Tavira is deservedly renowned for being one of the most picturesque towns on the Algarve. With the serene river setting and classical merchant buildings on each side, plus the 37(!) Churches, the Castle and so much history, it’s not hard to see why. The town is large enough to have everything you want and yet small enough to retain its elegant charm.
There are a number of ways to explore; you can hop aboard the miniature road-train, take a horse-drawn carriage, rent a bike or do it all on foot … stopping as you go for suitable refreshment, of course. You can walk from one side of town to the other in about 15/20 minutes and a guided walk is always good value if you want to learn the history of the area.
On the way, you must sit at one of the many pavement cafes and bars, enjoy “uma bica” (espresso) and “um pastel de nata” (traditional custard tart) and simply watch the world go by.
The main areas are:
At the centre of town, on a small hill rising above the Praca is the Castelo with the landmark clock tower of Igreja da Santa Maria do Castelo. It’s a bit steep in places but well worth it. At the top you can enter the walled grounds of the Castelo ruins and climb on the battlements, where you will have a commanding view across the town and to the sea.
But here we are only scratching the surface, so to find out all this delightful town has to offer, as always, we suggest you refer to the Lonely Planet Guide to the Algarve.