Tavira Island is very popular with young and old as a place to spend a really pleasant day at the beach. Four beaches for the price of one, all of them seamlessly linked together, provide sun-hungry visitors with a huge surface. The one which is the least crowded - in fact downright solitary - is Praia do Homem Nu. The name means "the beach of the naked man", which is an allusion to the fact that people like bathing and sunbathing naked here. Clothed or unclothed, 4.5 kilometres of pure nature await you here. It’s a wonderful retreat, right in the middle of a protected dune landscape, for anyone who would prefer significantly more privacy than is available on the bustling neighbouring beach.
Praia do Homem Nu - Extensive natural beach on an island of dunes
Tavira Island is about two kilometres from the town of Tavira. The route to Praia do Homem Nu beach takes you via the town of Pedras de El-Rei, where you park in a (chargeable) car park. From the car park you make your way via a footbridge and then a narrow but secure suspension bridge across a river delta to the island, at which point you have a choice. You can either walk for about 20 minutes along a paved path to the beach, or - a bit easier - take the little tourist train which carries visitors between the beach and the suspension bridge and runs every 15 minutes in peak season.
Once you have made it to the seaward facing beach front, you are greeted by 11 kilometres of very fine dune sand on the four seamlessly linked beaches here. From Praia do Barril, where you arrived, Praia do Homem Nu is to the right. It takes about five minutes on foot to get to the beach. The boundary is not marked, but it's roughly where the boardwalk across the sand ends. From here onward there are about 4.5 kilometres of very fine, unspoiled dune beach.
Even in peak season, when the better-known, more touristy neighbouring beach is really busy, you will have left the crowds behind you after just a few minutes' walk. Here you'll easily find a spot where you are on your own to enjoy the peace of this beautiful beach undisturbed. Alternatively, you can continue walking right to the end of the beach, to where water taxis bring seclusion-seeking bathers across from the adjacent island, where there is a luxurious hotel. At this point the concentration of beach towels and bathers' own sun umbrellas gets slightly higher again. It should, by the way, be pointed out that to walk to the promontory at the end of the beach takes at least 90 minutes – and that’s one way only.
The trade-off is that the beach sparkles with very fine, almost white sand and very clear water, which is not universally the case on the Atlantic coast of Portugal. If you aren’t put off by natural debris, mainly shells and sea grass, and are looking for seclusion in an area otherwise very popular with holidaymakers, we thoroughly recommend a beach day at Praia do Homem Nu. Incidentally, Praia do Homem Nu translates as "Beach of the Naked Man". This beautiful natural beach only partially lives up to its name: when we visited during peak season devotees of naturism were in the minority.
One good thing is that the return journey to civilisation from the seclusion and untouched natural surroundings of Praia do Homem Nu doesn't take long. On the neighbouring beach of Praia do Barril, at the same level as the entrance to the beach, there is a really nice beach bar, a restaurant, a café and some shops - and the prospect of an ice-cold beer or a yummy snack makes the excursion into untouched nature twice as much fun.