Tavira and Gilão River

4 things to do in the Ria Formosa Natural Park

After the circuit in Douro  let's go on a boat trip through the Ria Formosa Natural park! A dip in Terra Estreita Beach and culminating with a Cataplana on the Gilão River.

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Ria Formosa Natural Park.

With Arraial Ferreira Neto as its starting point, the landscape that surrounds us is beautiful, before diving into Terra Estreita Beach.

Boat trip in the Ria Formosa Natural Park
Boat trip on the Ria Formosa
Terra Estreita Beach in the Ria Formosa Natural Park
Terra Estreita Beach
Cataplana on the bank of the River Gilão
Cataplana on the bank of the River Gilão

The former Arraial Ferreira Neto

The former Arraial Ferreira Neto, was an enterprise that added an industrial part of the tuna processing and a factory maintenance area, as well as a housing area for the personnel connected to this task.

There was no lack of leisure areas, the School and the Church.

About 150 families of seafarers, linked to the tuna industry, lived here.

Tuna fishing
Tuna fishing

This Arraial was built in 1943. In the 60s, the existence of tuna in these places began to decrease and in 1971 the capture of this fish ended. The facility was therefore abandoned until it was renovated and transformed into a hotel, the Hotel Vila Galé Albacora.

Located in the Natural Park of Ria Formosa, in Tavira, the old Arraial is today an architectural heritage that bears witness to the way of life of fishermen and their families. It has a Museum where we can appreciate some costumes from the period and also the typical Almadrava used then.

Almadrava is the old designation, of Arab origin and prior to nationality, which designates the frame to catch the fish. The nets are fixed to the bottom of the sea, to catch the tuna on its migratory route.

The Almadrava
The Almadrava

Boat trip on the Ria Formosa

In the morning we take the boat that will take us to Terra Estreita Beach, passing first the anchorage of Ilha de Tavira.

During the boat trip we appreciate the beauty of the Ria Formosa Natural Park where, here and there, we can see some oyster ponds and the salt flats from which the salt is extracted and the famous salt flower from Tavira.

Ria Formosa Natural Park and Boat Trip
Ria Formosa Natural Park

Terra Estreita Beach

We disembarked at the pier to Praia da Terra Estreita and, after a few hours in this paradisiacal place, we returned happily.

The Cataplana on the bank of the River Gilão

To end the day, it remains to look for some delicacy that reminds us of the Algarve tradition.

On the bank of the River Gilão, in the Ribeira de Tavira market, we find several options for cataplana.

Having chosen the Gilão Restaurant, which we recommend, we savor a seafood cataplana, prepared by the special hand of cook Cecília Paixão.

And the next day we went to see the sand sculptures, not far from this Algarve area.

In the North of Portugal, Ria Formosa's sister is Ria de Aveiro, also famous for its salt and soft eggs.

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