VisitAlgarve - Portal de Turismo do Algarve

Barril Beach Trail

This hike leads you to Barril beach, to where you can also go by tram. The trail crosses the Tavira channel, through the Barril’s drawbridge, and a considerable area of salt marsh and dunes.

The first 600 metres of the trail cross Ria Formosa’s typical salt marshes, with its complex network of snaking watercourses, silt banks and the salt marsh’s peculiar vegetation. The path is lined by a plant exclusive to the south, the Limoniastrum monopetalum, a shrub of exuberant lilac foliage. During your journey, you can easily see (especially during the low tide) iconic species like the Uca tangeri crab and  aquatic birds such as herons, sanderlings, terns, ringed plovers, red knots, black  winged stilts and pied avocets.

The succulent plants common in saline areas gradually give way to beds of reeds and bulrushes, indicative of an upwelling of fresh or brackish waters. The path then continues over a vast stretch of dune with low vegetation, typical of more stable sands. The curry plant, a golden scrub which, as the name indicates, smells intensely of curry, takes over the landscape and the fragrances in the air.

Here you can find various support facilities for use at the beach. They are at an old fishing camp, which used to support the fishermen during the summer months (mainly for tuna fishing). In its heyday this fishing camp, created in 1841, would have been a home to 80 fishermen and their families. On the beach you can see a cemetery of anchors that were used for pound nets.

On the sea-facing side of the dunes grow small plants well-adapted to the shifting sands, like the seashore false bindweed, the sea holly and the European searocket. Behind them there’s the jaunty sea daffodil and the seagrass, whose long roots help shape the dunes. The yellowlegged gull, the Mediterranean gull and the common tern are usual visitors to the beach.

Municipality: Tavira
Pedras d'El Rei
Circular trail:
no, linear
3 km (there and back)
Average duration:
Cumulative elevation gain:
20 metres D+
Type of path:
dirt and cement paths, wooden walkways and sandy shore
Start of the trail: 
37º 05' 35.02'' N 7º 40' 30.79'' W