Wander around a maze of cobblestone streets, stopping off at Renaissance churches, medieval castles and restaurants serving up the Algarve’s fine seafood.
Tavira is one of the Algarve’s most enchanting towns. With its ancient heritage, historic landmarks and pristine coastal reserves, the town is considered one of the treasures of southern Portugal. Explore the streets of Tavira and see the captivating history of this ancient settlement in its preserved streetscape. Stretch out on secluded beaches and indulge in delicious seafood hauled in daily from local fishing boats.
The grand square, Praça de República, is a great place to begin your discovery of the old town. The town’s Tourist Information Centre is located here, so drop in and find out what’s happening during your stay. Admire the heritage buildings adorned by the awnings of cafés and the monumental architecture of the Câmara Municipal de Tavira (Tavira Town Hall). Go to the restored 17th-century Roman Bridge spanning the arterial Gilão River on the northern side of the square or wander south to find a collection of historic churches.
One of the town’s architectural wonders is the Renaissance-era Misericórdia Church, which has exquisite tiled imagery and an immense gilded altarpiece inside. Other preserved churches include the Igreja de Santiago and the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo. Climb the crumbling stone turrets of Tavira Castle and enjoy unparalleled views across the rooftops of the old town, stretching all the way to the mouth of the Gilão River and the sandy beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean.
Catch a ferry down the river to Ilha de Tavira, the stunning sandbar island southeast of the town. Protected by the Ria Formosa Natural Park, this island is a haven for flora and fauna. Tavira’s most popular spots for swimming and relaxing on the sandy shores are Ilha de Tavira Beach and Terra Estreita Beach.
Be sure to try some of Tavira’s fantastic local seafood, plucked daily from the river and the Atlantic waters. Check out the cafés and restaurants in the town square and the Market Hall (Mercado da Ribeiro) and pair your dish with a local wine.
Reach Tavira via the regional train that connects the eastern Algarve region. The town is a 30-minute drive from the regional hub of Faro. Visit Tavira between May and September for a sun-soaked vacation.