Cabanas is situated about 7km east of Tavira, at the beginning of the lagoons of the Ria Formosa Natural Reserve. Cabanas derived it's name from the huts (cabanas) that were erected during the early 18th century by the tuna fishermen to store their fishing gear in, they then eventually built houses for themselves as well and the fishing village of 'Cabanas de Tavira' was born.
Fishing still plays a major role in the economy of Cabanas but for the last 30 years tourism has also played an ever increasing role. What was, until a few years ago, a small, sleepy village with a handful of cafés, is now a very popular tourist resort. As with any popular area, new apartments and houses are springing up around Cabanas, but, certainly at the moment, it hasn't detracted from the character of the town.
Cabanas is a delightfully 'chilling' place where any sense of 'urgency' simply disappears! The view across the calm, crystal clear waters of the lagoon to the beach, with brightly coloured fishing boats along the waters edge really is picturesque.
The Avenida Ria Formosa runs the length of the lagoon and since the waterfront facelift in 2010 there are parking bays along the front and most of it is one way which has eased the traffic problem considerably! With freshly cobbled roads and pavements there is safely room for the numerous cafes and restaurants to have tables outside and it is very picturesque. A boarded walkway runs the entire length of the Avenida (starting at the fishing port at the western end) and has seats and sunshades at intervals - great for taking in the view and listening to nothing but the water lapping around the boats!
At the eastern end there is a shady area, frequented by campervans and just beyond... green fields and trees and a 17th century fort! It's surprising what you find when you explore! The fort, São João da Barra , was originally built in 1656 by Conde Val de Reis. It has since been restored and is now privately owned.
The beach of Ilha de Cabanas is just a short boat trip across the waters of the lagoon..in fact it is possible to swim across! Luckily there are also several water taxis along the front running frequent crossings to the ilha!
Cabanas has all the facilities you need on holiday. There are a couple of banks, a market and several small shops for your grocery items. A "papelaria" on the front, opposite the water taxis to the beach, has bikes for hire and is an agency for excursions as well as car rental (if you are able to tear yourself away!).