Tavira is one of the Algarve’s favorite destinations. It is an old coastal town built on both sides of the Gilão River that has been thriving with the growing tourism and its fishing industry. It has a modern bridge and one of the Roman times, and an island-isle Tavira-near its coast. Around the town there are beaches such as the beautiful Praia de Barril and several vacation developments such as Pedras D’el Rei. If we want to eat good fish we can try the local restaurants or move to the small fishing village of Santa Luzia.
Tavira’s historic buildings were erected in the eighteenth-century fashion after the city was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. Previously, Tavira was already an important port that traded with the north of Africa centuries before Christ. If we leave the centre, the Praça da República, we can go along the riverside in Rua da Galería and see a beautiful church, the Igreja da Miserícordia. In its interior there are biblical scenes shown in artistic tile and elements that go from baroque to neoclassical. In the vicinity lies the local castle, the Castelo that opens weekdays and the neighboring Santa Maria do Castelo where rest the mortal remains of Dom Paio Peres Correia, the Conqueror who won the Algarve in the reconquest Iberian and expelled the Arabs of Tavira in 1242. In fact this church is an ancient mosque.
The best promenade in Tavira follows the riverside to explore the alleys that are born on the sides and its beautiful restaurants. There is a shopping and cultural center, the old Market da Ribeira by the river where there are cafes and boutiques and exhibitions of local artists.
The best promenade in Tavira follows the riverside to explore the alleys that are born on the sides and its beautiful restaurants.
After the market, there is the fish and fishing boats. In this area there are many restaurants that offer fresh fish. Next to the bridge is the city market, where we can buy at good price fresh fruit.
The Tavira bus station is very close to the centre of Tavira, the Praça da República. The train station is a short walk from the centre down by Dr Mateus Teixeira de Azevedo and the Rua da Liberdade. The tourist office is next to Praça de República, on Rua da Galería. The center of Tavira is complicated for cars and it is better to park in a free parking that is enabled (follow the signs to Quatro Águas).
Bikes can be rented at Sport Nautica, Rua Jacques Pessoa 26.
The ferry that leads to Ilha Tavira leaves next to the old Mercado da Ribeira, in the Doca de Pesca.
Although Tavira is not as crowded as other areas of the Algarve, it has many hotels and quite level. You can check out the latest online offers. Stand:
Vila Galé Tavira: Rua 4 de Outubro. 4 Star Hotel offers elegant Arab decorations that reflect the history of southern Portugal. Spacious rooms with balcony. Indoor pool.
Porta Nova: Rua Antonio Pinheiro. Outdoor swimming pool. Moderate price.
Eating in Tavira
Beira Rio, Rua Borda da Água de Assêca 46. Restaurant with a very nice terrace. Perfect for simple meals. Cheap.
Quatro Águas, in Quatro Águas, next to the ferry exit to the Isle of Tavira. It is a very level restaurant specializing in seafood and fish cataplana. It’s not cheap.
Terraces and bars
The best views of the river are given by the Gilão Terrace, in the middle of the trees. In Largo do Trem there is a terrace that is encouraged at dusk where you can also spend a pleasant time.
The only pub in Tavira is UBI, EnRua Vale Caranguego. Locals usually have drinks in the neighboring bar Bubi bar.
Ilha de Tavira
The island of Tavira is halfway between Fuzeta and Tavira and you can catch the ferry directly on the banks of Tavira, in Quatro Aguas. There are also aquataxis where up to 6 people can be fitted.
The island is protected natural space and has a giant beach and a campground with a small supermarket.
Getaway to Santa Luzia
Santa Luzia is a small fishing village 3 km from Tavira. There is a daily bus that takes us to the small village where we can observe the octopus fishing. The best restaurant is Capela, in Avenida Engheneiro Duarte Pacheco, where we can dine on the terrace.
A walk along the coast will take us to the marshes and the Praia do Rei. From here part a small tourist train that takes us to the Long Beach of Barril, one of the best beaches of the Algarve.
Pedras D’el Rei
Beyond Santa Luzia, 4 kilometres from Tavira this pedras D’el Rei where there are great holiday villas and apartments designed for family tourism with children’s entertainment areas. You can stay at the comfortable Hotel Pedras D’el Rei, with terraces overlooking the marshes. Old fishermen’s houses are now cafes and restaurants focused on tourism.