The beach of Praia do Barril is located on the Ilha de Tavira, just west of the town. This huge stretch of white sand is one of the quietest beaches on the southern Algarve coast, but this in no way reflects on the beach itself. It is a little wilder than some of the beaches along this coast and the lack of cliffs or any high dunes mean you'll feel the wind if it's blowing. One reason the beach doesn't get too busy is it is a bit of a walk from Tavira itself. Located just across the Ria Formosa from the village of Santa Luzia, Praia do Barrill is around 4-5km from the town. Access is easy and there is a pedestrian pontoon bridge across to the island. However, if you don't fancy the walk, a seasonal miniature train runs from the Pedras d’El Rei resort. But whilst this may save your feet, it probably won't save you much time as it doesn't go very fast! As a Blue Flag award beach, Barril has plenty of facilities, clean water and is lifeguard patrolled in the summer months. At the far western end of the beach is an officially designated nudist zone, one of the few in Portugal.
The Anchor Graveyard
The Cemitério das Âncoras (Anchor Graveyard) can be found amongst the dunes at Praia do Barril. It consists of hundreds of rusting anchors arranged in neat rows. The anchors are a kind of memorial to the tuna fishing industry that used to thrive along this coast. Over the years bluefin tuna stocks declined, and the industry that was relied on them followed suit. Whilst you may think these anchors were used to secure boats they weren't. They were actually used to hold the enormous tuna nets in place. Now-a-days they provide a slightly melancholy reminder of what drove the Algarve economy before tourism came along.