Discover Portugal by Region: Eastern Algarve

Further information about Eastern Algarve

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The eastern Algarve is very much a more under developed area and boasts some fantastic unspoilt long sandy stretches of beach with beautiful small islands that can be reached by boat or small ferries to picturesque tranquil beauty.

The reason it is more under developed is probably because the towns along the coast are not generally right on the sea. They are separated from the Atlantic by salt-pans, marshland and lagoons. These form part of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve which stretches from just south of Faro along the coast to the town of Vila Nova de Cacela, a few kilometres west of the Rio Guadiana river on the Spanish border. Because of this, little development of hotels has been possible, and should therefore keep the area quieter than other areas in the Algarve. Further inland, the area is completely undeveloped. Small rustic villages nestle in the remote countryside. You’ll find the local inhabitants going about their daily business, the same today as they did many generations before.

A few popular places to visit:
Faro, capital of the Algarve and home to the International airport, often getting forgot about on arrival to leaving for your holiday destination. It is located next to the Ria Formosa lagoon, that you will see passing over on flight arrival which is a nature reserve of over 170 square kilometers and a stopping place for hundreds of different species of birds during the spring and autumn migratory periods.

There is a wonderful small boating marina, Cobbled streets with an array of coffee shops, a real abundance of movement and life, some great shopping streets and a large shopping centre close by. There are some wonderful cobbled streets offering some real typical portuguese restaurants and a large church, Well worth a visit.

The Historical town of Tavira, built on both sides of the River with many wonderful café bars, and restaurants running alongside, the hustle and bustle of the fishing boats close by. Picturesque narrow, hilly cobbled streets, home to some lovely blue and white tiled houses and approx 13 historical churches. There is also a wonderful daily fruit, vegetable and fish market. There are also the ruins of a castle and a 13th Century Moorish fortress and beautiful garden areas.

Quatro Aguas, a beauty spot at the south east end of Tavira. Where there are lots of good seafood restaurants, but that is true of Tavira in general. For a couple of Euros, you can take a trip to the Eastern Algarve’s Ihla da Tavira. The 'Ihla' is a long sandy island, with great beaches. It is very popular in the summer.  The further west you go, the wilder it gets, but also less populated with sun worshippers. There is also a campsite and plentiful restaurants a real atmosphere in the summer.

Not so far south of the pretty village of Santa Luzia next to Tavira, is Praia de Barril once a small Tuna fishing village offering now a small variety of souvenir shops and restaurants where still you will see a large number of anchors half-buried in the sand. This is known as the ‘Cemetery of Anchors’ and was apparently from the Tuna fishing boats which used to land here. Here offers a wonderful white sandy beach which is a short walk to reach and a great way to enjoy the Ria Formosa Natural Park marshlands and the wildlife, or a fun way with the children on a small typical train.

Altura a friendly purpose-built resort located in-between Tavira and Monte Gordo, in the eastern Algarve around 40 minutes or so from Faro airport. Peace and relaxation. Altura tends to attract the more mature traveller who is after some peace and quiet, combined with great weather or young families who are after a safe and friendly place for the kids with fantastic beaches to spend their days.

The beach at Altura is long and wide, with fantastic golden sand. It is a great place for kids, as the water tends to be a little warmer at this end of the Algarve. This is where Altura excels, with some excellent quality restaurants, particularly if you like seafood. A short drive from Altura, on Praia Verde beach, is an excellent beach-side restaurant called Pezinhos N'areia, renowned for its seafood. It’s a must place to go to eat and watch the sunset.