Beaches in the Algarve

Tavira coastline is calm and peaceful, with fine white sand beaches and very warm water. The beaches are crossed by Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, offering pleasant boat trips and the chance to observe the typical wetland flora and fauna, most particularly the water birds.

The islands of Tavira and Cabanas, offer fine white sand beaches and where the average temperature of the sea water is around 22ºC. Unlike Western Algarve beaches, the Eastern Algarve has a less rocky seashore which gives room to long white sandy beaches, bathed by the Mediterranean warm waters.

The 11 kilometers of the island of Tavira are made up of; Terra Estreita Beach; Barril Beach and Praia do Homem Nú. Further, the island of Cabanas has a length of 7 kilometres, and its beach is in the central zone of the island. Some of the beaches have designated nudist areas.

Throughout the coastal zone of the country, there are several natural areas of salt marshes and dunes full of biodiversity. An ideal holiday destination for nature lovers.. It is estimated that counting both the resident and migratory species that can be seen here, Ria Formosa hosts more than 30 thousand birds each year.

Tavira Island

Tavira Island (Portuguese: Ilha de Tavira) is found South of the city and can only be reached by boat, which departs from the city center and from Quatro-Aguas. The Island is 11Km long and varies between 1Km and 150m width. It is one of the best beaches in the Algarve Region, and it includes areas where naturism can be practised without problems. The Island belongs to the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve, which is popular it is birds and flamingos, a delight for bird lovers. The access to Tavira Island is provided by boats from Quatro Águas peer in Tavira or by a large ferry from the riverside in Tavira main centre.  The parking areas are large and organised. The beach has basic support facilities, like restaurants and toilets, and is supervised during the bathing season. This beach often holds the blue flag, proof of its environmental quality and superiority. The Island includes a Camping Park and restaurants, which makes the place one of the most popular tourism destinies for Camping lovers. There are a small number of houses, usually only occupied by owners, although these houses were built circa 1943, new houses can’t be built, and the existing ones can’t be sold.

Praia da Terra Estreita

Praia da Terra Estreita (the Narrow Land Beach). This beach is also known as Praia de Santa Luzia, as it is from this picturesque fishing village from where the boats set off to cross to the island. The boat ride over the Ria Formosa shows you the pots used for capturing octopus and the many local fishing boats, as well as the typical marshland flora and fauna. The beach here is a large one and is more deserted than at the neighbouring beaches of Barril Beach or Tavira Island, providing complete peace and quiet and isolation. On this beach, you can admire the eye-catching flowers of the sea daffodils and enjoy a swim in the warm seawater, and in the summer, it is common to see great profusions of green seaweed next to the island, giving you the strange sensation that you are swimming in a warm soup. Back in Santa Luzia, the beautiful avenue along the waterfront is filled with restaurants and bars where you can enjoy some of the best shellfish picked in the Ria, as well as some typical dishes such as the tuna salad known as “estopeta de atum”.

Barril beach

Barril beach is one of the calmest beaches in the Algarve’s South coast, even escaping from the high season floods that unfortunately are common to other beaches of the region. Its waters are calm and warm during Spring and Summer; in the less sunny Winter days, it’s a great place for a beach walk, some jogging or even bird watching. This beach regularly holds the blue flag, proving its superiority and environmental quality. The access to the beach is made through a small floating bridge that crosses Ria Formosa, followed by a footpath that crosses the Island to the seaside. During the high season, the Island crossing is also done by a mini train that once was used by the fishermen to transport goods between the village and the main road. The journey is just over 1 kilometre, and a return ticket bought directly at “the station”, costs around 2 Euro (free for children under 5).

Praia do Homem Nú

Known locally as Praia do Homem Nú “Naked Man Beach”, this sea beach is known for the practice of nudism and naturism. It occupies the western end of the Island of Tavira, between the official naturist area Barril beach and Fuzeta boat canal, more than 4 kilometres. Already in the mid-eighties this beach had high demand from naturist and nudist lovers, mainly British, German and Dutch. In the nineties, regular attendance was consolidated, and the beach began to appear also in national and international LGBT guides. However, during the last decade, the beach gradually lost its popularity to Cacela Velha Beach and even the Spanish neighbour Nueva Umbria in Lepe. One of the determining factors for this change of habits is the difficult access to the beach, which is made from Barril Beach, walking towards the west end of the island.

Praia Cabanas

Praia Cabanas is a Blue Flag beach. To the East side of Tavira Island, you will find the Island and Cabanas beaches, a narrow but long strip of land before the last bar across the river estuary to the East. The beach of Cabanas is situated in front of the village and boardwalk, whose origin goes back to the old days of tuna fishing in this area, and which even today remains a picturesque fishing village. From the waterfront at Cabanas, fishing boats can be seen anchored in the Ria Formosa. A speedboat will take you to the walkway in a few minutes. A walk over to the main island with a café, toilets, and sunbeds.

Find out more about the Algarve

Central Algarve

East Algarve