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Praia de Tavira Beach
The Praia de Tavira is the region’s finest and most popular beach, which is connected to Tavira by a regular and inexpensive ferry. The beach is situated on the north-eastern side of the Ilha de Tavira, an idyllic sandbar island that extends for 12km along the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
Golden sands and crystal-clear waters, what more can you want for a holiday?
The Praia de Tavira is the closest beach to Tavira, and when combined with the regular ferry, makes it a popular choice for a day on the beach. The beach has a wide expanse of soft golden sands, with clean, calm sea waters, and is suitable children and families. On the Ilha de Tavira there are excellent but low-key tourist facilities including cafes, restaurants and a popular campsite.
The Praia de Tavira is a wonderful beach, and for certain visitors, it will be the only beach visited during their holiday to Tavira. This article will provide an introduction to the Praia de Tavira and explain how to travel there by ferry, detail tourist facilities and enjoyable beach walks.
Ferry to the Praia de Tavira Beach
The only means of travel from Tavira to the Praia de Tavira is by ferry. There are two ferry routes; the first is a summer time service which departs from Tavira town centre, and the second is a year-round service which departs from the Cais das Quatro Águas pier.
The pier at the end of the Praia de Tavira is a popular fishing point
The summer time ferry service departs from the river harbour in Tavira (GPS 37.12496, -7.64541) and the fare is €1.30/€2.00/€0.90 (single/return/child return). The journey time is 20 minutes and passes through the mudflats and salt water lagoons of the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
During the summer expect the ferry to be very busy with long queues, especially when returning to Tavira at the end of the day. The latest timetable can be seen on the Silnido (ferry company) website:
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The Ilha de Tavira ferry
The ferry service between the Cais das Quatro Águas pier and the Ilha de Tavira is a year-round service and is a much shorter journey, taking only 10 minutes. The pier is located 2km south of Tavira (GPS 37.11651, -7.62928) and is very convenient for visitors with a car, as there is a large car park close by. The ferry fares are, €2.00/€0.90 (adult/child return) and the 2017 timetable can be seen here:
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Water Taxis to the Ilha de Tavira
Water taxis provide a faster means of travel to the Ilha de Tavira, but they also more expensive. These water taxis can carry up to six passengers, and the single fares per journey are:
• Tavira to Ilha de Tavira €18,
• Quatro Águas to Ilha de Tavira €8
• Tavira to Quatro Águas €15
All fares cost 25% more at night. Water Taxis can be chartered from Tavira harbour or the Quatro Águas pier; they can also be booked through tour companies:
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Deserted beaches are only a short walk from the Praia de Tavira
Ilha de Tavira Beach Services and Facilities
The beach is very popular but the golden sands extend for 7km along the coastline so there is always space to be found. Just a 5-10 minute walk along the coast will leave the busy section of the beach and find an almost deserted section of beach.
The Tavira beach is family friendly and there is lifeguard supervision during the summer season. Be warned the sea is chilly even at the height of the summer, only reaching 21C in August.
Praia de Tavira Sea Temperatures
The sea waters of the Praia de Tavira are crystal clear but are surprisingly cold, even at the height of the summer. During the peak season (June-August) the sea temperature is 22C, but drops to 20C either side of the summer and only 16-17C in the winter (December – February). The sea water temperatures are cooler than the Mediterranean Sea as they are fed by the Atlantic Ocean. If you are planning to spend an extended period in the sea consider using a wetsuit.
The Ilha de Tavira Campsite
There is a popular campsite on the island, the Camping Ilha de Tavira. The campsite is open from May through to September and permanent tents with electricity can be rented. The campsite is below the shade of the pine forests and has good facilities including BBQs and is highly recommended.
The Terra Estreita beach
Ilha de Tavira Walks
The continuous coastline of the Ilha de Tavira extends to two further beaches. The first beach, the Terra Estreita beach, is approximately 20 minutes’ walk southwest from Tavira beach. Terra Estreita beach is connected to the fishing village of Santa Luzia by a ferry service. Terra Estreita beach is very similar to Tavira beach except it is much quieter.
The second beach, Barril beach is much more interesting and is a 40 minute walk from Tavira beach. Barril beach is a former tuna fishing community and the huts have been converted into stylish cafes and restaurants. The anchors that were used to hold the nets in place during the complex process of tuna fishing have been aligned on the entrance to the beach. This rusting memorial of over a hundred anchors is called the Anchor Cemetery.
The Cemetery of Anchors on the Ilha de Tavira