off with a swim in the […]

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Getting to Armona Island

How to get to Armona Island   At Faro Airport Faro Airport is a major international airport, and has direct flights to most European cities. If you can’t get a direct flight, get a connecting flight at Lisbon or London. […]

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Reviews of our Armona Island villa left on Homeaway.co.uk

Heather B. 5/5 This was our second visit to Armona. The villa is wonderful, situated right in the centre of the island, close to the little shop and children’s play area, and only a few steps away from the laguna beach.
The villa is extremely well equipped, very well maintained, and was lovely and clean, with two excellent bathrooms and plenty of hot water. The outside shower was a bonus to get all the sand off after the day at the beach, and the kayak was great fun on the sheltered lagoon.
Being off the main path the villa was lovely and quiet in the evening and the outside rocker was very relaxing with a chilled glass of wine in the evening. The only noise in the morning was that of the quad bike, which signalled the delivery of the fresh bread and croissants to the local shop, and off we would go ( in pyjamas) to pick up our breakfast supplies. The booking process was easy and efficient and the customer service we received was excellent. Thank you for a great holiday and I would recommend this property without hesitation.

James S 5/5 The island and this villa are wonderful! By far the best equipped villa we have stayed in with vast amounts of space. The bbq area was lovely and most of the time at the villa, apart from when sleeping, was spent around this area . Both the Atlantic beach and the ” Ferry” beach had lovely sand and were never crowded. The only drawback with the Atlantic beach was the hike to the loo.{editor note: the beach bar has toilets now} The inland lake was a favourite place, mostly secluded, and the area between the lake and the lagoon was like a desert island.
I recommend Carlos’ restaurant by the ferry and the sardines and clams were special. Antonios, the last place before the walkway to the Atlantic beach was poor and the service awful {editor note: new owners are great, we eat there often!}
A “must see” is the fish and vegetable market in Olhao, brimming with activity and a great place to get stuff for the Barbie. On one occasion we bought swordfish steaks that were so big, we could only get them on the Barbie two at a time!! The taste was fantastic. We will always have very fond memories of Vivenda Marinho and Armona . Go and enjoy!

Chris B 5/5 Having worked far too hard for the preceding couple of months, a week on Armona proved the perfect antidote. In October the island is still just about awake – one or two bars/restaurants are still open, and there are passengers for each of the three ferries that each day make the short trip to and from the mainland. The small supermarket was not open, but this is no great hardship given that the ritual of making the 15 minute ferry ride to shop in Olhau is so enjoyable.
There is great fish to be had in Olhau’s fish market, and the Pingo supermarket is good. Armona itself is small and low-lying, and no motor vehicles are allowed. Again, this is no hardship as a stroll along the main drag of the ‘inhabited’ part of the island is a joy. Cacti and succulents stud the gardens of the mostly whitewashed villas, and the scent is seductive at certain times of day. At this time of year it is impossible not to relax – sleeping, eating, wandering to the Atlantic beach, or just stepping out to one of the bars for a beer.
The villa itself is very comfortable, and nicely appointed. For me, highpoints were a shaded garden to the front framed by bourgainvillea; the outdoor barbecue; great showers and – perhaps more esoterically – a good feeling to the place. More prosaically, it was beautifully clean and we were given excellent instructions and support in finding it – even to the point of being met on our arrival in Olhau and a water taxi secured for our trip to the island. I shall go back to Armona without a shadow of a doubt, and if it should be in Autumn again I would be perfectly happy. We enjoyed plenty of sunshine, and the experience was quite magical. This villa is a base from which to enjoy all of these things.

Carola B 5/5 We had such a great time in this beautiful Villa on Armona Island! Thank you so much Ruth and Brian for sharing it with us. We love to remember our relaxing beach holiday, peaceful long walks,sunbathing, visits to Olhao market and the barbecues, living like the locals but with all the comfort you could wish for including wireless internet access ( mostly for our sons) If this is what you look for, book this place – i am sure you will love it as much as we did!

Franck V 5/5 From the moment we were dropped off by the taxi at the harbor town of Olhao only a 15 minute ride from Faro Airport, we knew we were in for a holiday never to be forgotten. We were met at the ferry by the key holder (Pam) and whilst we sipped a quick coffee at the kiosk there, were given a quick explanation of the house. The ferry journey to the island was a 20 minute ride hugging the coastline and a fascinating tour of its many traditional fisheries, which operate at low tide along the short route.
The island looked beautiful from the boat and once we actually arrived at the jetty and hopped off, we walked through the island center, which included a few restaurants, cafes and a small shop for your essentials. Then up a short pathway which lead us through a wonderful variation of properties from the small beach hut to the larger houses situated on this lovely small island.
Once we found the house and opened the shutters we found it to be plenty spacious and nicely furnished and decorated. The three double bedrooms were big enough for us and the kids bunk room worked perfectly for them too. The two bathrooms were clean and modern and we never seemed to run out of hot water for the 6 showers each night and morning! The kitchen was well equipped with pots, pans and the like and everything we needed was close to hand. To be honest we spent most of our time cooking on the outdoor barbecue, which was easy to light and gave everything that lovely holiday taste.
As we were two families with kids holidaying together we never felt like we were on top of each other and there was plenty of space to accommodate all 6 of us in comfort. When the sun got to hot the kids would come indoors and watch a DVD or read and we would sit under the canopy of the outdoor area. On the island there is a small tidal lagoon which would fill up overnight and warm gently throughout the day. The kids loved it, as the majority of it is only knee/thigh deep with only the very center being much more than 6 feet in depth.
The house came with a two man canoe and our boys spent many hours drifting around on the lagoon whilst we relaxed on the little beaches situated around it. The other end of the island has the Atlantic beach, where the water is a little colder and the waves fun to jump through but watch the current. All in all we had a great holiday in a great house on a beautiful and quiet island, just what we needed, highly recommended. Thanks Ruth and Brian.

ggdentist 5/5 The villa was great, well equipped with loads of indoor and outdoor space. There were only 5 of us but I do think if 8 were staying one bathroom may prove a bit of a problem. {editor note: we added a second bathroom straight away!}Super kayak for use on the lagoon, great beaches and very friendly locals.
The villa had everything you could possibly need and we will be returning! The villa was so great we barbequed there everynight and saved a fortune on eating out.
Recommended for: People with Disabilities, Families with Young Children, Pet-friendly, Tourists without a Car, Age 55+, Romantic Getaway

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