The best independent guide to Tavira
The best independent guide to Tavira
Tavira has a beautiful coastline of golden sand beaches, calm turquoise sea waters, and pristine natural scenery.
The most popular beach is the Praia de Tavira, while further along the shoreline is the tranquil Praia da Terra Estreita or the Praia do Barril with the anchor cemetery. To the east of Tavira is the delightful resort town of Cabanas and the vast sandy bay that extends between Altura and Monte Gordo.
While on holiday to Tavira, the majority of visitors head to the beaches on the Ilha de Tavira, where the Praia de Tavira, Praia da Terra Estreita and Praia do Barril are found. The Ilha de Tavira is separated from the mainland by the lagoons and waterways of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, and a ferry ride is needed to travel to the island.
Below is an interactive map of the beaches close to Tavira and in the Eastern Algarve. The 5 best beaches near Tavira are marked in green, the 10 best beaches of the Eastern Algarve are shown in yellow and main resort towns in blue.
Tavira’s best beaches (green): 1) Praia do Barril 2) Praia de Tavira 3) Praia da Terra Estreita 4) Praia de Cabanas 5) Praia dos Tesos
Beach towns and villages (blue): 1) Tavira 2) Monte Gordo 3) Cabanas 4) Santa Luzia 5) Altura 6) Cacela Velha 7) Fuzeta
Top 10 beaches in the East Algarve (yellow): 1) Praia de Monte Gordo 2) Praia de Santo António 3) Praia do Barril 4) Praia da Deserta 5) Praia de Tavira 6) Praia de Cabanas 7) Praia de Cacela Velha 8) Praia da Manta Rota 9) Praia da Culatra 10) Praia da Fuzeta
Note: The weather is suitable for spending time on the beach from May until the end of September
The Ilha de Tavira has a 10km long sandy shoreline that extends from Tavira in the north-east to Fuseta in the south-west. The beaches on the Ilha de Tavira are idyllic, with soft golden sands, calm seawaters and are protected from any ugly tourist development by the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa.
There are three access points onto the Ilha de Tavira from the mainland (two ferry routes and one footbridge), and this gives rise to the three beaches on the island.
The beaches on the Ilha de Tavira are ideal for families and children. The sea waters are calm and safe, and during the summer the beaches are supervised by lifeguards.
The Praia de Tavira is the best beach for families as it offers the most facilities, such as toilets, cafes and beach shops. In the summer, there is a wide selection of water sports and beach activities, and the Praia de Tavira is a lively and enjoyable beach.
There are a handful of small beaches that within the waterways of Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, such as the Praia dos Tesos. These beaches are fine for sunbathing but tend to have mud below the water level, so they are not great for swimming or bathing.
The Praia de Tavira is the closest beach to Tavira, being at the north-eastern edge of the Ilha de Tavira and is served by a regular ferry service from the town. As the Praia de Tavira is the nearest beach to Tavira, it also tends to be the most popular.
The Praia de Tavira is a wonderful beach, and the majority of visitors will be happy to spend most of their holiday visiting this one beach. Behind the beach, there is a summertime community which, includes a campsite, cafes and shops. All of the facilities are low-key, but it does provide options for lunch, drinks and snacks.
The beach can get very busy during the summer and most beachgoers concentrate at the northern edge, close to the parasols and sunshades (€15 per day). There are quieter sections of the beach to the southwest, but be warned as the nudist beach (the Praia do Homem Nú) is around 1km away.
Related articles: The Praia de Tavira Beach.
There are two ferry services that connect the mainland to the pier on the Ilha de Tavira (GPS: 37.115513, -7.621199). The first service departs from the western side of the harbour in central Tavira (GPS 37.12496, -7.64541) and operates during the peak season (May-Sep) and costs €1.30/€2.00/€0.90 (single/return/child return).
The Praia do Barril is our favourite beach of the Tavira region. Along with golden sands and clear waters, the beach provides an insight into the fishing heritage of the region and is the setting for the Cemitério das Âncoras, a truly unique sight of the Algarve.
Barril was a small fishing community that specialised in Bluefin Tuna fishing, but was abandoned in the 1960s when fish stocks were depleted. Today, the small dwellings used by the fishermen have been converted into a selection of cafes, shops and beach huts. The hundreds of anchors used for the complex tuna fishing nets have been aligned in the sand dunes as a rusting memorial to this former livelihood.
The Praia do Barril beach is located close to the village of Pedras de El-Rei and is the furthest of the three beaches from Tavira. At this point, the Ria Formosa waterways are at their narrowest and there is a pontoon bridge connecting the mainland to the Ilha de Tavira.
After the bridge, there is a mini-train which transports visitors the 1km to the beach; this mini train was originally used to transport supplies and freshly caught fish from Barril to the mainland.
Related articles: Praia do Barril guide
The Praia da Terra Estreita Beach is 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 and the Praia do Barril. The beach lies in front of the small fishing town of Santa Luiza and there is a direct ferry from the town.
The Praia do Homem Nú was the Algarve’s original nudist beach but is not very popular as it is so difficult to travel to. The only method is to travel to the Praia de Tavira or the Praia da Terra Estreita and then walk the 1km along the beach.
The sea waters of the Tavira coastline are crystal clear but are surprisingly chilly, even at the height of the summer. During the peak season (June-August) the sea temperature is 21-22C, but this drops to 16-17C in the winter (December – February).
The Tavira coastline has less powerful waves than the western Algarve and is not really suitable for surfing.
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