The best independent guide to Tavira
The best independent guide to Tavira
The Praia de Tavira is a gorgeous sandy beach and is the closest beach to the charming town of Tavira.
Being easily accessible from Tavira, it is also the most popular beach in the region and is where the majority of tourists head too. Fortunately, the beach is stunning, with soft golden sands, calm turquoise sea waters and a beautiful natural setting, protect from major tourist development by the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.
The Praia de Tavira beach is situated on the seaward side of the Ilha de Tavira, and in the summer, a ferry connects central Tavira to the island. At the beach are all of the expected amenities of a modern tourist beach, with cafes, a beach shop, toilets and lifeguard supervision.
This article will provide a guide to the wonderful Praia de Tavira, and includes details of the ferry and tourist advice.
Related articles: Tavira beach guide – Tavira introduction
The Praia de Tavira lies at the northeastern tip of the Ilha de Tavira, a pristine sand bar island, with sandy shoreline extending for over 10km.
The Praia de Tavira is 3km from Tavira, and there are two ferry routes connecting the mainland to the island. The first is a summertime service that departs from Tavira town centre, and the second is a year-round service departing from the Cais das Quatro Águas pier.
Both ferry routes cross the waterways of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, and moor on the northern side of the Ilha de Tavira. From here it is a 350m walk across the island to the beach, and the route passes the Ilha de Tavira campsite and a handful of beach cafes and snack bars.
The beach itself is sandy, with no pebbles or rocks, and the sea waters are very clean. The Algarve sea waters are always chilly, only reaching 22ºC at the peak of the summer, as they are fed by the cool Atlantic Ocean.
Beach parasols and sun loungers can be hired for €12 per day, but if you choose to bring your own towels to sit on, there is ample public beach. In the summer there are numerous sea activities, including banana and doughnuts boat rides, an inflatable water park, along with kayaks or paddleboards. The Praia de Tavira is a lively and fun beach, but it is never tacky.
The Cais das Quatro Águas (7 Water Quay) is much closer to the Ilha de Tavira, and the ferry takes less than 10 minutes to cross to the island. The Cais das Quatro Águas complex is located 2km south of Tavira (GPS 37.11651, -7.62928) and is very convenient if you are driving, as there is a large car park. The ferry fares are the same at €2.00/€0.90 (adult/child).
In the summer there are departures every 30 minutes along both routes. In the low season, the only the Cais das Quatro Águas route operates, and winter services are sporadic, so always check ferry times before making plans. The latest timetable can be seen on the Silnido (ferry company) website:
https://www.silnido.com/tavira (link opens a new tab)
Advice: In the summer, there can be long queues for the return ferry, as everyone returns to Tavira at almost the same time.
Water taxis provide a faster means of travel to the Ilha de Tavira, but they are also more expensive. A single fare from Tavira to Ilha de Tavira is €18, Quatro Águas to Ilha de Tavira €8 and Tavira to Quatro Águas €15. All fares cost 25% more at night, and the water taxi can carry up to six passengers.
Water taxis can be chartered from Tavira harbour or Quatro Águas, or they can also be booked through local tour companies: http://www.sequatours.com/watertaxiservice.html (link opens a new tab)
There is a decent selection of restaurants and cafes on the Ilha de Tavira, all of which serve Portuguese focused food or seafood. The restaurants charge a premium for their location but get mixed reviews, as peak season lunchtimes can be chaotic. Our favourite includes the Restaurante Pavilhão da Ilha and Sal, and other restaurants are Zé Maria, Ilha Formosa and O Ferreira.
Drinks can be purchased from the two beach bars; Sunshine Bar and Xiri Beach Bar. There is a small supermarket on the island, which serves the campsite along with an ATM.
The Ilha de Tavira shoreline extends south-westwards to two further beaches, and this provides for an enjoyable beach walk.
The first beach, the Praia da Terra Estreita, is approximately a 20-minute walk southwest from Tavira beach. Terra Estreita beach is very similar to the Praia de Tavira except it is much quieter. To the rear of the beach is a ferry service to the village of Santa Luzia.
The second beach, Praia do Barril, was the location of a tuna fishing community that was abandoned in 1964. Today the fishing huts have been converted into cafes, shops and beach facilities.
The anchors that were used to secure the tuna nets have been placed in the sand dunes behind the beach, as a rusting memorial to the former fishing community, known as the Anchor Cemetery. The Praia do Barril is a 40-minute walk from the Praia de Tavira.
Related articles: Praia do Barril - Santa Luzia
There is a popular campsite just behind the beach set within pine trees. The Parque de Campismo da Ilha de Tavira is open from May through to September, and has permanent tents along with decent facilities.
The site is managed by Tavira town council, and further details along with reservation can be made on their website:http://www.cm-tavira.pt/site/content/parque-campismo/parque-de-campismo
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