Jo’s Monday walk : Fabrica to Cacela Velha

Fabrica, our start point

Fabrica, our start point

If there’s one place in the Algarve that always works its magic on me, it’s Cacela Velha.  I’ve taken you there before on my walks (remember Mind that hole!?) but today we’re taking the boat ride from Fabrica.  In all my Algarve years I’d yet to see the ferry across to the beach operating, but a reference to it in Spanish ‘Conde Nast’ left me determined.  Described as ‘one of the best 15 beaches in the world’, I’ll leave you to judge for yourself.  How many beaches can there be in such a location?

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual.  Taking a Cacela Velha turn off from the E125, you will first come to a sign pointing to Fabrica.   This will bring you to a tiny harbour with a couple of very laidback bars and a restaurant.  Out of season it’s a place for fishermen and locals, but on the last day of my holiday in September it was almost bustling.  The tide was out and flipflops or bare feet were the best way to squidge across to the boat.

Leaving the harbour

Leaving the harbour

We scoot out to meet the sea, the boatman deftly following preordained paths through the water.  Running aground would be all too easy.

You have two choices for disembarking- the first stop is opposite to Fabrica.  The second, further along the sand bar, is opposite Cacela Velha. Let’s get out at the first, then we can have a bit of a beach comb before catching the boat back from the second stop.

Looking back at the shoreline

Looking back at the shoreline

And just in case you thought I had the beach to myself...

And just in case you thought I had the beach to myself…

It's a great meeting place for birds

The lagoon is a great meeting place for birds

There's the boatman heading back to base

There’s the boatman heading back to base

Ahead, the open sea

Ahead, the open sea

The sky was very hazy and the sea a milky blue as I wandered with my camera.  What makes this beach special, though, is the view back across the lagoon to the fortress on the headland.  There’s an almost mystical quality, to my mind, in being out there on the lagoon.  The tide was low enough to plodge across to the shore, but the sea creeps in stealthily here and you can be caught out.

The fortress across the bay

The fortress across the bay

A handful of people in the water

A handful of people in the water

The fortress reflected in the salty puddles

The fortress reflected in salty puddles

I carry on beach combing as the tide flows gently back.  Joyful cries and laughter reach me from the family on the sandbar.  The Portuguese families revel in their beautiful surroundings.  And I do, too.

Can you see them on the sandbar?

Can you see the family on the sandbar?

Their boat bobbing in the bay

Their boat, bobbing in the bay

I should explain that this beach stretches all the way back to Tavira.  You can reach it by catching the ferry from Cabanas, and the beach will be much busier nearer to that resort.  A very long beach walk would eventually bring you to this spot.  In the winter months that or swimming across would be the only way to get here.  Or a boat taxi, of course.

In the opposite direction, the beach rolls all the way to Spain, but first you have to cross over a channel.  A boat is a very useful thing to own in this part of the world.  Speaking of which, here comes the ferry.

We leave behind Cacela Velha

We leave Cacela Velha behind

And head back to Fabrica

And head back to Fabrica

The end of our walk?  Well, first we might have a snack at one of the beach bars.  Then I’m going to show you the view from Cacela Velha over to ‘our’ beach, just to give you a sense of place.  It’s only a half hour walk along the road to Cacela Velha or, if the tide’s not too high, you can walk the strip of beach that hugs the cliff.  You’d then have to climb the steps to the village.

Sitting at a Fabrica beach bar

Sitting at a Fabrica beach bar

And there you have it- the view from the fort

And here you have it- the view from the fort!

Across to 'our' beach

Across to ‘our’ beach

And there's even a bench to enjoy the view

And there’s even a bench to enjoy the view

Thanks for humoring me with this boat ride and saunter along the sands.  My earlier walk gives you a land-based version, if you’re not a lover of boats.  In either case, the views won’t disappoint.  In the world’s top 15?  I think there’d be strong competition. But I enjoyed it very much, and I hope you did too.

walking logo

Thank you very much for all your support, and lovely comments.  I have a fine time walking with you every week.  If you’d like to join me, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page or just a click on the logo above.  Next comes the good bit.  Put the kettle on and get ready for a good read!


Humble apologies are due!  I forgot to include this walk last week, so please rush over there first :

Urban Walk 2- Toronto Cityscape

Totally opposite in every way- beach shots to die for with Anabel!

Faraid Head

You can walk, or take the train.  Either way, you’re bound to love the views!

A Walk in the Cinque Terre

Amy’s world is beautiful!  Have you noticed?

Monday Walk : Architecture Walk, Austin, part 4

I’ve heard so many good things about Berlin.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Day 1- Dublin to Germany

A trip back in time with Drake this week?  Any trip with Drake is good!

Yesterday, nowadays

And now for something completely different.  Many thanks, Elena!

Renaissance Fair in Las Vegas

You wouldn’t get this level of activity on a UK beach ever, I don’t think!  Lazy, aren’t we, Pauline?

Early Morning Beach Activities

Ruth has a totally fascinating tour for us this week.  One not to miss :

Port Arthur Convict Settlement

The highlight of Geoff’s post for me is Wimbledon Park tube station.  A blast from my youth!

