Today’s blog brings to you the best day trips from Tavira in the Algarve. Tavira is a small city on the Eastern side of Portugal’s Algarve coast. Its location is relatively central within the eastern side of the Algarve and has amazing (and cheap) public transport links, making it a fantastic base from which to explore other areas nearby in Portugal and perhaps even just across the border in Spain!
Here are some of our top day trips from Tavira, that we have tried and tested:
The Best Day Trips from Tavira
Faro is one of the best day trips from Tavira. This historical city is the capital of the Southern Algarve area and the biggest and second most populated in the Algarve. There is a direct train from Tavira to Faro every two hours, which gets you there in approx 37 minutes and will only cost approx 2 euros. There are also several bus companies which travel from Tavira, it would cost you roughly the same as the train but would take over an hour to get there!
Faro has a beautiful little harbour, well worth a visit and from which you can take a boat trip across to Ilha Deserta (Deserted Island). The waters aren’t the sea but are instead a lagoon (more about this later when we look at the Ria Formosa Park). There are many shops in Faro to enjoy and many of the streets around the shops in the main shopping square have been pedestrianised. If taking in the history and architecture is more your thing then Faro has a spectacular gothic style cathedral – you can climb the tower and have incredible views over the old town! There is also the old walled quarter where most people used to stay! There are some incredible restaurants in Faro, especially seafood restaurants if that’s something you’re interested in!
Vila Real de Santo Antonio
A traditional little fishing town on the banks of Rio Guadiana, overlooking the Spanish border. It is a perfect choice if you’re looking for somewhere more peaceful and laid back to spend some time in. It looks very similar to Lisbon as it followed similar designs to those used when Lisbon was being redesigned after the earthquake of 1755. Being a fishing town there is a marina and fishing harbour to explore. There is also one of the quietest beaches in the Algarve region – Praia da Ponta da Areia, if you’re looking for a spot of relaxed sunbathing.
Trains travel directly from Tavira to Vila Real de Santo Antonio every two hours, taking just under 30 minutes and they only cost a couple of euros!
Ayamonte is located just on the other side of the border, in the Andalusia area of Spain, near the Guadiana River. This town is full of quaint little narrow streets and historic buildings to explore. There are salt marshes, where you can have the opportunity to see some different wildlife, including flamingos! There are two beautiful churches to explore, Iglesia de San Francisco with an incredible ceiling and the Iglesia de San Salvador where you can climb the tower and have incredible views out over the town and across the river to Portugal.
Ayamonte is a short ferry ride from Vila Real de Santo Antonio. The ferries leave every 30 minutes, taking you only a short 10 minutes to cross the river and only costing you €1.85. The last ferry across to Ayamonte leaves at 9 pm. Since 1991, a new bridge across the river has meant that taking a bus is now also an option.
This is a traditional little fishing village – especially well known for its octopus! If you want to try some amazingly cooked octopus, then one of the many restaurants along the harbour here would be a great choice. There are tidal lagoons which are perfect spots to see a variety of wildlife from birds to fish. A short ferry ride from Santa Luzia takes you to two beautifully quiet beaches, Praia da Terra Estreita and Praia do Barril. Praia do Barril is also the location for an anchor cemetery!
Travelling to Santa Luzia from Tavira is easy! Being only 2.5 miles away from each other, you could even walk if you were so inclined. The line 105 bus is a great option, it travels frequently throughout the day, only takes 10 minutes and costs approx 3 euros!
This is definitely the most modern option on this list and as such doesn’t necessarily have the same Portuguese charm as some of the other options on this list. It is a lively beach town and as it is popular with Portuguese tourists, it’s a brilliantly cheap town to visit in terms of enjoying a nice meal or having a few drinks.
It is surrounded by a pine forest which creates many fantastic spaces for peaceful walks and possibly the opportunity to spot some unusual wildlife.
Trains travel from Tavira to Monte Gordo every two hours, taking only 22 minutes and only costing a couple of euros! There are also several bus companies that service this route, taking approximately 30 minutes and costing anything from 2 to 8 euros, depending on the company.
Located on the Spanish border and sandwiched between two hills, this little town has a lot of history! On the Northern hill, there is a 14th-century castle that provided the religious stronghold for the town. It costs only €1 to enter the castle! On the other hill is a 17th-century fort that was originally built to protect the town from Spain during war. There is a lot to learn about the history of this small town and the view over the little town from the church, is not to be missed!
Getting here from Tavira takes a bit longer than other locations on this list. By bus, you have to take a bus to Vila Real de Santo Antonio first, then one from there to Castro Marim. It takes approx 1 hour, 30 minutes, all in and costs anything from 5 to 12 euros. There are also no direct train links, you would again have to travel to Vila Real de Santo Antonio first, before then continuing your journey by bus to Castro Marim.
If you really wanted a quicker way to get there and were happy to pay more, then a taxi would be your best option. This would take you approx 21 minutes and cost between 23 to 28 euros.
Parque Natural da Ria Formosa
This is essentially a collection of saltwater lagoons, mudflats, islands, and canals but it plays a vital role in protecting the ecosystem from Portugal’s tourism. It means that traditional fishing communities throughout the Algarve can be preserved and allows for sustainable fishing techniques only! There are many opportunities for visitors here, from pedestrian walking trails to boat trips in boats that were once traditionally used for tuna fishing.
By train, it’s a 52-minute journey all in. You have to get a train to Olhao and then it’s a 22-minute walk to the park. By bus, you again stop at Olhao and must walk to the park. The train is the cheapest option at only a couple of euros. If you want an option that takes you right to the National Park, then a taxi from Tavira will cost you between 19 to 23 euros.
One of my favourite day trips from Tavira is Loule, a beautiful little market town with a lively, colourful atmosphere. The Arabian market is a major attraction for tourists, however, there are also lots of shopping streets and a historic church and castle that are well worth visiting.
Saturdays are busy here with a farmers market and a gypsy market, but it would provide plenty for visitors to see and browse. If you want to go when it’s a bit quieter, then mid-week is better.
The journey from Tavira to Loule is one that does take just over two hours, but it is worth it! Whether travelling by bus or train, you have to first travel to Faro, before then grabbing another bus to continue onto Loule. Both cost approx 3 euros. A taxi would take only 30 minutes but it would set you back 35 to 45 euros.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it is a fantastic starting spot for exploring some beautiful locations in and around the Algarve and may help you consider some options that you might not have thought of previously!
I hope that you enjoyed our blog on Day Trips from Tavira. If you have been on any of these trips and would like to comment, then leave your thoughts below!