I have to love the resourcefulness of some of the Portugese men who will offer to take you on any size of boats to see the sights or do a little fishing in Tavira. I was frankly surprised that some of the boats were small row boats or boats with a small engine. I didn't stop to ask about the rates since we were really not interested in going but given the number of boats on an early May weekend available there is no doubt we could have negotiated a good price.
Boats are available for rental or charter at the wharf in the western side of Tavira.
Tavira as well as the other towns of the Algarve are ripe with decorative tiles called Azulejos. These decorative tiles were used first by the Moors to provide identification and beauty to the inside and outside of their buildings. They are even applied to ceilings and floors. These tiles can be viewed walking the streets of Tavira, as well as in municipal buildings, train stations, churches and throughout the community. In many churches and municipal buildings they display scenes from Portugal's history some in vivid detail. Some of them are quite stunning and parishioners of churches were willing to show off the tiles but did not want pictures taken of them for fear that they could be damaged from the camera. I wish I would have taken more pictures of them in the short time we were in Portugal.
They are as ever popular today as they were five centuries ago in Portugal. Their beauty is definitely worth a look as you explore the Algarve.
Urban space is limited in Tavira. So hundreds of years ago rooftop terraces and gardens became a popular way to make better use of urban space. During the spring and summer months rooftop terraces are often times the main area of family living. They provide both shade and comfort from the heat of the intense Algarve summers. They are also a place for the family to enjoy meals and a play games.
One of the most distinctive landmarks of Tavira is its seven arched bridge. Thought for many years to be of Roman construction it was determined to actually have been constructed by the Moors. In 1755 it was one of the few structures in town to survive the devastating Lisbon earthquake which leveled much of coastal Portugal.
The bridge is a joy to walk over. You can sometimes feel movement on the bridge if you walk in the middle of it. Autos are not allowed on it. Interestingly the three times we walked over it the water level was significantly different on two of those ocassions. This suggests that the River Gilao.
The bridge is also a focal point by which many restaurants on both sides of the street tend to want to maximize based on their placement of small tables and chairs outside of their establishments.
After the conquest of Tavira by the Portuguese, in the 13th century, the mosque inside the castle was replaced by a christian church.
Lisbon's earthquake damaged it, and it was reconstructed, using all the possible elements of its Gothic conception.
June 24th is St John's Day “Sao Joao”, it is a most famous festival of Tavira, because Sao Jaoa is savior of the town. I really enjoyed stay in Tavira during the festival week, especially I liked to see how people prepare for it, how they decorate streets and parks, then how they enjoy the day with parade, performances, dances, loteries, etc... I fell in love with Tavira and unspoilt way to celebrate.
I love this beach, because it is on island of Tavira, you can't get there unles you have a boat or you get a water taxi, or ferry. Not a crowded place, nice sand and and not too hot water. By the way, water level is changing in the morning and afternoon and sometimes it can look as bottom of the ocean goes deeply too fast, but when water is higher and takes bigger area of sand, then you get longer way to the deep places...
Tavira is crossed by Gilão river, a small river that allows some agriculture. Its main point is the roman bridge in the centre of town,and, we may say, the baptism point.
Yes, there's a funny thing that I can't explain: Why does this river, named Séqua, arriving to the bridge, change its name to Gilão?
With a rich history from its Phoenician (?) foundation, including Roman and Muslim occupation, Tavira is making a strong effort to collect signs of those times. In several places, it's possible to see excavations, and important remains that are being studied and classified.
The Islamic museum should be already open, and the Phoenician wall will be explained to visitors soon.
The centre of the city was modernised, respecting all the traditional buildings and streets. Strolling along the small city centre is easy and pleasant, with a few historic elements side by side with modern shops and restaurants. Not bad!
The municipal market was moved to a new place, but the old building, in the centre of town, was transformed in a mall, keeping its old look. It was a good idea, embellishing the city, though it didn't add much, in a commercial point of view. Focused in tourism, the main business are cafes.
For many decades, I don't see any band using a band stand - different ways of fraternizing and performing made them useless, but they remain a symbol of the good romantic days, embellishing gardens and enriching the youth's imagination, unable to understand why their grand parents used them instead of mp3 readers.
Tavira wisely preserved it, and it is the main detail in the small central garden.
Close to Carmo church there's a former convent with the same name, built in the 18th century, one century later abandoned by the church and occupied by government. Nowadays it is used for several purposes connected with school and arts, including music and cinema.
This small chapel beside the river was erected in the second half of the 18th century and belonged to the fraternity of Our Lady of Piety. The main doorway, which is identical to some doorways in the Monastery of Graca, is decorated with a burning heart pierced by a sword. Inside, there is a late Baroque retable with a painting of Our Lady of Piety.
Formerly located outside of the city, this small medieval chapel was originally administered by the São Brás' brotherhood. It possesses only one nave and chancel and its façade features a window with expressive frames from the Rococo period.
This hotel is in a great location because its just near the path that leads to the ferry that takes...more
Privately owned appartments, very well kept , theyare for rent when the owners are not there, one...more
The hotel porta nova is in a great location in Tavira, really central but slightly elavated so you...more