Capital Ring- Earlsfield to Richmond

Jude always shares beautiful walks but she has really blown me away with this contribution!

A Walk on a Wild Ridge

If you really want to test your fitness levels, this could be the place :

A Tale of Two Peaks- Part 2

Once in a while I find something a bit different.  For the foodies among you- say ‘hi’ to Ishita :

Iva’s Yummy Ljubljananjam Food Walk

Talking about unusual, thanks for these ‘wild’ animals in the city, Becky!

Panthers in Pittsburgh

I haven’t had a stroll with my friend Esther for a while.  Sing along, won’t you?

Walk- Down the Canyon

The title of this next post could really have described mine, but they couldn’t be more different!

Walking, Sailing, Walking, Wading

And you can always rely on Gilly to find the beauty in life :

A Green Circle Walk

Or maybe a stroll in sunny Munich will suit?  Thanks, Rosemay!

Nymphenburg The Summer Palace

Lastly, Denzil does his very best to give us a smile on a grey day :

Grey day in Grez-Doiceau

Lots this week, aren’t there?  I do hope you can find the time to visit, and many thanks to all of you for keeping me such good company.  I have one more Algarve walk in reserve, but next week I’m going to hurl myself into an English Autumn, before it passes me by.  I’d love for you to join me. Have a great week, won’t you?


  1. This walk definitely gets me in the mood for flip-flops! I’d love to while away a day on the boat ride and on this beach. The top 15 in the world? Not sure about that, but it seems pretty nice to me. 🙂

    1. I’m really missing my flip flops, Cathy, but fleecy slippers are more appropriate right now. Thanks for spending so much time with me. 🙂 You must have lots of China posts written by now.

      1. Yes, flip-flops are a dream of the past, Jo, at least now in chilly December. I’m about done with my China posts; maybe one or two more wrap-up posts. But I have a lot to post about things here at home, and am still plodding along through Myanmar’s thousands of pics. 🙂

  2. Ahh just gorgeous. Thank you for bringing to life the experience of sinking bare feet into lovely wet sand. The joy of shell hunting is all here for me to enjoy on a Monday so I am grateful! The beach is natural and unspoilt and what a great bonus to have it to yourself pretty much. Your beach compositions are beautiful. What a walk!

  3. So many beautiful shades of blue! I especially loved the multi-colored water in the last three photos. It’s amazing that such gorgeous beaches have so few visitors.

    1. I love the beach but that viewpoint from the village has to be my favourite in the whole of the Algarve, Nicki. 🙂 It’s just one endless string of beaches, and this is not so accessible, which helps to keep it quiet.

  4. Once again you have convinced me that I must sail to Algarve someday Jo! Absolutely magical. That picture of the fortress reflected at low tide almost made me cry it was so beautiful!

    1. I think you’d like what you find, Lisa. The Algarve has its touristy spots but if you take the trouble to look beyond the resorts there’s a world of natural beauty. Thank you so much for your sweet words. 🙂

  5. I thought our last saunter in Cacela Velha couldn’t be beat, but I think I loved this even more. And your images do full justice too Jo! Hope your photo memory issues are all sorted.

    1. I just bought Premium, Madhu, but I’ve been grumpy and under the weather lately and haven’t got round to putting the sidebar stuff back in yet. Think I will only use a minimum amount anyway because I haven’t noticed a difference in my number of visits. Thank you very much! I’m cheered up now 🙂

    1. Lovely to have your company! 🙂 We’re having a little remnant of Summer in the UK. Strangely disorienting but very nice. One minute I’m muffled in a jacket, the next, sitting on a park bench in t-shirt. 🙂

  6. Hi Restless One! Had to drop by and check out your walk for this week – I am almost back in blog mode (I think) and so no walks for me yet…. but I truly Enjoyed Cacela Velha with you… the anchor shots were my fav – actually – I also LOVED the scattered boats in the one: “Sitting at a Fabrica beach bar”

    1. Hi sweetheart! 🙂 I’ve looked for you a couple of times, Yvette, when you’ve tweeted or I’ve caught a glimpse of you somewhere. Obviously a busy Summer, and so long as you’re happy, hon. and the boys are in good shape- what else matters? 🙂 Many thanks for dropping by. Your take on life is missed. 🙂

      1. You are so sweet Restless one, and you actually encouraged me when I had top pause for my break in June – so thanks for that – you just reminded me that I came back strong after last year’s break – and well – I am not sure how this year will unfold -but missing it much – and glad I was able to catch your walk today – have a great rest of the week – ❤

  7. I love boats so this was a perfect walk for me, Jo. I’d be out on one of those if I could make my way out of the laidback bars and restaurant 😀 This certainly is a beautiful beach. When I was a teenager I lived next to a very private beach (private because it was hard to get to). One day a film crew came along and started filming a movie at the beach about a castaway. They said they chose the beach because it was the most natural and pristine they had ever seen in Australia (and given the amount of awesome beaches in Australia this was a huge call). BUT they then proceeded to change it and placed fake boulders and stuff all over the place. They ended up leaving it pretty messy and the people in the town weren’t happy. When I watched the movie, the beach looked nothing like the pristine one one at my doorstep (and you could tell the boulders were fake). I don’t know why I told you this story, the thought must have popped into my head with your description ‘one of the best 15 beaches in the world’. 😀

  8. Lovely boat ride and wander along the beach with you Jo. Doing a bit of fossicking and admiring the artistic creations along the way. Nothing from me this week as I am getting organised to leave for NZ in 2 days time.

