Praida do Barril (the beach and its surroundings)

the tradition of tuna fishing on a trail in the Algarve

The Praia do Barril trail, in Tavira, allows access to a fantastic beach. A 1.5 km linear trail that leads to Praia do Barril beach and explores part of Tavira Island and the tradition of tuna fishing in Ria Formosa.

by Filipe Pereira

Portuguese Local Guide

Since an early age, Algarve has been a mandatory stop for me at least twice per year. Get to know this region through insider tips, and discover it like a local!


To get to Praia do Barril you have to go to Pedras de El-Rei (check this name on GPS). There you must park your car and walk to the place where the Barril beach train is located. You can take the Praia do Barril trail on foot there and return by train, or come and go on foot.


The Barril beach trail allows you to cross the Formosa estuary, connecting the continental part of the Algarve to the island of Tavira. The estuary of the Ria Formosa is very interesting because the Praia do Barril trail (which takes about 15 minutes between the train and the beach) passes by the shallows full of Boca-cava-terra crabs, a kind of crab with a much larger forceps than the others, in males. These tweezers serve to attract females, but also to control the space of each crab since they are territorial animals. The Praia do Barril trail then enters the dune zone , full of vegetation adapted to the dune environment with thorny plants, beach weeping, an invasive species from South Africa, and even pine. Once on the Praia do Barril do not miss the wonderful beach, great for a good swim and the anchors arranged in the dunes. At Barril beach, we caught a tide of green fluorescent seaweed on a part of the beach. A fantastic thing to see at Praia do Barril! The Cemitério das Âncoras in Praia do Barril was the place where tuna fishermen kept the anchors used in offshore tuna fishing. To fish for tuna in Praia do Barril, these anchors were transported on vessels to the high seas and disposed at the bottom. The nets were later attached to the anchors and thus allowed to catch the tuna. The anchors at Praia do Barril have different dimensions and the largest would need to be transported by about 20 men to the boat, while the smallest between 8 and 12 men. The anchors were at the bottom of the sea during the entire fishing season, usually from April to September, then returned to Praia do Barril. Today tuna fishing has languished but its history is still alive, on the trail of at the Restaurant Museum of the Tuna in Praia do Barril. Tuna fishing was abandoned in the 1960s and buildings abandoned, with anchors arranged as in a cemetery in Praia do Barril. The Praia do Barril restaurant is not exactly a museum but has a beautiful exhibition of photographs and a short video on tuna fishing in Praia do Barril. The buildings where the restaurant is located and other bars and shops in Praia do Barril are the original buildings for tuna fishermen in Barril. The Barril beach trail is a must in the Eastern part of the Algarve.


In Olhão , you can stay in some excellent places near Praia do Barril. From there you have access to the beaches of Culatra and Farol, as well as Armona. You can choose to:
  • cheaper accommodation in Olhão, such as Stork Hostel, GuestMar, Roaz de Bandeira Guesthouse, or OceanOasis.
  • more comfortable accommodation in Olhão, the Real Marina Residence, Quinta dos Poetas Nature Hotel Apartments, or the Real Marina Hotel & Spa;
  • accommodation for families or groups in Olhão, Casa do Pescador holiday homes by Ammonite & amp; Co, Casa do Chico, Francelina house, or Lavadeira’s House, and the Ria Olhao, Pilot House – Village Marina, or BaixaMar Apartments.
In Tavira , the most convenient place to stay close to Praia do Barril, you can stay in some excellent places, in different areas. You can choose to stay:
  • in Pedras d’el Rei, at Villa Sofia, Villa Pedras del Rey, Pedras D’el Rei Waterfront Loft, Pedras del Rei, Nature and Beach Apartment, or at Pedras D’el Rei;
  • in Santa Luzia, at Casa de Bonecas, Santa Luzia Apartment, Santa Luzia Green Apartment, River House, or at Flamingo Beach House;
  • in Tavira, at Formosa Guest House, Al-Gharb Tavira Eco GuestHouse, Peixe Agulha, Apartamentos Gharb Diem, Vila Gale Tavira, Pousada Convento de Tavira, or at Quinta do Morgado – Apartamentos Turisticos Monte Da Eira.
  • in Cabanas de Tavira, in Cabanas2stay, Cabanas Waterfront Apartment, Casa Viana – Guesthouse, For Sea Apartment, Casa Cabanas – Cabanas Gardens, Quinta Da Colina, or at Forte De Sao Joao Da Barra.

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