Destinations / February 19, 2017. By Susan Connolly
You’ll love the relaxed, peaceful nature of Tavira where you can spend time at one of the nearby beaches swimming in the warm sea water. Explore the town for a bite to eat, sit at an open air café or take in an art exhibition. There are plenty of things to do and see in Tavira especially if you’d like to experience the historic nature of the Algarve.
The river is a defining natural feature of Tavira. A seven- arched bridge Ponte Romana, stretches over the River Gilão linking the two parts of the city. Cafés and bars line the picturesque riverfront. We love it at night when the lights are on.
The gardens near the bridge Jardim de Coreto are a pleasant shady place to sit.
You can get the best view of Tavira from the castle walls high above the town. Built in the 13th after the town was captured from the Moors, the Castle was partially destroyed in the 1755 earthquake.
There are 37 churches in and around Tavira, the 16th century Igreja da Misericórdia is often cited as one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in the Algarve, with its carved doorway, blue and white azueljos, and magnificent carvings in the church’s interior.
Facing the church walk up the cobblestone street to the right and you will arrive at Casa do Fado
The Fado with history experience is the idea of local fadistas to promote the music. The live sessions from Monday to Saturday last 30 minutes and are a great introduction to this traditional song. It starts with a brief video presentation explaining the history of fado. There are descriptions of different instruments and styles and then a live performance accompanied by Portuguese guitar.
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Layers of history can be seen in Tavira from Phoenician excavations through Islamic decorated doorways. The modern museum in Tavira encapsulates the Islamic heritage with exhibits from the 11th to the 13th centuries. Artefacts from excavations in the historic centre of the city include; pots, plates, oil lamps, tiles and various utensils many of which are in superb condition. The most valuable item on display is the so-called “Vaso de Tavira” Tavira vase, a unique piece set with clay figures dating from the 11th century.
Enjoy a fish lunch at the informal Três Palmeiras, fresh fish grilled to perfection accompanied with a salad and potatoes for €10.
It is worth visiting the old covered market Mercado da Ribeira, revamped several years ago with are shops, cafés and restaurants around the edge and a central space available for exhibitions and special events. When I’m in town I like to sit outside facing the river and enjoy a coffee or hand-made ice cream at Deilzia. Freshly made every day with only natural ingredients and seasonal flavours. Although strawberry ice cream is one of the bestselling they only make it when strawberries are in season.
It is possible to explore the beautiful Ria Formosa natural park a haven for migratory birds and sealife. Sightseeing cruises operate from Tavira’s riverfront.
The beach in Tavira is an island beach the enormous sand bank stretches for about 14km west. Ferries cross from the riverfront throughout the year and all year round from Quatro Águas 2 kms east of the town centre.
Are you inspired to visit Tavira? Let us know you thoughts in the comments below we’d love to hear from you.