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The Beaches of Tavira Portugal
Tavira is a pretty Portuguese town that is located on the eastern side of the Algarve. Tavira is regarded as the most charming town of southern Portugal, which has maintained its traditional appeal, even with the advent of mass tourism. Within the region surrounding Tavira there are beautiful and stunning beaches and this guide will detail the best and most popular beaches.
Quick Summary of Tavira’s beaches
Best Beach - Praia de Tavira
Most accessible from Tavira - Praia de Tavira
Best for families - Praia de Tavira
Most scenic beach – Praia do Barril
Beach to escape the crowds - Terra Estreita
Nudist beach – section of beach between Terra Estreita and Praia de Tavira
Tavira Beach Overview
The beaches of the Tavira region are located on the sandbar islands that are in front of the calm waterways and lagoons of the Ria de Formosa national park. There are no beaches that are within walking distance of Tavira and to reach the beaches a short ferry ride is required. During the summer months there are a regular and inexpensive ferry services, with numerous departures per hour.
The stunning Tavira beaches
The Ilha de Tavira is the main sandbar island and the soft golden sands stretch for over 10km along the southern side of the island. There are three main beaches on the Ilha de Tavira; the Praia de Tavira, the Terra Estreita beach and the Praia do Barril. The Praia de Tavira is the closest to Tavira and is therefore the most popular.
The sea waters of Tavira are crystal clear but are surprisingly cold, even in the height of the summer. The sea waters are cold as they are fed by the Atlantic Ocean and not the comparatively warmer Mediterranean Sea. The water temperature is slightly warmer on the eastern Algarve than the western. On the beaches parasols and sunbeds can be hired, they range from 15-10 Euros per day depending on the popularity of the beach.
The Praia de Tavira Beach
The Praia de Tavira is a large and wonderful sandy beach that has excellent facilities including restaurants, cafes and even a campsite. The beach is huge and is easily able to cope with the crowds of summer holidaymakers, while the calm waters which are supervised by lifeguards are suitable for children to swim in.
The marker and sea groyne at the northern edge of Ilha de Tavira
During the summer (May-Sep) there is a direct ferry from Tavira town centre which passes along the Gilao River and moors on the north side of the beach. The ferry takes 20 minutes and departure times are displayed on the quay, the ferry ticket costs 1.90/1.30/0.90 (return/single/child return). From the ferry terminal it is a 100m walk to the beach.
There is a second ferry route which operates all year round and departs from the Quatro Aquas pier, which is 2km south of Tavira. There is also a large car park near the pier. The ferry journey takes 10 minutes and the cost of the ride is 1.50/0.90 (adult/child)
There are great facilities close to the beach, with cafes, bars and a popular campsite (click here for bookings). If the crowds get too much take a short walk along the shoreline to discover almost deserted beaches. Be warned the nudist beach is 1km west of Praia de Tavira. The Praia de Tavira is a great beach and most visitors are happy to spend most of their holiday on this one beach.
The Praia de Terra Estreita beach
The Praia de Terra Estreita beach is virtually undiscovered by tourism and is one of the quietest beaches of the Algarve. The beach is located on the middle section of the Ilha de Tavira, approximately 2km from the Praia de Tavira. There is just a single beach bar/café while to either side of the main section of the beach are deserted stretches of beach.
The Terra Estreita beach
The parasols and sun lounger hire is some of the most expensive in the region costing 18Euros for the day hire, a better option is to just bring your own towels. There is no direct ferry from Tavira and the only connection is from the small fishing town of Santa Luzia, 3 km to the east of Tavira. During the summer the ferry departs every 15 minutes and the return trip costs 2.00. The Praia da Terra Estreita is the beach to visit to escape the crowds and the quiet and relaxed ambience makes the beach a favourite of all who make the effort to travel here.
The Praia do Barril beach
The Praia do Barril is the furthest beach from Tavira but offers more than just a great beach. On the edge of the beach was once a small fishing village which specialised in the fishing of tuna. This village was abandoned due to depleting fish stocks but the boat houses have been restored into beach bars and shops. The numerous anchors used to hold the complex series of nets required for tuna fishing have been placed in the sand dunes and this memorial to this formal industry is called the Cemetery of Anchors (Cemitério das Âncoras).
The Cemetery of Anchors on the Ilha de Tavira
There is no ferry to Praia do Barril and the beach is connected by a foot bridge and a mini train. This mini train was used by the Tuna fishermen to transport the fish catch and supplies to/from the village. The nearest town to Praia do Barril is Pedras de El-Rei which is 6km from Tavira. There is a good selection of beach bars and cafes at Barril beach.