The best independent guide to Tavira
The best independent guide to Tavira
Tavira is a charming resort town that is situated on the eastern Algarve that makes for a fantastic holiday destination. The town has managed to shun the development of ugly mass tourism and been able to retain its traditional heritage, architecture and character.
Tavira is ideally positioned to explore the eastern side of the Algarve and the excellent public transport means that this is possible for all visitors. This guide will provide a suggested 5 day itinerary and activities for five day holiday to Tavira.
The historic centre of tavira
Day One - Explore the town
Day Two - Ilha do Tavira beach
Day Three - Santa Luzia and Praia do Barril beach
Day four - Cabanas resort and beach
Day five - Day trip to Vila Real and/or Monte Gordo beach
Tavira contains a pretty and historic centre and is simply a joy to explore. The heart of the town is the Gilão River and surrounding cobbled streets are lined with traditional tiled houses and shops. Further into the town is the small castle and the Igreja da Misericordia church with its decorative tile paintings. On western side are pleasant plazas with open air cafes and restaurants and many more quaint churches.
Tavira has a stunning beach, the Praia de Tavira, which is located on the 14 km long sandbar island the Ilha do Tavira. The island is connected to the Tavira a regular and inexpensive ferry and for a full guide please click here. Tavira beach offers golden sands, freezing waters and excellent facilities which are suitable for families and couples alike. The size of the beach makes it surprisingly easy to escape the crowds and with a 10 minute walk the whole beach can be yours.
The deserted Ilha do Tavira
Santa Luzia is a small fishing village that specialises in the capture of octopus. The fishing fleet returns early in the day and this is the ideal time to visit, to watch the unloading and trading of the octopus. The restaurants that line the harbour front specialise in octopus dishes and this is acquired tasting Portuguese delicacy.
The fishing fleet of Santa Luzia
Further along the coast is the village of Pedras D'el Rei and the miniature train that connects to the Barril beach and a former tuna fishing community. The disused houses have been converted into a beach complex of cafes restaurants and shops while the rusting anchors of the ex-fishing fleet have been placed in the sand dunes and are known as the anchor cemetery. Both villages are on a purpose-built cycle path and bikes can be rented from Tavira.
Cabanas is a sleepy beach resorted to the east of Tavira. The resort is similar to Tavira that the beach is located on a large sand bar island and is served by a regular ferry. The main draw of Cabanas is the ambience, which is even more relaxed and calm than Tavira (if this can be possible!). Cabanas is on the Algarve cycle path, the same route that connects to Pedras D'el Rei but in an easterly direction. The cycle path is safe for all levels of cyclist and is suitable for walkers.
The anchor cemetery on Barril beach
Vila Real is the most easterly town of the Algarve region and this town was purpose-built in the 18th-century as a fishing and canning industrial centre. The town was one of the first towns to follow a grid plan layout with straight avenues and wide plazas. Today there is no sign of the once canning industry and this incredibly scenic town boasts grandeur beyond its size.
The Vila Real ferry to Spain can be visited in 5 days to Tavira
Vila Real position overlooks the wide Guadiana River and a popular trip is to catch the ferry across the border into Spain. For those visitors more interested in soaking up the sun should head to the characterless beach resort of Monte Gordo which offers the largest beach of the region and warmest waters. Vila Real and Monte Gordo are connected to Tavira by either train or bus and are ideal day trips.
The massive beach at Monte Gordo
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