Monthly Archives: July 2011
News will be added and updated as and when appropriate
Despite recent economic gloom in Europe, tourism to the Algarve and Tavira has remained constant and is growing strongly again in 2015.
Alcoutim Zip Wire
For something completely different, those of an adventurous nature can travel from Spain to Portugal by zip wire and arrive an hour before they depart! This is possible because of a new (2014) zip line which has been constructed between San Lucar (Spain) and Alcoutim (Portugal). The zip wire flies you across the river Guadiana in just over a minute and because Spain is one hour ahead, you arrive in Portugal 59 minutes before you left Spain. Alcoutim is approximately a 45 minute drive from Tavira.
Air Travel to Portugal
There are flights to Faro from numerous UK Airports and airlines flying between the UK and Faro include Ryanair, easyJet, Jet2, Monarch, BA, Flybe, Thomas Cook.
Redevelopment at Faro airport
Faro Airport’s main redevelopment is almost complete but some work continues. Those of you hiring a car from one of the smaller companies will no doubt be asked to collect the vehicle from Car Park 4. This car park can be found by turning left when coming out of the Terminal Building and following the signs. It will take about 5 minutes to walk from the Terminal and you should head for the modular building which is situated in Car Park 4.
Car Hire Fuel “Scam”
When booking on-line, take care to read the small print on “fuel policy”. Some operators will try to charge you for a full tank of fuel asking you to return the vehicle empty. This can result in an up-front charge of up to 100 Euros and you may not use that amount of fuel depending on the length of your stay and car hire use. Most reputable companies work on the basis that you return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel as on collection. Other aspects to consider when choosing a car hire operator are that some companies request a 20 Euro payment if you are collecting or returning the car out of “normal” hours, usually before 0700 and after 2000. Also, some companies will charge up to 40 Euros should you wish to take the car across the border into Spain whilst others make no additional charge. From April 2015, the Airport company now levy a charge of 15 Euros on all car hire pick-ups from Car Park 4. This is collected direct by the car hire company.
The main motorway from Faro Airport to Tavira is excellent and usually very quiet but since late 2011 has been subject to road tolls. The approximate toll from Faro to Tavira is 2 Euro 50 and is charged via overhead cameras on gantreys which pick up the vehicle registration number. Car Hire companies will charge you approximately 20 Euros cash for the rental of a car transponder which automatically registers toll charges from the overhead cameras. Any tolls incurred will then be deducted from your credit card. These charges are unlikely to be more than 20 Euros unless you spend a lot of your holiday driving the length of the motorway!
There are regular flights to Faro Airport by a variety of budget airlines.
Ryanair www.ryanair.com fly to Faro from Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Doncaster, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow-Prestwick, Leeds-Bradford, Liverpool, London-Stansted and Manchester.
Jet2 www.jet2.com fly from Blackpool, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle.
Easyjet www.easyjet.com fly from Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Stansted and Newcastle.
Other flights may be available via airlines such as Flybe, Thomas Cook, Monarch and Thomson
For those of an adventurous nature, it is possible to drive to Tavira from the UK using either Portsmouth/St Malo or Portsmouth/Santander ferries. The journey is approximately 1600 miles each way from Central Scotland and takes approximately three full days.
Car hire is readily available and best booked on the internet price comparison websites eg www.travelsupermarket.com prior to arrival. On arrival at Faro Airport, most cars are picked up in Car Park 4, a short walk from the Terminal Building.
Travel time by road to Tavira is approximately 40 minutes and you will probably use the main A22 motorway. Since December 2011, tolls have been introduced. The tolls are charged by cameras recording the car registration number and are approximately 2euros 70 between the Airport and Tavira. Car hire vehicles are fitted with transponders which record your usage and the total cost will be debited to your credit card.
Driving in Portugal: Roads in the Algarve are generally of good quality and relatively quiet compared to the UK. Driving is on the right and most road signs are easily recognisable. Sign posting is usually of a good standard.
You will find that Portuguese drivers are extremely courteous in town and will stop for pedestrians at the numberous zebra crossings. Outwith town, driving tends to be a little more “racy” and tailgating together with overtaking when inappropriate can happen. Also, be aware when passing parked cars as doors can suddenly open or pedestrians appear as from nowhere. The golden rule is “expect the unexpected”!
Tavira enjoys a Mediterranean climate with some 3000 hours of sun annually and has the benefit of a cooling Atlantic breeze throughout the hot summer months.
During the months of June, July, August and September, almost constant sunshine can be guaranteed whilst in spring and autumn, hot days are common albeit there can be the chance of a shower. Even in winter, many days are sunny and mild however there is the stronger possibility of wet days although the temperature seldom falls below 15 degrees. A ten day forecast is available at http://uk.weather.com/weather/10day-tavira-POXX0027
The main beach is located on Ilha de Tavira, a twenty six mile long sandy island. The blue flag beach has been listed in the top ten family friendly beaches in the Lonely Planet Guide. It is reached by a short ferry boat from Quatros Aguas or, during the summer months, an additional boat service operates frequently from the town on the west side of the river past the old market on Rua Doctor Jose Pires Padinha. There are a number of cafes, bars, restaurants and beach shops located on Tavira Island. There is also an ATM facility.
An alternative beach is Barril Beach which is accessed from Pedros del Re some five kilometres west of Tavira. A small train takes passengers through the Ria Formosa to the beach facilities which include cafes and bars. It is possible to walk from Barril Beach to Tavira Island beach, a distance of some 4 miles taking approximately one and a half hours, returning to Tavira by the beach ferry.
If you wish to travel to Tavira by train from Faro Airport, take a taxi from the Airport to Faro train station from where there is a frequent train service to Tavira Porta Nova Station. It is a ten minute walk from Porta Nova to the apartment.
It is possible to explore the length of the Algarve by train and there are good services from both Porta Nova and Tavira Town stations to Vila Real de San’ Antonio on the Spanish Border and to Faro, Albufeira and Lagos on the West Algarve. Train timetable can be found at http://www.cp.pt/StaticFiles/Passageiros/horarios/horarios/PDF/r_ir_uc/vrantonio_lagos.pdf
Bus transport in the Algarve is mainly provided by EVA Transport. The main bus station in Tavira is located on Rua dos Pelames, on the west bank of the river.
There is a frequent service to Faro town and Vila Real de San’Antonio. The bus does not take the direct route and whilst it provides an interesting view of some of the smaller towns, it is quicker and cheaper to travel by train.
It is also possible to travel from Tavira bus station to both Lisbon and Seville twice a day – check at either the Tourist Office or bus station for up to date timetable information.