Moving east from Quinta do Lago and travelling to the opposite side of Faro provides the option to visit Praia do Barril, an unusual beach which is worth the 45 minute car journey.
Located just across the Ria Formosa Natural Park Praia do Barrill is around 4-5km from town. Access is easy and there is a pedestrian pontoon bridge across to the island. However, if you don't fancy the walk, a seasonal miniature train runs from the Pedras d’El Rei resort. They run around every 2 minutes or so and tickets are just a few Euros. It’s so much fun for kids and adults alike.
The beach was once the location of a small tuna fishing community and remnants of this past have been lovingly amalgamated into its tourist facilities. The beach and water are very clean and are ideal for families with children. There’s space for the kids to explore and enjoy the safe swimming and Blue Flag status. Stretching for many kilometres it is also a great beach for a stroll along the sea.
In general, the beach is not very crowded. It is actually one of the quietest beaches in this area of the Algarve. However, in summer it can get a bit crowded near the entrance point. Nevertheless you can always find space if you’re willing to walk a couple of minutes, even in the peak of summer.