Unlike other towns in Algarve, like Albufeira and Lagos, Tavira doesn’t have beaches in the center, but there are islands that are reached in just minutes. These two islands are part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, and are uninhabited. They have white sand beaches that stretch for several kilometers, and are some of the best in Portugal. Due to their size, they’re never crowded, and offer peace and quiet in a pristine scenery.
The average water temperature here (about 22C or 72F in the summer) is a couple of degrees higher than in western Algarve, making them better for swimming. The sea tends to be calm, with few waves, so they’re not known for surfing and water sports like others in the region. These are not beaches with bars and sunset parties either -- only a couple have restaurants.
The official bathing season is from June to September, but you’ll see people sunbathing here as early as April and as late as late October.
There are four access points to these beaches -- a pier in the center of Tavira, another in the village of Cabanas de Tavira to the east, yet another in the village of Santa Luzia to the west, and a footpath with a tourist train in the village of Pedras d'el Rei.
- Praia da Ilha de Tavira
- Praia do Barril
- Praia da Terra Estreita
- Praia do Homem Nu
- Praia de Cabanas de Tavira
It’s Tavira’s most popular beach because it’s the easiest to reach from the center of town (by a regular ferry) but also because it’s widely considered one of the best in Algarve. It’s named after the island where it’s located (on the eastern end) and is quite large, with white sand as far as the eye can see. Behind it is a pine forest with a number of restaurants with outdoor seating, which are the only structures on the uninhabited island. When you arrive you see wicker parasols, loungers, and soccer and volleyball nets, but keep walking west (to the right when facing the sea) and it’s nearly deserted except for a few nude sunbathers.
See the Ilha de Tavira Guide.
A curious display of over 100 anchors welcomes you to this beach. These anchors were used by fishermen, who lived in the buildings facing them and which are now restaurants. They secured the nets that caught tuna on these shores, and stand as reminders of the fishing heritage of the region. When the fishing industry declined in the second half of the 20th century, the beach turned to tourism. You find sunshades for rent when you arrive in the summer, but to the west it’s mostly deserted and quite a peaceful beach. To get there, you walk down a path over the lagoons of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, or hop on a charming tourist train.
See the Praia do Barril Guide.
It’s located between the popular beaches of Ilha de Tavira and Barril, but hasn’t yet been discovered by tourists. It’s a very quiet beach, but with a bar and parasols and loungers, as well as water sports equipment for rent in the summer. It can be reached by ferry from the fishing village of Santa Luzia to the west of Tavira, or by walking from the neighboring beaches. A boardwalk protects the dunes with Mediterranean vegetation.
See the Praia da Terra Estreita Guide.
It was one of Algarve’s first unofficial nude beaches, and became officially so in 2004. It’s found on the western end of Ilha de Tavira, and getting there involves a walk of 15 to 20 minutes from Praia do Barril. For this reason, it’s almost always deserted, except for a few Northern European tourists. Continue walking west and you reach a small lagoon surrounded by sand.
See the Praia do Homem Nu Guide.
This beach on an island to the east of Tavira is accessed by boats from the fishing village of Cabanas de Tavira. It’s quite a long beach, stretching for 7 kilometers (over 4 miles), so offers plenty of space for peace and quiet. It’s almost deserted, with just one restaurant and wicker parasols for rent. On your way there, you can see a variety of wildlife on the shallow lagoon, which is overlooked by a 17th-century fort.
See the Praia de Cabanas de Tavira Guide.
Beach Closest to Tavira: Praia da Ilha de Tavira
Most Beautiful Beach in Tavira: Praia do Barril
Romantic Beaches in Tavira: Praia do Barril, Praia do Homem Nu
Nude Beaches in Tavira: Praia da Ilha de Tavira (western side), Praia do Homem Nu
Family-Friendly Beaches in Tavira: Praia da Ilha de Tavira, Praia do Barril
Gay-Friendly Beach in Tavira: Praia do Homem Nu
Best Beach for Water Sports in Tavira: Praia da Terra Estreita
Quietest Beaches: Praia da Terra Estreita, Praia do Homem Nu
Other Beaches Close to Tavira
There’s another island to the west of Ilha de Tavira with a wonderful beach (Ilha da Fuseta), while to the east is the peninsula of Cacelha Velha, which is overlooked by a tiny but very picturesque village with the same name.
To locate these beaches, see the Tavira beaches map.