Location on the map of Algarve & South (Portugal)

Tavira and Santa Luzia Portugal Tour: Praia Do Barril

Near Portugal´s coast, in the eastern Algarve, Tavira is one of the most beautiful cities in the region. Placed on both sides of the River Gilão, this town has historical legacy, a past that is shaped by the Romans and later on by the Moors, and all this is still visible today.

Praia do Barril on the Ilha de Tavira

Photo: Praia do Barril on the Ilha de Tavira. Vitor Oliveira. Adapted under license (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Tavira was an important port city until the 17th century and nowadays is home to many historic churches, among which Santa Maria do Castelo dates back to the 13th century.

A long walk is one of the best ways to appreciate Tavira. The palm-lined gardens here are full of color in the summer months, and a close market edges with fresh fruit and vegetables.

The white 18th-century mansions along with the townhouses that are lining the river banks give Tavira some elegance and make it a perfect place for a walk or an open-air dining.

Tavira Castle is fortified with walls that are dating back to the Almoravid dynasty since the 1000s. Besides, inside the city you will can find a classic Renaissance-style church named Igreja da Misericordia.

The city’s most famous beaches are located on the Ilha da Tavira. The good thing is that daily ferry rides provide an easy access to the island and its sandy beaches.

Ilha de Tavira is a favorite destination for sun seekers that get to Algarve and one of the few islands in the area where camping is permitted. Besides, you can join an incredible sightseeing cruise along the Ria Formosa which is a beautiful and unspoiled waterway part of a natural park which is protected.

Tavira is an old Moorish town that maintains its heritage

The Weather in Tavira Portugal

In the southern part of Portugal, the summers are warm and mostly clear and the winters are cold, windy, and partly cloudy. That is why the best time of year if you want to visit Tavira for hot-weather activities is from late June until early September.

The hottest months are August, July, and then September. Moreover, Tavira is blessed with beautiful scenery and a fantastic weather, experiencing about 3,000 hours of sunlight per year, which is one of the highest amounts in Europe.


There are a lot of great things to do in Tavira and this makes it a perfect place to stay for a few days. Here you can combine town life, some stunning beaches, and also mesmerizing nature and wildlife.

Tavira old town in Algarve

Photo: Tavira Old Town in Algarve.

Among the top things to do here there are:

  • Stroll along Tavira old town and in the fishermen’s district

  • Walk along the river

  • Cross the Roman bridge

  • Visit Tavira´s Castle and its gardens

  • Visit the Ria Formosa Natural Park and see wild flamingos

  • Take the boat and get to Tavira Island

  • Enjoy the landscape of the city from Torre de Tavira

  • Stop by Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo

  • Taste an ice cream at Praça da Republica

  • Chill in Jardim do Corteo

  • Visit Santa Luzia, the fisherman’s village

  • Wonder at Pego do Inferno waterfall

Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo. Tavira

Photo: Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo. Tavira.


Tavira coastline is very calm and peaceful and it has 11 km of white sand beaches and very warm water. Also, the beaches are crossed by the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve and this gives you the opportunity to enjoy some boat trips and to observe the flora and fauna, most particularly the water birds as they are very numerous.

There are several natural areas of salt marshes and numerous dunes full of biodiversity. Truly an ideal holiday destination for nature lovers.

According to Travel in Portugal, these are the best 7 beaches near Tavira:

  • Praia do Barril

  • Praia de Cacela Velha

  • Praia da Manta Rota

  • Praia Verde

  • Praia de Monte Gordo

  • Praia da Armona

  • Praia de Santo António

Praia de Cacela Velha. Tavira

Photo: Praia de Cacela Velha. Tavira.

Gilao River and Bridges. Tavira

Photo: Gilao River and Bridges. Tavira.

Fishing Villages in Portugal

If you are looking for a Portugal fishing village, where time flows slowly, around this region you will find a world of history, heritage, and a lot of tradition. Portugal hides small treasures that many times seem untouched throughout its coastal areas.

As Move to Algarve confirms, the top 5 fishing villages in Portugal are:

Fishing Villages in Portugal

Photo: Fishing Villages in Portugal.

By getting here you will fall in love with the charm of its people and, of course, feed your body and soul with some delicious freshly caught fish or other seafood delicacies.

Carvoeiro Beach

Photo: Carvoeiro Beach.

Santa Luzia Portugal

Santa Luzia (Saint Lucy) village was named after the Sicilian martyr born in Syracuse, Italy. The area was named this way after she found on the sea a Holy relic of a local fisherman. That relic had been lost during a previous storm. Today her relics can be found in Lisbon.

The fishing village of Santa Luzia is a district from Tavira and a great place to wander if you want to feel the typical Algarve life. This enchanting village is famous for its ´polvo´ (octopus), which you can taste in several restaurants.

Praia Do Barril

The beach of Praia do Barril is on the Ilha de Tavira. It is a huge stretch of white sand and one of the quietest beaches from the Southern Algarve coast. Besides, it is a little wilder than other beaches along this coast, so you may feel the wind if it’s blowing.

One reason why the beach doesn’t get too busy is because you need to walk a bit from Tavira to get to it. Placed just across the Ria Formosa and close to the village of Santa Luzia, Praia do Barrill is about 4-5km from Tavira. The access to it is easy and there is also a pedestrian bridge across to the island.

The elegant buildings from Praia do Barril will impress you

The landscape on this beach is formed by the Serra do Caldeirão in the North part and the Cerro de São Miguel in to the Northwest. Moreover, the channels and the salt flats of the Ria Formosa, as well as the dune formations from the island of Tavira and the Atlantic Ocean make Praia do Barril a quite impressive destination.


If the South part of Portugal is on your bucket list for the next trip, you can head Algarve region and visit Faro, Sagres, the fishing village of Santa Luzia, Tavira or maybe even an island. And if this was not in your plans, consider it as you can find some of the charms and secrets that the Portugal’s history has and that time has not yet managed to erase.

Are you planning a trip to Portugal? At Carameltrail we design the dream holidays

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