Eastern Algarve Discovery Tour

Enjoy the laid-back charm and year-round sunshine on the eastern Algarve


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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • History

Holiday overview

Uncover the charm of the laidback Eastern Algarve based in the historic town of Tavira. This area of Portugal offers beautiful coastline, pretty fishing villages, saltpans teeming with birdlife and an unspoilt interior – not to mention year round sunshine, which makes this beautiful area perfect for exploring in spring.

Holiday highlights 

• Faro’s historic old town
• The Roman ruins at Milreu
• Cabo de Sao Vincente, Europe’s south western most point

Price includes

  • Good quality en-suite accommodation in one of our European partner hotels
  • Half Board – continental breakfast and evening meal
  • The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ leader
  • Full day excursions with all essential transport in resort
  • ‘With flight’ holidays include return flights from the UK and hotel transfers

In pictures...


Hotel Vila Gale Tavira in Tavira, Portugal

This friendly 4-star Hotel Vila Galé Tavira is situated on the banks of the Ria Formosa, close to the centre of the charming town of Tavira, which straddles the Rio Galão.

There is an easy walk to the centre of Tavira's shops and sidewalk cafés.

Once sampled the hotel's freshly squeezed orange juice will spoil you for all other fruit juices.

This accommodation is considered 'Best Value' as this hotel is considered value for money without compromising on comfort.

Your room

The hotel has 268 en-suite bedrooms, which are simply decorated with a distinctive Arabian theme to reflect Tavira’s rich and fascinating history.

All rooms have either a balcony or terrace, with either views of the central area and the swimming pool (extra surcharge) or overlooking the attractive rooftops of Tavira or over the salt pans.

There is air conditioning which can be adjusted, flat screen TV, direct dial telephone, hairdryer, shaving point, complimentary toiletries, and a safe deposit box (extra charge).

There is 24 hour room service and a laundry service available (extra charge)
Hotel Vila Gale Tavira bedroom


Hotel Vila Gale Tavira swimming-pool-(indoor) Hotel Vila Gale has an attractive outdoor pool (unheated) in an area landscaped with attractive shrubs and potted palms. There are loungers and seating where you can have a snack or drink ordered from the nearby bar. In the large bar area there are more comfortable seats.

The hotel has a shop that stocks English newspapers, basic toiletries, some Tavira souvenirs and beach accessories. WiFi is free to our guests in all public areas and available in all bedrooms for a small charge.

The Health Club, open from 10am until 8pm, is free to our guests and includes a tepidarium with indoor pool (naturally lit), Turkish bath, Jacuzzi, gym and some treatment rooms (extra charge for any treatments booked).


Our holidays at Tavira are Half Board with continental breakfast and a 3-course evening meal.

There is an extensive selection for breakfast from a self-select buffet, including breads, pastries and cakes, cold meat and cheese, fruit, English cooked breakfast, teas and coffee.

Lunch (payable locally)
This can be bought locally from the variety of local shops/supermarkets or try visiting the daily covered market across the road from the hotel which offers a wide range of fresh and local produce from the region.
Evening meal
The three course buffet includes soup, tapas, salads, four or five hot main dishes including vegetarian options as well as a separate salad bar and side dishes served with a selection of vegetables. Every night there is a chef grilling meat. The hotel holds some themed evenings which extends to their menus. Vila Galé has its own wine estate and you can order these wines with your evening meal. They can also be purchased to take home.
Hotel Vila Gale Tavira dining-room

Your evenings

In Europe, our walking holidays continue into the evening. Enjoy a glass of wine or local beer whilst listening to your leaders outlining the next day's walks. One evening there’s the option to visit a Fado Museum to see an explanatory film which introduces the 12-string Portuguese guitar, before experiencing the emotion of the
“Fado”. On the last evening, we have dinner at the sister Hotel Vila Galé Albacora. This hotel is converted from an old tuna fishing village and we can visit their museum to watch a very interesting video about its history.


Tavira & Eastern Algarve

Tavira, Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Castro Marim and Alcoutim

We start the week by exploring our base, Tavira, and some of its historic attractions. From here we’ll head to the Spanish border, visiting Vila Real de Santo Antonio and Castro Marim with its huge hilltop castle, before taking a scenic drive up the Guadiana to Alcoutim.

Faro & around

Faro, Loulé and Milreu

We start the day in Algarve’s capital, Faro, where we explore the winding cobbled streets of the historic old town and some of the buildings within it. From here we head inland to Loulé where we can enjoy the attractive old quarter and see the local artisan traditions of basket making and embroidery. Our final stop is the ruins of a grand Roman villa at Milreu.

The Central Algarve Coast

Silves, São Bartolomeu de Messines, Alte and Paderne

Silves is a gorgeous town of jumbling orange rooftops and boasts one of the best preserved castles in the Algarve. We begin our day here before travelling inland, through lush green countryside to São Bartolomeu de Messines, birthplace of one of the Algarve’s most famous poets and home to a lovely church and 17th and 18th century houses. From here we continue to the attractive village of Alte, with spotless cottages displaying patios and balconies overflowing with flowers. Our final stop of the day is Paderne, a typical country village with some beautiful dusty pink and faded coral facades on its buildings.