  9. I like all of your walks. I enjoy the ones of nature best. How kind and thoughtful you are to highlight our walks and also take time to write an intro for each walk. 🙂

  10. More blue Monday… what lovely gentle shades there are in your second home. I have had a lovely paddle in that warm turquoise water and enjoyed looking for shells with you. And now for a relaxing rest on that bench with a view. You do have a lot of walks this week! I shall see if I can get around to visiting them tomorrow. Meanwhile I have a few benches to catch up with 😉

  11. wonderful stroll on the beach! soft sandy shores and blue skies. so peaceful and i could almost feel the warm breeze! lovely pictures as always, Jo. love those great finds: “art” at the beach. 🙂

  12. Well I love it of course 🙂 Top 15? I suspect that would be mostly what I call sterile, white sand, but I prefer a bit of character and texture for walking, not soft stuff to lie on!

  13. Jo I can hardly believe the endless fine sand. It reminds me of some of the beaches in the Caribbean although more interesting with the tidal pools. I love finding unusual plants or ‘art’ on the beach. I always wonder what the person was thinking in the creation.

    1. Happy birthday, lovely lady! I hope you’re going out to play soon? 🙂
      I’ve never been to the Carib, Sue, so I’ve no way to compare, but the Algarve does alright by me. 🙂

      1. Well and i have never been to the Algarve. We shall live vicariously through one another. Thank you for the kind bday wishes. Headed to my Mom’s tomorrow to help her move so a day of getting organized. Lots of celebrating this past weekend. 🙂

      2. Hope the move goes smoothly, Sue, and Mom settles happily in her new place. I’d send you a big dollop of fig and almond icecream to celebrate but it’d go all gloopy in the post 😦

  14. Another delightful stroll, Jo. What a gorgeous view from that beach bar! I went back to your 2014 post to remind myself of how you came to fall. I notice i hadn’t liked it then, but rectified that. Maybe it was the scary falling bit I didn’t like. That reminds me of how I provided some comic relief when we went to scatter Mom’s ashes, but that’s a story for another day in paradise. 🙂

  15. Very beautiful and unspoilt Jo and the Fabrica beach bar looks an excellent spot to watch the world go by! A lovely view from the fort too – I can see why you love the Portuguese coast 🙂 Thanks so much for including my Munich walk this week – I’ll be back a bit later to catch up on all the other walks as dinner beckons now! Hope you have a lovely week and looking forward to an English autumnal ramble next week!

    1. You’re more than welcome, Rosemay. I’m not long home from a foggy Autumn morning walk. Can’t wait to see how those shots turned out but I already have a lovely arboretum walk for you next week. Take care of yourself and enjoy all that company 🙂

    1. If I remember or can find the time I come and sit on the odd bench with you on your other blog 🙂 Palm trees would struggle to grow out on those sandbars! To me it is a quite magical landscape, but I would go easy with the claims to fame too. Many thanks for your walk (I’m just back from a foggy English one you might have liked better 🙂 )

  16. Lovely beach – top 15? Not sure. The one in my post is just as beautiful and I have another great one in this week’s walk which I’m about to ping across. The difference is the temperature of course, and that’s where yours would win hands down! I like nice, empty beaches for strolling along and yours fits that bill too. Thanks, as always, for the mention.

    1. You’re very welcome, Anabel 🙂 I’m pretty sure there are stunning beaches out there that I’ll never see, but in the end it doesn’t really matter does it- so long as you’re happy with what you have 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  17. You really did have that beach to yourself didn’t you? It looked like it, such a beautiful place, so relaxing. The walk across to the fort reminded me of the one I took with my mum in Jersey. We had to make sure to get back in time before the sea cut us off, amazing how fast the tide comes in isn’t it? Have a great week Jo 🙂

    1. Hi Sherri! 🙂 I meant to get to yours first this week, but you beat me again. I actually managed to finish this post yesterday evening instead of the mad Monday scramble it sometimes is to get it finished. But then I went walking in the fog 🙂 🙂
      I love the sandbars! They’re my little bit of magic 🙂 Another week of editing and happiness to you too!

      1. Thanks Jo! I’m trying to keep on top of things…trying…and thought I’d surprise you, ha! 😉 Hope you’re having a good week too… xx

  18. We just had the first frosty nights in Norway so I really appreciated the glow of the sun, the sand and the brights skies, Jo. Beautiful impressions!

    1. I’m wishing myself back there, Dina, but got to make the most of what we have. So long as the Autumn colour lasts I’m fairly happy 🙂 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

    1. We had a spectacular sunrise here, Tish, and I was full of hope for our walk this morning. The clouds are rolling back in but we’ll make the most of the Autumn colour anyway. Have a good week! 🙂 🙂

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