The Island of Faro is not just a great place to bathe in the sun or swim in the ocean but also to take long walks and explore the beauty of the nature reserve of Ria Formosa. And if you’re planning to do so, then head left and never stop until you’ve seen the bizarre charm of Barrinha! The island’s edge!
I’ve been erroneously calling the Island of Faro an “island.” It’s actually a peninsula, called the Ancão Peninsula, that changes in size and shape depending on the tides. However, it really only has one tip, the (almost) deserted area of Barrinha. After entering the peninsula, if you head right, you’ll only find more beaches and maybe even some resorts. I’m not saying that it can’t be a pleasant stroll, but for me, nothing compares to the weirdness wonder that is Barrinha.
Barrinha is located on the left side of the “island.” Starting from the bridge that leads to the beach, it’ll take you about an hour to get there. It’s a long stroll, but one I highly recommend. Fortunately, the directions are simple: just go straight forward! The beach is a long and straight sand strip from start to finish, so it’s hard to get lost along the way.
The first half of the journey is very normal; you’ll find mainly beach houses and cafés, it’s the second half that gets "curiouser". At the end of this more “urbanized” area, you’ll find an old wooden walkway. It’s this walkway that will lead you to Barrinha, and here is where the fun starts.
Barrinha and the Ancão Peninsula as a whole started being set by fishermen that worked in the Ria Formosa and on the ocean. And though the rest of it has been modernized and advanced with the passing of time, the closer you get to Barrinha the more it seems that time hasn’t passed at all, as the houses become smaller and, when you get to the walkway, everything has a scrappy and worn-down look to it, like those old fishermen houses. Their owners still use these houses, but they can seem a bit abandoned- it’s an eerie atmosphere, and that’s why I find it so appealing.
You’ll see fewer and fewer houses along the way until you’re at the end of the walkway. The true Barrinha starts here, with no more houses or walkways, just dunes, and the sea. There’s still a bit of walking on the sand but if you managed this far, congratulations! It’s a long journey on foot- that’s why a lot of people prefer to go by boat - but It’s worth it for the wondrous strangeness that inhabits this whole trail, a one-of-a-kind stroll.
Also, never forget to wear your sunscreen! Enjoy!
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