Near Golden Club Cabanas, there are several villages and towns well worth visiting.
Tavira is one of the prettiest towns in Portugal, with its double gabled roofs, 37 churches, medieval castle and walls, Phoenician wells and Roman bridge across the river.
Wandering along the river banks or the meandering streets and alleys, discover a charming town with live performances, arts and handicraft shops. Explore the fish and vegetable market, restaurants and small bars, bakeries and cafés. Try the grilled fish, the tuna estupeta, the cornbread and clam dish xarém com conquilhas, as well as the almond sweets and carob pastries.
Conquered from the Moors in 1242, Tavira flourished with its maritime trade in the 14th and 15th centuries. Many splendid buildings and palaces continued to be built here in the following centuries.
From Golden Club Cabanas, you can walk or cycle to Tavira through the nature reserve and salt pans (6 km, following the Ecovia do Algarve bike trail). There is also a regular bus service (stopping just outside Golden Club).
Perched on a cliff overlooking the lagoon and the sea, we come across Cacela Velha – a small, whitewashed, walled village typical of traditional Algarve architecture, with a fortress dating to the 17th century. The panoramic view, with its blues, greens and golds, is simply stunning.
Cacela Velha was settled by the Phoenicians, Romans and Moors. History lovers can look out for Roman ovens, Moorish ruins and the remains of the medieval wall. The medieval church was rebuilt in the 16th century.
Nearby, on the lagoon shore, the Fábrica restaurant serves up an excellent razor-clam rice as well as fish, oysters, mussels and clams. Boats leave Fábrica for the short hop over to Cacela beach.
From Golden Club Cabanas, you can bike to Cacela Velha (following the Ecovia do Algarve bike trail), or go by car (8 km).
Olhão is an important fishing port where you may still find Algarvian and Moorish-styled houses. Drop in on the market, with its fish, vegetables and local products, before heading into a local tasca to try some of the flavours of this sea and its lands.
Olhão started out as a small fishing village with wooden houses. The São Lourenço Fortress was built in the 17th century to defend the settlement from pirates.
From Olhão, you may catch the boat over to the islands of Culatra and Armona. Near Olhão, you may also visit a former tide mill and spot aquatic birds at Quinta de Marim (the environmental centre of Ria Formosa Nature Reserve).
Olhão is 34 km away from Golden Club Cabanas by car, and a short train journey from Conceição station (a 15-minute walk from the resort).
Santa Luzia is a quiet fishing village some 10 km from Golden Club Cabanas, great for strolling by the lagoon and trying octopus and other Algarve specialities.
In 1577 fishermen built a chapel here dedicated to Saint Luzia. They would fish by hooks and encircle fish in shallow waters with nets hauled to shore. Later they started laying giant nets at sea to catch tuna. In the 1930s, they began fishing for octopus with buckets and pots. Still today, Santa Luzia retains its title as the "octopus capital".
To get to Santa Luzia from Golden Club Cabanas, you could cycle, drive or take a boat tour.