Well I did manage to visit all apart from one, Fabrica as I really didnt want to take the chance of wadding through although mostly shallow water with all my gear and two children. And not being familiar with that beach, the possibility of later getting stuck trying to come back. So that will be resigned to an 'adult or older children beach'. Maybe next year I will get over there.
Otherwise I tried all the others and found a new one as well, Praia da Lota, which is found at the east end of Manta Rota, so basically go to Manta Rota and follow the signs to the east end of the town. This is a more 'locals' beach, parking is quite small but the beach is not as busy as the others and quite flat and shallow, making it good with children. There is also a couple of simple beach restaurants.
Ilha Cabanas, accessed by a small boat from the eastern end of Cabanas, parking can be a nightmare in high season and the wait for the boat can be long. Also being an Island beach can often be rough. But the beach is long and nice.
Ilha Tavira is a beautiful place, when you get off the boat, you walk a few hundred metres through the island shubbery and could forget where you were. There are several restaurants and bars and a large campsite, practically on the beach, which must be lovely in summer. The beach goes for miles and is very deep, if you walk far enough you could be on your own, even in high season. In high season you can access the Island by large boats from Tavira town centre or Quatro Aguas or private water taxi, which takes about 10 minutes. I first went here on my 30th birthday and had the best day. Again being a island beach can be rough.
Praia Barril another island beach, one of my favourites where you take a little train over to the beach area, which the children love. A very popular and large beach with good facilities but best to be avoided in high season as although there is a lot of parking, it can still be a nightmare, leaving you to walk over a mile to get to the train. Out of season it is perfect and quiet.
|Praia Verde on a July morning|
Praia Verde is the easterly of all the beaches and is not an island beach. It is set down a fairly large hill but parking is quite good and there are restaurants at the top and bottom of the hill. It is quite a shallow beach, making it calmer than the Island beaches. Its a good one, with the calm waters but the walk back up is hard with a pushchair or young child.
Manta Rota was always my favourite beach but my reason for wanting to try the others was to find something different or better, but I have to say, I didnt. Manta Rota still remains my favourite, but WHY?
When going to the beach in the Algarve heat with two small children, my aim is to get there as quick as possible with the least amount of fuss and difficulty and Manta Rota is perfect for that. It is the nearest beach to my house where I can drive to without the hassle of boats, trains or queues. The water is generally calmer than the Island beaches. They renovated the area within the last four years, so the access is really good, and it is only a short walk on a boardwalk to get to the beach. There is only one downside, in the summer they charge parking, but otherwise for me, its perfect. I tried the others, but for me this is the best! It does get busy in the summer but with such easy access its not a problem.
So if you're down in the East Algarve, give it a try.
|Manta Rota in November, with fishermen on the beach and Monte Gordo in the distance.|