Rather like a British chain-run pub this site is operated for maximum profit (not necessarily be a bad thing).
A clear indication of this is watching how things are done at the cafe/bar area. Unlike the laissez-faire style that we associate with most bars and eateries of the mediterranean, here the measures are spot-on, the portions small and the delivery hurried and impersonal.
Given this attention to the nitty-gritty of eagle-eyed measures and portions you would hope that the hygiene level was also well-observed.
The cafe/bar which is supposed to open at 9am (10am is nearer the truth) still has the previous night's detritus on the tables attracting a plethora of insects.
Never once did I see any surfaces being wiped after use. Vacated tables and busy serving areas were not wiped and the walkways remained unswept.
You will also be subjected to the staff's choice of 2 CDs - played at just the wrong side of loud.
In our case this was either the best of Bob Marley (whom I love - but not on incessant repeat) or an album of French sub-pop music.
The nadir of the catering area is the absence of a delineated smoking zone. The proprietor (Dona Isabel) happened to be on-site the day I wished to remonstrate about this.
Through her English-speaking duty manager she immediately blamed Portuguese law for not legislating.
I suggested that such buck-passing wasn't a particularly proactive approach and that perhaps if she took the iniative to kick-start the idea, by at the very least partitioning the seated area in front of the caféteria then public opinion and then statute may follow.
I was politely thanked for my socialist idea(l)s.
I then noticed that 99% of the staff smoke.
The camping areas are vast and we had no problem finding a decent pitch. You're picthing into sand too which makes life easier. Pine trees provided ample shade where needed.
Communal barbecue areas were dotted around the place and were perfectly adequate. Sardine grills were available for about €5 from the supermarket.
The supermarket sold on-site baked bread and was good for dried goods and drinks. A trip into Tavira is necessary if you want fresh meat.
The shower block and lavatories were cleaned each morning.
A hot shower costed €1 (approx 5 mins timed)
Like most of Portugal, Wi-Fi is unavailble. If you do need to be online then make sure you are travelling with a 3G device.
There is a steam-operated internet workstation in the reception area which, at time of writing charged €1 for 20 minutes.
The beach itself (the one great thing about our visit) will afford you some respite from the downsides of the campsite.
It's long, sandy, lifeguard-protected, clean and bloated with sun-loungers, a traditional doughnut-vendor (Balinhos!), a good beach bar and most importantly perfect surf for swimmers and paddlers alike.
Naturists will be grateful with the small-country-sized area they have been set aside.
Between the campsite and the beach you are forced through a mini frontier-town of restaurants all vying for your custom.
They were all much of a muchness and plied the same locally-caught fare - patronage is most likely to be decided by the clipjoint tenacity of the guys working the entrance.
At €10 per person, per night (travelling with your own tent) Camping Tavira is without question a budget campsite.
The customer service is appalling - what they forget is that even though you may have only pitched a tent there, that you are still their guest and that they should afford you the due courtesy of a host.
I observed several somewhat heated exchanges at the reception area that could have been assuaged with more gracious staff than the surly teenagers whom had been left in charge.
- Also Known As:
- Camping Tavira Portugal - Algarve