The Ilha Deserta is the Algarve’s best kept secret, well at least it was until we heard about it… Lockdown has left us gagging for travel.
November 9th, 2020
The Ilha Deserta is the Algarve’s best kept secret, well at least it was until we heard about it…
Lockdown has left us gagging for travel. But if there’s anywhere more socially distanced than a desert island off the coast of the Algarve, we’d love to hear about it. Only in 2020 would we fly to Portugal on a one-night-only special for a spot of lunch.
The actual name of the island is Ihla Barreta, but it’s off-the-grid reputation scored it the nickname ‘Desert Island’ among the fishermen, and it’s managed to stick around. It is quite literally a desert island, so if it’s social distance you’re looking for, they’re serving it up by the mile.
There is one restaurant on the island, but you wouldn’t know just by looking. Estaminé is completely integrated into the landscape of the island and is powered by solar panels – just one of its many dedications to being completely environmentally friendly. The views are to die for, situated at the very southernmost tip of Portugal with everlasting views out onto the blue sea. If you’re thinking this would be the perfect place to enjoy a romantic sunset dinner you’d be dead wrong – the restaurant is open only for lunch because of its remote location.
People in Portugal were born and raised by the sea, so as you can imagine, fresh fish and seafood reign supreme here – being on the very edge of the Mediterranean has its advantages. Second to the sea, Portugal’s pride and joy is its sense of community, and dishes are designed to be loved and shared. One thing we cannot get enough of in Portugal is their bacalhau (Portuguese word for ‘cod’) served up Portuguese-style, salted with potatoes.
From the island it’s a quick hop back to the mainland. You can take the ferry for €5, or splash out on a speedboat for €10 – we’d recommend doing one there, and another back to get the full experience.
From the rooftop pool at the Eva Senses Hotel in Faro, you get a panoramic view of the Ria Formosa National Park (of which the island is part of), but it’s also a great spot to sun up and order up some infamous Portuguese wine. Check in with the hotel on their programme of live music and sunset DJ sets.
If you’re not stuffed from the decadent seafood lunch, the Eva Senses Market is a new concept for the hotel, serving up charcuterie and Portuguese classics, deli-style. Again, the concept is based around sharing, and their handy team will assist to what takes your fancy.
When it’s time to lay your head, great quality runs throughout all of the 134 rooms. The best are the ones with a view over the Marina – one of Faro’s many beautiful landmarks. The perfect place to close your eyes after 24 hours very well spent.
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.