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Tavira Day Trips and Excursions
Tavira is a charming Portuguese town that combines heritage, history and great beaches, to create a wonderful relaxed holiday destination. For those visitors wishing a more active holiday, Tavira makes for a great base from which to explore the entire eastern Algarve. These day trips are ideal for the more independent and intrepid visitors and provide an insight into the history and heritage of this fascinating region. This guide will detail the best day trips and excursions from Tavira.
Do I need a rental car to explore the Tavira region?
A rental car allows for the complete freedom to explore but there is no need for a hire car to explore the eastern Algarve. Tavira is one of the largest towns of the region and has regular bus services and is served by the Algarve regional railway. This railway connects all of the major towns worth visiting with an inexpensive but infrequent service.
Recommended day trips and excursions from Tavira
Barril Beach and the Anchor Cemetery
One of the most interesting monuments of the Eastern Algarve is the Anchor Cemetery, a rusting memorial to the tuna fishing communities and livelihood that has long since been abandoned. The Anchor Cemetery comprises of over one hundred anchors that were used to secure the tuna fishing nets, and these have been placed in the sand dunes that line the beach. The Anchor Cemetery is located on Praia do Barril beach, one of the best beaches within the Tavira region and the area makes for an enjoyable half-day excursion from Tavira.
The Cemetery of Anchors on the Ilha de Tavira
The Praia do Barril beach offers pristine sands and crystal clear waters; ideal for relaxing under the glorious Algarve climate, while the fishermen huts have been converted into beach bars and restaurants. The Praia do Barril is connected to the mainland by a miniature railway, and this was originally used to transported freshly caught fish and supplies between the fishing village and the mainland.For a guide to Barril beach please click here
Praia do Barril tuna fishing houses
Santa Luzia is a small fishing village that specialises in octopus hunting, using traditional methods that have developed over generations. This Portuguese delicacy is brought in by the fishing fleet early every morning and traded in the central market, before being served up in the family run restaurants that overlook the harbour. During the day the colourful fishing boats are moored along the harbour front of the peaceful village.
The fishing fleet of Santa Luzia
Santa Luzia is a small village, and only requires a short visit to fully explore, therefore is often combined with a visit to Praia do Barril. Santa Luzia is connected to Tavira by a purposed built cycle path and is suitable for all abilities. Visitors can also choose to walk from Tavira, which takes around 40 minutes. For a guide to Santa Luzia please click here.
Day Trip to Faro
Faro is historic city that is often sadly ignored by many tourists visiting the Algarve, but there is a lot to see within this fascinating city. Faro contains a delightful historic centre, which include the ruins of a castle, Se cathedral and bishops’ palace. The historic centre is encircled by ancient city walls that date from the Moorish era and are entered via an elaborate city gate.
Faro is a pretty traditional city
Faro is the gateway to the Ria Formosa Nature Park, a series of saltwater lagoons that are a haven to migratory birds and small marine life. The best method to discover the nature park is via one of the boat tours that depart from the Faro Marina.
Faro also boasts excellent shopping and one of the strangest sights of the Algarve, the ghoulish Chapel of Bones. Tavira is connected to Tavira by the regional railway and there are 10 daily departures in each direction with a single costing €3.15. For a guide to Faro please click here
On a boat tour, overlooking the historic centre of Faro
Day Trip to Vila Real Santo Antonio
Vila Real is situated on the very eastern edge of the Algarve and the town boasts a grandeur that does not reflect its size nor status. Vila Real was constructed at the zenith of Portuguese wealth and power and the town mimics the splendour of central Lisbon. The small town is centred around the Praça Do Marquês De Pombal plaza, with baroque houses and shops lining the avenues.
The ferry from Vila Real to Spain
Vila Real was the vision of the Maques of Pombal who founded the town and over saw its rapid two year construction as an important fishing and industrial town. Today the town has a sleepy and relaxing atmosphere and is a pleasant excursion from Tavira. Another popular activity of Vila Real is cross the wide Rio Guadiana by ferry into Spain. For a guide to Vila Real please click here.
The central square of Vila Real
The Ilha da Tavira
The pristine sand spit of Ilha da Tavira serves is the main beach in Tavira and is definitely worth a visit. The beach has golden sands and clear, but surprisingly cold, waters and attracts a diverse section of people, from Portuguese tourists to locals. There are great tourist facilities on the island, including numerous cafes, shops and even a campsite.
The Ilha de Tavira beach
The island is connected to Tavira by a regular and inexpensive ferry service. The beach extends for the length of the island and deserted sections can be just a short walk away. For more active visitors, the beach extends across to Barril Beach and the Anchor Cemetery. This is a 40 minute walk. For a guide to Tavira Beach please click here.