Although you may want to spend your entire holidays just relaxing in and around the house and at the beach, there are many unique experiences that visitors can enjoy in and around Tavira and the Ria Formosa.
- Tavira Equestrian Tourism (Conceição de Tavira): Located in the orange groves between Cabanas and Cacela-a-Velha, this horse farm is perfect for beginners, children and riders with little experience. The guided tours take you directly to the tidal flats of the Ria Formosa lagoon. Even absolute beginners who had never climbed on a horse in their life (like one of us) will be encouraged to just do it. The horses are as calm as the riding instructors are attentive so that even absolute beginners feel like experienced riders after a few minutes. Try to book your tour during low tide when you can ride much further into the lagoon. During the winter months the guides may even take you across the tidal flats to the empty beach of Cabanas (see photo above). Phone: (+34) 661 907 851).
Bike rental and tours
- Abílio Bikes (Tavira): Modern bike rental with a large selection of well-maintained bicycles including city bikes, mountain bikes, e-bikes and even modern road carbon bicycles. You can configure the size and additional options of the bikes in advance on their well-functioning website. Abílio also offers bicycle tours and experiences and you can download tour maps on their website. Phone: (+351) 281 323 467.
- Mar Ilimitado (Sagres): There are many boat tour operators, but Mar Ilimitado is our favorite. Run by marine biologists who for years have been studying the Algarve’s unique marine fauna, you will not only get to see a variety of species, including dolphins, whales and even orcas, but also receive highly competent information and can be sure that the tour guides respect the animals and their natural habitat. Check out their Facebook page to see what species you can expect to see at what time of the year. Phone: (+351) 916 832 625.
- Spa Salino (Castro Marim): Relax and revive your energies in the middle of the marshlands of Castro Marim. In this truly unique surrounding you can float weightlessly in the waters of the salt pans, try a salt clay wrapping or just get a relaxing massage right next to flocks of pink and white flamingos. Phone: (+351) 965 404 888.
- Limite Zero Zip Line (Sanlúcar de Guadiana, Spain): Fly from Spain to Portugal across the river Guadiana on a 720 meter long zip line. It’s the first cross-border zip line in the world and it brings you from the Spanish village of Sanlúcar de Guadiana (about an hour’s drive from Casas da Serra Tavira) to the Portuguese town of Alcoutim. At speeds between 70 and 80 kilometers per hour you will fly through time and find that it’s an hour earlier on the other side. Use the “extra hour” to visit Alcoutim’s castle with the Archeological Museum and then relax at the riverside beach. If you’re hungry try the typical food of the Serra Algarvia at O Soeiro or A Taberna do Ramos.
Food and wine
- Algarve Food Experience (Silves): Dedicated to sharing their fascination with the food and culinary secrets of the Algarve, Gloria and Matteo offer a range of experiences including an Oyster Farm Tour with lunch on the Culatra island, a seafood cataplana cooking class or a trip to the salt marshes of the Ria Formosa with your own salt harvesting followed by a late afternoon seafood and wine tasting. Phone: (+351) 927 509 140.
Antiques and flea markets
- Tavira (1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th Saturday of the month): Tavira’s flea market has been growing steadily over the past years. It’s located right net to the Municipal Market. Go there in the morning, before buying fresh fish and seafood for the weekend, as it closes early around 1 pm.
- Vila Real de Santo António (2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month): Vila Real de Santo António is the town of bed linen, towels and textiles. Spain is just across the river and many day visitors come here to shop. Go there on a Saturday and you can combine a tour of the Pombaline city centre with a stroll across the flea market.
- Fuseta (2nd Sunday of the month): Used to be one of the biggest flea markets of the Algarve. But nowadays it is held mainly outside the summer high season.
- Designer Outlet Algarve (Faro/Loulé): You didn’t t travel all the way to Tavira to go shopping. But if you happen to catch one of the few rainy days during your stay at Casas da Serra Tavira, you might end up visiting the the Designer Outlet Algarve right next to the A22 freeway. Some of the global fashion brands are there. But why not drop by Vista Alegre, Portugal’s most well-known porcelain manufacturer. They even have their own museum (though much more to the North, in Ílhavo between Coimbra and Porto). Houseware designer brands such as WMF or Zwilling are also there. And if you forgot your running shoes, you will certainly find a pair … the next sunny day is only a few hours away.