The region of Tavira is eastern Algarve’s jewel! The city boasts a rich past, interesting tourist attractions, and beautiful sandy beaches. Tavira is a perfect holiday destination and just as pleasant as the surrounding lively cities.
Tavira has a beautiful historic background as it was once an important Moorish trading town and later became a major port, in the 14th century. Along the historic sights, there are plenty of riverside walks, lively streets full of restaurants and cafes and splendid plazas.
Tavira's Castle is the best reliquary of the Moorish period, with its almoravian walls dating back to the 1000’s. The castle was built to guard the river and the city, and since it’s in the highest point of the city, you are able to enjoy a splendid panorama from the Albarran tower. This kind of watchtower was a typical element of Moorish fortresses.
Originally the Igreja de Santa Maria was the largest mosque of all in the Algarve, and after Tavira reconquest in 1242 it was turned into a cathedral. After the earthquake of 1755, the original Gothic church was rebuilt in a neoclassical style.
The church was built as an initiative of the Order of Santiago by D. Paio Peres Correia to replace the Arab mosque that existed here. The mosque is thought to have served the Medina (fortified city) of Tavira. Although its existence hasn't been proven archaeologically, in 1718, a tomb with a corpse and an Alfange (type of Moorish sword) was found.
Every morning, the vibrant market of Mercado Municipal cheers its visitors with the fresh seafood, fresh fruit, and local handicrafts. This is a wonderful place to enjoy traditional Portuguese everyday life and to also shop for some souvenirs!
This unique looking tower is situated in the top part of Tavira's skyline of traditional houses and churches and has become a respectable tourist attraction. The Camera Obscura enables visitors to discover the city through the inside of a giant photography machine.
Visiting the Camera Obscura truly is an enriching experience as it uses the principle law of optics which created the basics of photography used by Leonardo da Vinci back in the days!
The Gilão is a hallmark of Tavira's natural beauty. This vast picturesque stretch of water connected to the city on both sides by a low-arched Roman footbridge is particularly charming at night. On the south of the canal, you can enjoy the most enticing and calming sightseeing.
The main public transportation system available in the Algarve is the BUS network, however, be prepared to find a Bus system quite different from what you have back home. The main company for inter-city buses is EVA. They connect most of the Algarve’s cities and travel to Lisbon and Spain as well. For more information, visit their timetables for all routes.
Tavira has a stunning coastline with golden beaches, calm turquoise sea and untouched landscapes of nature. Praia de Tavira is the most popular beach, while the quiet Praia da Terra Estreita or the Praia do Barril with anchor graveyard are more close to the shoreline.
The Algarve offers 3000 hours of sun per year and a weak average precipitation rate. Winter exists but is normally short, rainy and soft, with temperatures going from 10ºC (min) to 18ºC (max) on average. Spring is always uncertain in terms of rain, but temperatures normally go from 12ºC (min) to 22ºC (max). Summer in the Algarve is long, hot and dry, extends from the middle of May to the end of September, with temperatures oscillating between 19ºC (min) and 30ºC (max), on average. The interior is much hotter than at the coastline. The highest ever recorded temperature in the Algarve was 44ºC at the Faro Airport region in July 2004. Autumn normally begins with the first rains of October and an average temperature drop to about 16ºC (min) and 25ºC (max).
Portugal may not have had the same media attention like Spain or Italy or France in Europe, but its gastronomy is world renown and all Portuguese locals know the true value of a proper meal paired with the right wine and with the best table with friends and family. The Algarve is no exception. Dive into the local dishes and let yourself be blown away. Here follow a few of our recommendations for a few fantastic dining and bar experiences in Tavira:
The closest airport to Tavira is Faro International Airport (FAO). It is currently the third largest airport in terms of traffic in Portugal just after Humberto Delgado Airport (Lisbon) and Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport (Porto). Currently, most of the movements registered at the Faro International Airport are due to the large increase in the low-cost connections, increasing its influence in the southwestern corner of the country. To cope with increased traffic, the airport has been expanded and substantially modernised in recent years featuring a track with 2,490 meters of length and 45 of width by which can receive all types of aeroplanes.
One of the most fun things to do in the Algarve is shopping. The best thing about shopping here are the opening hours. From early morning till late in the evening the shops are open. So whether you are looking for new bathers before hitting the beach, an easy shop break after lunch or dinner, the international, Portuguese and designer stores are there to please you.
If you’re up for fresh food and handmade goods, head out to Mercado Nacional de Tavira or Gran-Plaza Tavira, but if you fancy strolling around make sure to visit all the small shops spread around the town.
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