Tavira is one of the smaller towns in the Algarve and it is also relatively quieter than the other bustling cities in Portugal. However, Tavira is considered a hidden gem because of its beauty and history. So if you are interested in a place away from the famous tourist hotspots while also being authentic enough to discover the essence of Portugal, then Tavira is what you’re looking for! This blog will help navigate and expose you to the top things to do in Tavira.
A brief geography of Tavira
The town is originally built and shaped by the Romans and then the Moors. The rich history of Tavira is evident in the elegant and historic architecture that is still standing until today. Among many other landmarks and architectures, Tavira hosts a collection of sophisticated palaces and mansions, remarkable churches, town squares, and bridges. Flowing through the middle of the town is the Gilao River which can be entered from the Atlantic Ocean. The Gilao River stretches far and into the shallow mudflats of the Ria Formosa natural park.
Tavira is also known for its beautiful secluded beaches and authentic picturesque fishing villages. You can find exquisite seafood cuisines here while enjoying a relaxing seaside getaway. On top of that, the serene environment and old cobbled streets support people who are looking for a cycling holiday because most of its city squares could not be approached by other methods of transport. If you are interested in a cycling holiday, then you can get a bike tour or bike rental in Tavira. There are endless opportunities in Tavira that you won’t regret!
Here are the top things to do in Tavira!
The remnant of an ancient Arab civilization, Tavira Castle dates back to the 13th century. There is not much left of this Moorish castle except for its majestic outer walls. However, what is left of the castle is still an impressive sight: Narrow-stone steps lead to one of the last remaining watchtowers that beholds a spectacular view of the town and the ocean. There is also a courtyard that has now become a garden that hosts bougainvillea and other blossoming flowers.
Praca da Republica
The beginning of your walk around Tavira is this elegant pedestrian square. This whitewashed square is surrounded by hipped-roof style architecture and cobbled streets. You can also find bars, restaurants, and a historic Moorish horseshoe arch. However, Praca da Republica is only accessible by foot or on bicycles, so we suggest you rent a bike for the best way to explore this delightful town.
Only a short stroll from Praca da Republica, the Roman Bridge is considered an important landmark of Tavira. The bridge sits on the tidal river Gilao and provides stunning scenery, especially at night. From here, you can explore the markets for trinkets and hidden gems.
You haven’t fully explored Tavira without discovering their remarkable churches. One of which is Igreja da Misericordia. This Renaissance church is every bit as beautiful as you imagine! It has high-quality stonework of friezes, doorways, and columns and mesmerizing panels on its walls that show episodes from the Life of Christ. Inside, you can also find stone sculptures of Gargoyles on its columns.
Nucleo Museologico Islamico
Undoubtedly, the Moorish rule left a significant cultural impression throughout the town. You can appreciate this culture and learn about its history through this educational museum. It hosts an array of artefacts, most of which are still in excellent conditions, and a short film with English subtitles that illustrates the Islamic history in Tavira.
If you want to tune into the authentic local life of Tavira, then head on to Santa Luzia fishing village. It is located at the Ria Formosa Natural Park and so you would get stunning views of the park from there. Santa Luzia also has one of the best and peaceful beaches in the region, Praia da Terra Estreita.
Bike Tours and Bike Rentals
Because of its geography and the scarce public transportation in Portugal, renting a bike in Tavira or getting a bike tour is the most enjoyable and reliable way to get around this town. The Unknown Algarve Road Bike Tour is a tour that is specifically tailored for your needs and interests. This means that the tour will be matched by the level of difficulties that you desire. It is also the ideal bike tour because it goes through stunning scenery but away from busy roads, which makes it so much more enjoyable!
If you are not interested in guided bike tours but would still like to try a cycling holiday, don’t worry! Because MTB Algarve also provides bike rentals. We have a range of different types of high-quality bikes for you, from charming city bikes to professional mountain bikes, all are provided!
Let’s Go On A Cycling Holiday!
If you are interested in bike tours and bike rentals, contact our team at MTB Algarve. We are always happy to accommodate you with any questions or wishes you would like for your holiday because we believe that your enjoyment comes first!