The best independent guide to Tavira
The best independent guide to Tavira
Tavira is regarded as the most attractive resort town of the eastern Algarve coastline. This guide will provide a suggested 2 day itinerary for Tavira and the surround region. A stay of 2 days in Tavira provides for a pleasant introduction to the town and is the recommended minimum length of stay for a touring holiday. The actual town can be easily explored in a single day, and the second day allows for a visit to the glorious beach of Praia de Tavira or a visit to the fishing village of Santa Luzia and the anchor cemetery.
The first part of the day is spent exploring the narrow cobbled streets that surround the Gilao River. The centre of Tavira is an extremely pretty place with tiled and traditional painted houses overlooking the moored fishing fleet. Highlights of the centre include:
• The Ponte Romana Bridge that spans the cooling Gilao River.
• The grand Praça da Republic square with the stately town hall
• The charming water front, cafes and restaurants of the Rua do Cais
• The Baroque Carmo Church
• The delightful tiled exterior of the Livramento chapel
The historic centre of tavira
The second part of the day is spent exploring further up the hills of Tavira. Suggested sights after lunch include:
• The 13th century castle with the highly fortified battlements and wonderful views over the centre of the town.
• The Santo Maria church the most important church of Tavira, which was constructed on the site of an ancient mosque
• The old water tower which has been converted into a 360 degree camera
• The view over the river from the main bridge to the east of the city.
The second day is spent exploring the region that surrounds Tavira. Depending on the weather and your style of holiday there are two alternative suggested destinations. The day could be spent on the stunning Ilha de Tavira beach or exploring the octopus fishing village of Santa Luzia and then the former tuna fishing community close to the Praia do Barril.
Early risers should begin the day by visiting the large market on the south eastern side of Tavira. Here the diverse catch from the fishing fleet is sold to restaurants and traders but it is all finished by mid-morning.
The Ilha de Tavira is the best beach of the region, and is connected to Tavira by a frequent inexpensive ferry service. The sand bar island stretches for over 10km and offers beautiful golden sands, clean bathing waters and great tourists facilities. The beach of Ilha de Tavira is ideal for those visitors who wish to have a relaxing day.
The stunning beach of the Ilha de Tavira
Santa Luzia is a small fishing town that specialises in the capture of octopus. This acquired tasting Portuguese delicacy is sold in the restaurants that line the front of the harbour where the colourful fishing boats are moored during the day.
In the next village, a mini train takes visitors out to Praia do Barril, which was the seasonal home of a tuna fishing community. As the tuna stocks were depleted, the village was abandoned and the charming abandoned houses have been converted into beach bars and restaurants. Tuna fishing requires a complex series of nets held in place by many anchors; these anchors of the former fleet have been converted into a permanent rusting memorial, appropriately called the anchor cemetery.
The Cemetery of Anchors on the Ilha de Tavira
Santa Luzia and the mini train can be easily reached by hiring a bike and using the dedicated cycle paths. For walkers there is an extended route that connects Praia do Barril and returns via the Ilha de Tavira.
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