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Praia do Barril Beach, Tavira
The Praia do Barril is an idyllic Algarve beach situated on the sandbar island of Ilha de Tavira, close to the village of Pedras D’el Rei. Barril Beach was once home to a small tuna fishing community and the original dwellings have been lovingly converted into a variety of restaurants, cafes and shops. Lining the sand dunes of the beach are the anchors that were once used by the tuna fishing fleet and this unique rusting memorial is known as the anchor cemetery.
Praia do Barril beach
Why visit Barril beach?
Praia do Barril is one of the best beaches of the region and is always much quieter than the main beach close to Tavira. The Anchor Cemetery is a truly unique memorial, with over one hundred anchors carefully arranged in rows in the sand dunes that front the beach.
The Cemetery of Anchors on the Ilha de Tavira
How to get to Barril Beach?
It is 5km from central Tavira to the Barril mini train and the edge of the beach. There is an infrequent bus service between Tavira to Pedras D'el but there are no departures at the weekend. A single ticket costs €2.20 and Tavira bus station displays the latest timetable. A taxi ride would cost €5.00-6.00.
The fishing houses have been converted into shops and restaurants
One of the best ways to reach Barril Beach is to hire a bike a cycle there as the route follows part of the Ecovia do Litoral cycle path, a purpose built cycling route that one day will stretch the length of the Algarve. The route follows the M515 south west out of Tavira and passes through the pretty fishing village Santa Luzia. To walk to Barril beach from Tavira takes 1.5 hours and a pleasant extended hike is to return along the beach and catch the ferry into Tavira.
The Praia do Barril Train
Barril Beach is connected to Pedras D’el Rei by a miniature railway that was once used by the fishing fleet to transport goods between the community and the main road. This railway has now been converted into a popular tourist attraction that transports visitors to/from the beach. The journey is just over 1km, and a return ticket costs €2.00.
The mini train to the Praia do Barril
The Tuna Fishing Houses of Barril Beach
Barril Beach was traditionally home to a tuna fishing community. This small village was housed around 80 families during the tuna fishing season, April through to September. Sadly due to the depletion of tuna stocks in the 1960s the village was abandoned. These small, whitewashed dwellings have been restored and some have even been converted into beach-front amenities, whilst others serve as beach huts.
Praia do Barril tuna fishing houses
As a symbolic memorial to the decline of the tuna fishing fleet, the anchors of the boats have been dropped along the sand dunes that edge the beach. These anchors were used to hold the fishing nets in place and formed giant underwater mazes that funnelled the tuna into the capture nets. The rusting anchors are referred to as the “Cemitério das Ancoras”, the Cemetery of Anchors.
Details of the Praia Do Barril
Barril Beach is a wide expanse of sand that extends northeast to the Ilha de Tavira Beach and southwest to the nudist beach. There are good (but rather expensive) restaurants, cafes, and a selection of tourist shops along the shoreline. The sea is crystal clear but is surprisingly cold, as with the entire Algarve’s coastline. A parasols and two sun beds can be rented for 16E for the whole day.
The parasols and sun shades for rent on Barril beach