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48 hours in Golden Club Cabanas

Book your family holiday and discover the other side of the Algarve

What are the top three attractions?

1. Tavira town is the one of the prettiest towns in Portugal, with its double-gabled roofs, 37 churches, medieval castle and walls, phoenician wells, and Roman bridge across the river. Wandering along the riverbanks or the meandering streets and alleys, discover a charming town with live performances, arts, and handicraft shops.

2. Salt Pans: No wonder bird watchers and ornithologists are regular visitors to this region. Ria Formosa is home to hundreds of thousands of birds, making this area one of the best spots to do birdwatching in the Algarve. You may spot white egrets, stilts, storks, and flamingos fishing in the lagoon and the salt pans.

In autumn and spring, Ria Formosa welcomes birds migrating between Europe and North Africa. Birds such as the little tern and the avocet nest here in spring. For other aquatic birds, the lagoon is a place to winter. One of the rarest species, the western or purple swamphen - with its characteristic blueish feathers - finds its only confirmed breeding site in Portugal in the lagoon.

3. Cacela Velha: From the promontory of Cacela Velha, a village with an 18th-century fortress and church, enjoy the stunning views out over Ria Formosa, with its meandering currents and sandbanks. To better appreciate the route, the estates, and the orange groves, take an electric tuk tuk as far as Cacela Velha and Fábrica beach.

Spend some time spotting the Moorish influences along the streets of Cacela Velha, before wandering the banks of Ria Formosa while taking in the landscape and observing the birds. From Golden Club Cabanas, you can bike to Cacela Velha (following the Ecovia do Algarve bike trail) or go by car (eight kilometres).

Best way to get around and explore?

We have bikes available to rent with maps, so guests can easily visit other cities, as well as on foot on walks through the Natural Park. We also have partnerships with car rental and scooter companies, so guests can visit the more distant tourist spots. Buses and trains are available, which make it possible to visit the Algarve.

Are there any must-do activities?

  1. Ria Formosa boat tour, a one-hour tour of the Ria Formosa with a 15-minute stop on a deserted beach.
  2. Horse riding, where you can ride in the countryside or in the mountains (for experienced riders).
  3. Wandering along the Cabanas de Tavira Island, a seven-kilometre-long beach of golden sand.
  4. Rent a bike and discover the Ecovia do Litoral cycling route.
  5. Visit Tavira and the salt pans by tuk tuk.
  6. Discover the Eastern Algarve in a jeep safari.
  7. Birdwatching in Ria Formosa, at Cabanas de Tavira, at Quinta de Marim Estate (Olhão) or Castro Marim salt pans.
  8. Aquaparks during summertime, like Aquashow or Slide & Splash.

What is the best place for a coffee and a spot of people-watching?

Coffee and cocktails are available at the following bars:

  • Piers Santa Maria
  • Cavalo Marinho
  • Cais
  • Dunas
  • Vitaminas

If it's raining, what would you recommend doing?

Our Health Club is open every day with an indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, massage, and health treatments. There is also a shopping centre called Tavira Grand Plaza, six kilometres from Golden Club Cabanas.

Are there any markets to visit?

Besides the shopping centre, there is the traditional market, called Municipal Market, at Tavira, where you can find the perfect tourist gifts direct from producers. There is also a flea market every 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Saturday of the month.

Is there a local story or fact you would like to share?

There are two important facts about the place where we are located:

1. Ria Formosa Natural Park is classified as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Portugal. This park encompasses an area of about 18,000 hectares and is protected from the sea by five barrier-islands and two peninsulas. A paradise for birdwatchers, Ria Formosa is considered one of the most important areas for aquatic birds in Portugal, hosting on a regular basis more than 20,000 birds during the winter period.

2. The village of Cabanas de Tavira was first founded for tuna fishing in the mid-19th century. Dozens of fishermen used to set up huge nets to trap the schools of tuna as they migrated along the coast. The fishermen lived in cabins on the island (“cabanas” means huts or cabins), until the sea swept their homes away in 1963. They rebuilt their houses north of the lagoon and switched to catching other fish and octopus on small boats.

Favourite place to have a drink?

Quasibar, located at Cabanas de Tavira waterfront.

How can you keep the kids entertained?

From April to October, your children (ages 4 to 12) can enjoy themselves at our Kids Club.

We offer a weekly entertainment programme designed especially for youngsters, which includes activities such as dancing, cooking, singing, making puppets, paper kites, personalised t-shirts and even participating in theatre and circus shows. The Kids Club operates under the professional supervision of our children’s entertainment team, in Portuguese, Spanish and English.

There are also many activities for children at Tavira, like science and technology activities at Tavira Ciência Viva Centre, bicycle tours around the city, learn about the history of Tavira and its people by visiting the museums.

Any dinner recommendations?

There are good restaurants in Cabanas de Tavira specialising in fish and shellfish, such as ‘A Grelha’, ‘Europa’, ‘Mariscos e Petiscos’, ‘Noélia & Jerónimo’ (great for special occasions), ‘O Ideal, ‘O Monteiro’, ‘Pedro’. There are also pizzerias, cafes, bars, stores, a homemade ice-cream parlour and the market (although some places are open only in the summer).

Where is the best place to watch the sunset?

Cabanas de Tavira boardwalk.

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