Western Algarve

Portimão, Alvor, Lagos and Cabo de São Vicente

Our first stop today is Portimão where we enjoy a stroll through the old harbour and along the riverside gardens before heading to Alvor. Alvor has retained its fishing village charm and we’ll explore its maze of cobbled streets. Our next stop is Lagos, where the 16th century city walls enclose the old town’s pretty streets, picturesque plaza and churches. Our last stop of the day is Cabo de São Vicente, Europe’s south western most point.

Rural beauty: the Alentejo

Mertola, Mina de São Domingo and Beja

The Alentejo is a vast and sparsely populated rural province characterised by rolling grasslands, wheat fields and groves of oak and olive. Our first stop is Mertola, with its imposing hilltop castle. From there we wind upwards through the hills to the village of Mina de São Domingo to view the strikingly geometric cottages before finishing the day in Beja, the capital of the Baixo (lower) Alentejo.

Holiday information

All transport relevant to the itinerary is included in the price of your holiday, but for flexibility we do not include entrances. Please allow around €57 per person for entrance fees.

Discovery holidays involve active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet. Optional short walks of approximately 2½ miles allow you to stretch your legs and see the best of the local scenery.

Free day – on our 7 night holidays we allow one free day where there is no organised excursion. This is an ideal opportunity for you to relax, enjoy the hotel facilities or explore independently.

Local area


Tavira is a pretty unspoilt fishing village, with Moorish heritage and rich birdlife in the nearby salt pans. The beach in Tavira is a 'sandspit' beach, separated from the mainland by the sea, this allows for an exciting journey by ferry or water taxi to relax on the beach. The coast path has gorgeous views, which you can enjoy by foot or by bike, with the local cycle hire available.


Discover the city of Faro, the district capital of the Algarve and the Ria Formosa Nature Park, one of the 3 protected areas in the Algarve - recently elected one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal. There are many unique and interesting attractions in Faro, these include: Museu Municipal is housed in the Convento de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, built in the old Jewish quarter, is principally an archaeological museum and displays of religious art; Igereja da Ordem Terceira de São Francisco is described as a "total work of art", with its architecture, carvings, tiles and paintings creating a dazzling visual image; and Museu Regional do Algarve has a collection relating to the culture, agriculture and fishing history of the Algarve. Faro is accessable from Tavira by bus, and you can discover Faro on ‘the tourist train’ or on foot.

The Ria Formosa Nature Park

The Ria Formosa Nature Park is a site, where you can go on an ecotourism experience on board a “saveiro” a traditional boat with a nature guide to identify the local birdlife and nature. The wetlands are some of the most important in Portugal, and a habitat for aquatic birds. The park also has oyster and clam farms, which are economically significant to the Algarve. Organised tours run in the Ria Formosa Nature Park.

Did you know?

Tavira comes from the Arabic ‘Tabira’, which means ‘the hidden’.


We recognise that everyone’s travel arrangements are unique, so all our holidays to Europe can be booked ‘with flight’ or ‘without flight’, giving you more flexibility and choice.


Travel by plane


‘With flight’ holidays – the hassle free option

Book your holiday ‘with flight’ and choose between Gatwick and Manchester flights to Faro airport. For flight times and prices please see the Dates & Prices tab.

If you choose this option we automatically include return transfers between the airport and the hotel. The coach transfer takes approx 45 minutes to the Hotel Vila Galé Tavira.




Driving to us

‘Without flight’ holidays – the flexible travel option

Alternatively, tailor your journey to suit you by booking your holiday ‘without flight’ allowing you the freedom to book your own flights from your local airport.

If you choose this option, transfers are not included in the price. However, below are some suggestions to help you reach your destination:

  • We can book you a seat on the HF Holidays’ transfer coach from Faro airport. This is timed to meet the HF Holidays’ flights* (provisional flight times can be found on the dates and prices tab or you can call us on 020 8732 1220 for more information). Cost per single journey is £15.50.
  • Why not let us book you a private taxi transfer at a cost of £70 per single taxi journey?

Transfers must be pre-booked.  Please call 020 8732 1220 for more details

* Please note that HF Holidays is not responsible for your onward travel if you fail to meet the transfer coach


Gordon Simmonds

Gordon Simmonds enjoys travel and is delighted to share his experiences with HF Holidays' guests. He has been an HF Holidays' leader since 1999 and has led many holidays, especially in Italy. For thirty years, his job gave him Europe wide responsibilities and scope to enjoy different cities and friendships with people of many nationalities. A great plus of leading for HF Holidays is being able to enjoy the diverse food of our many regions. He is fascinated by the variety as well as the common threads of our different histories, art and architecture. His background as a research engineer gives a slightly different slant and understanding of these aspects of our shared culture. He speaks Italian, French and German. His knowledge and enjoyment extends beyond the city, for he loves the natural world and counts gardening as a hobby.


Dates & Prices

We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.

Prices are per person


  • Double room for sole occupancy: £8 per night
  • Allow €20 for entrances
  • Non-member associate fee: £10 per person

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