Fun things to do in Tavira

  • Tavira - Portugal
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    Ilha de Tavira

    by travelfrosch Updated Dec 8, 2014

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    Most tourists come to the Algarve for the beach. While the town itself does not have a beach, the sand bar known as Ilha de Tavira features an expansive beach with wonderful sand and water. Shuttle boats depart regularly during peak season (roughly May - October) from the town itself, while year-round service departs from Quatro-águas, about a 20 minute walk away. Take heed of the final departures from the island -- miss the last boat, and you'll have to take a pricey water taxi.

    The boats arrive on the inland side of the island; you'll need to walk along the clearly marked walkway for about 10 minutes through various restaurants and a campground entrance before you get to the beach. The restaurants are pricey, but there's a reasonably priced snack bar on the beach itself that features ice cream, flat bread pizzas, and other drinks and snacks. Alternatively, you could flag down the man who sells "Bolinhas" (Tavira's answer to donuts, something like a beignet) along the beach. Tasty, but definitely a significant departure from the normally healthy fare of southern Portugal.

    The Beach! Sara and Minifrosch The Water Minifrosch at Play Minifrosch dips his toes in the water
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    Stroll Along Rio Gilão

    by travelfrosch Written Nov 28, 2014

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    River strolls are always an enjoyable activity, especially in a lovely location such as this. Supposedly, the river bisecting Tavira changes its name from Rio Gilão to Rio Séqua at the Roman Bridge. If you stay upstream of the bridge, the views are a bit wilder and more barren than the maritime views going the other way. Enjoy the quiet benches and watch the occasional train rumble by on the rail bridge high overhead.

    Minifrosch tries to find some shade River View Desolate stroll On the outskirts of Tavira
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    Santa Maria church

    by solopes Updated Jan 5, 2014

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    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.

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    Archaeological remains

    by solopes Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    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.

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    City Centre

    by solopes Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    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!

    Tavira Tavira Tavira
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    Old Market

    by solopes Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    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.

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    Band stand

    by solopes Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    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.

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    Carmo Convent

    by solopes Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    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.

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    Gilão River

    by solopes Updated Dec 21, 2013

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    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?

    Sequa - Gil��o - Tavira
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    Hire A Boat? Even A Small One?

    by TooTallFinn24 Written Mar 16, 2013

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    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.

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    View the Azulejos

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated May 12, 2012

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    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.

    Azulejos on Tavira Home

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    Rooftop Terraces and Gardens

    by TooTallFinn24 Updated May 11, 2012

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    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.

    Rooftop Terrace for Breakfast in Tavira Rooftop Garden View From Rooftop Terrace View from Rooftop Terrace of Other Terraces

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    Seven Arched Bridge

    by TooTallFinn24 Written May 11, 2012

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    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.

    Seven Arched Bridge from the Distance

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    Sao Joao

    by aterola Updated Oct 12, 2011

    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.

    Festival decorations Festival in Tavira Tavira community works decorated street in Tavira Festival time
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    Beach Isla Tavira

    by aterola Written Oct 12, 2011

    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 Isla beach Road from the ferry to the beach of Tavira On the way to Tavira Isla beach one of few restaurants on the beach of Tavira Shopping on the beach (summer season)
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