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Location - South west Europe; Capital - Lisbon; Population - 10.2 million; Currency - Euro MORE PORTUGAL

After Albufeira it's an easy train ride to Tavira in the eastern Algarve, changing at Faro, after which I visited other towns along the coast, including the gorgeous setting of Cacela Velha - October 2020.


euro1A recent version of the 10 Euro note












portugal1026The town of Tavira has a pretty good location on the River Gilao


portugal996Next to the river is Praca da Republica and its cafes - Tavira




portugal1000Grand buildings on the walk from the train station to the riverside - Tavira



















portugal1001The old town is set on a hilltop south-west of Praca da Republica - Tavira



















portugal1008The Church of Santa Maria do Castelo lies opposite the castle ruins - Tavira


portugal1010Behind that church is this one, Santiago Church, reconstructed following an earthquake in 1755 - Tavira




portugal1005 The view from the castle walls - Tavira


















portugal1011Feline (?) street art in the old town - Tavira


















portugal1015Cross the River Gilao via Ponte Romana, or Roman Bridge, a reconstruction dating to the 17th century - Tavira


portugal1012aThere's a wealth of cafes and restaurants on the eastern side of the river - Tavira




portugal1021 Take your pick of dining options at this main square - Tavira




















portugal1019Back on the western bank, the rather run down bus station is set on an attractive part of the river - Tavira


















portugal1018The very calm waters of the Gilao River, as seen from near the bus station - Tavira


portugal1030Frequent ferries take the 25min trip to Tavira Island, part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park - Tavira




portugal1032Salt mounds are a common sight in this region - Tavira



















portugal1036The ferry ride to Tavira Island - Tavira


















portugal1039Fishing on the Gilao River - Tavira





portugal1049The beach starts just metres from the ferry landing in the north of the island - Ilha de Tavira


















portugal1057Tavira Island Beach and the lighthouse - Ilha de Tavira



















portugal1060It was a lovely long walk along the beach and the Atlantic waves to the next settlement at Praia do Barril, about 4km west - Ilha de Tavira


portugal1062Again, coronavirus and the shoulder season meant visitors were very low - Ilha de Tavira




portugal1064But just as I think no-one's around, an unfortunate souvenir of 2020 appears - Ilha de Tavira


















portugal1069Praia do Barril had more signs of life - Ilha de Tavira


















portugal1066Behind the beach is the Anchor Graveyard, a memorial to its one time fishing industry - Ilha de Tavira


















portugal1070There's plenty of room for an outdoor meal and drink at Praia do Barril - Ilha de Tavira


portugal1084Ria de Formosa Natural Park consists of several long, narrow islands that form a protective barrier to the mainland, stretching along the Algarve from just west of Faro and eastwards to Cacela Velha - Ilha de Tavira




portugal1076Behind the islands are a series of calm lagoons and waterways full of nature - Santa Luzia


















portugal1080It's a 10min walk - or a 1km mini-train ride - from Praia do Barril across the island, then over a pedestrian bridge to the mainland at Santa Luzia


portugal1087Santa Luzia is known as the octopus capital of the Algarve, which is on all the menus of waterfront restaurants




portugal1090The protected waters of Ria Formosa are calm and tranquil - Santa Luzia

















portugal1092Are they eyeing up supper? - Santa Luzia



















portugal1094A stack of octopus pots lie behind a row of fisherman huts - Santa Luzia




portugal1100The attractive Guadiana River waterfront at the border town of Vila Real de Santo Antonio

















portugal1108 Several jellyfish were swimming around the marina (but not the Portuguese Man-o-War) - Vila Real de Santo Antonio


















portugal1115Spain lies across the river but the town focuses on the marina and this square, Praca Marques de Pombal - Vila Real de Santo Antonio


portugal1118There's many appealing outdoor cafes and restaurants close to and on the square - Vila Real de Santo Antonio




portugal1121Farmland and countryside on the outskirts of Vila Real de Santo Antonio



















portugal1126Cacela Velha is a tiny place on the coast, located between Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Tavira


portugal1138Behind the church are superb views of the Ria Formosa Natural Park - Cacela Velha




portugal1132The waterways, sand bars and island barriers of Ria Formosa - Cacela Velha


















portugal1141Again, the inland water is so calm and tranquil - Cacela Velha


















portugal1134You've gotta love scenery like this - Cacela Velha


portugal1148The beach looks so remote and Robinson Crusoe-like, but very easy to reach; this section's actually part of the mainland - Cacela Velha




portugal1146Directly opposite Cacela Velha is Cacela Velha beach, separated by the lagoon

















portugal1152Fishermen's boats in the quiet lagoon waters - Cacela Velha


















portugal1155Prickly pears are part of the cactus family (of course) - the fruit is edible and widely available in many parts of the world - Cacela Velha



portugal1162Walk down a sandy path to the water's edge - Cacela Velha




portugal1165It's such a picturesque area, try and get here if you're in the region - Cacela Velha



















portugal1169Small boats ply the quick journey across the lagoon to Cacela Velha beach - Cacela Velha


















portugal1166There were very few people on Cacela Velha beach, though I'm sure it gets busy in the height of summer - Cacela Velha





portugal1176Salt evaporation ponds, or salt pans, are commonplace east of Faro



















portugal1178Salt water is pumped into pools where the water evaporates naturally, leaving behind the salt which is then harvested - east of Faro


















portugal1275Silves Castle and the Cathedral come into view as I make my way from the train station into the town of Silves


portugal1290The ancient Roman Bridge crosses the Arade River to the centre - Silves





portugal1296A running man in Parque Ribeirinho - Silves


















portugal1297Silves is on the Algarve trainline but very much inland, 6km north of Lagoa


















portugal1301A fantastically eclectic, arty bar is the Art'aska lounge cafe. It's stocked with loads of local, craft beers as well as having a gelataria. Plus chairs on the ceiling, typewriter and sewing machine displays and this settee area, very much like your living room - Silves


portugal1305Beer barrel urinals at the Art'aska, like it! - Silves





portugal1312Standing outside the castle is King Sancho I, who conquered the town in the 12th century - Silves



















portugal1308It was a horrible, wet and windy day but, like me, this family were going to enjoy it come what may - Silves



















portugal1313The 12th century cathedral (the Portuguese for cathedral being sé), as seen from the Misericordia Church (Church of Mercy) - Silves


portugal1306In October storks were everywhere in Silves, usually nesting on top of telegraph poles or high walls





portugal1317Still love you, call me. Needs a phone number though? Graffiti in the old town - Silves



















portugal1322 Praca do Municipio is a small town square overlooked by a very grand looking cafe - Silves




















portugal1326Bringing brightness to those humdrum electricity boxes - Silves


portugal1328These machines had burgers and kebabs to go, which sounds like searching for a dodgy stomach to me - Silves





portugal1327Love the colours - Silves


















portugal1331A stork (top left) guards the 15th/16th century Cross of Portugal - Silves



















portugal1332A face laughs at me at the train station, maybe cos it was cold and wet. I checked the station clock while waiting and the second hand started to go backwards! Stuck in a time warp, something straight from Groundhog Day or The Twilight Zone - Silves



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LINKS - a guide to the Algarve - Portuguese trains, buy tickets online

Rede Expressos is a nationwide bus company, though as I write their website's not working. Google it - Portugal tourism website


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