Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Review Camping Ria Formosa. Portugal.

 Our second site of this season takes us to Camping Ria Formosa near Tavira almost at the Spanish border. We had been before in January/February and thought we would like to try it more in season.

Ria Formosa is situated almost in Tavira in the village of  Conceicao and Cabanas de Tavira. The site is right by the train station and an easy one stop into Tavira main town. Infact, the train very conveniently, goes all the way along the Algarve and in the opposite direction to Spain, so it is perfect for motor homers who want to use public transport.

 Loads of bike paths nearby and you can even cycle into Tavira across the salt flats which we did. 

We think this site has the best of two worlds, traditionally Portuguese in Conceicao and a bit more touristy in Cabanas. Cabanas in actually an old fishing village and has lots of bars, cafes and a beautiful beach accessed by water taxi at 1.50 Euros return. Cabanas is a bustling resort but not yet ruined by too much tourism!

The beach is beautiful fine sand, with loads of umbrella for shade.

Not too busy in May!

There is also another local beach called appropriately "Poor Man's Beach", because at low tide you can actually wade across to the beach avoiding the charge of a water taxi. We road our bikes across the salt flats to reach it. Good going for me!!

Cabanas itself is a great place to relax and is full of old fisherman's cottages that still retain their charm and have actual fishermen living in them.

There are a few tourist shops but also local shops for meat and fish. This is a local community garden filled with mannequins, fun but a bit spooky I thought.

We couldn't really make out what it was about but the dummies were really well done!

The campsite is very well laid out. We opted for a double pitch for not much extra. We actually got a bargain winter rate for a month which cost 365 Euros all in, so we had a double bonus. Pitches are all on gravel and the site staff are very fussy about keeping within the pitch markings, which was fine for us. The shower blocks and loos are beautifully clean and well kept with loads of hot water. There is a site supermarket, but also two more good local supermarkets in walking distance. A huge Lidl is at Tavira next door to the train station. We did the journey a few times and with a "wrinkly discount" ( you have to ask!) the fare was 1.50 Euros return.

Tavira is well worth a day or more to look around. There is an old town and you can take boat trips along the river or to Tavira Island, the beach resort. We had a fabulous meal of grilled sardines in a typical Portuguese back street restaurant.

There is also a well priced restaurant which does a daily menu but there are loads of places to eat. We managed a main meal and wine for around 20 euros. At the local Expat bar "The Barrel", a main meal, dessert, coffee and wine is 10 Euros. Wine came in at 1 Euro a glass. All in all, a cheap place to eat out.

The weather this year was really hot temperatures in the high 20's most days, certainly we will return next year at the same time.

We spent our days in the sun and with walking, biking, eating and drinking, 4 weeks has flown by really fast. There is a lovely swimming pool on site with lots of loungers great for cooling off in.

We did a trip up the train track to Monte Gordo ( two stops) If you like Blackpool you will love Monte Gordo a tourist hot spot. Massive hotels backing onto the beach. Not our cup of tea but worth a day out!

The best bit of beach at Monte Gorda was the fisherman's end, but not as authentic as Cabanas.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our holiday this year. Staying put has its advantages and we have certainly found out loads more about this area of Portugal. We will be back.

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