For a 2017 holiday that combines fantastic Algarve sunshine with old town charm and unspoiled beaches, Tavira is the answer. Tavira is a small town full of historic sites; there are 30 churches to discover, a medieval castle as well as charming streets to walk peacefully around. If you are looking for a romantic break, Tavira offers plenty of quiet areas and beautiful scenery, for families, there are beaches and activities to entertain everyone. Nature lovers will find plenty to keep them happy, with hiking trails in the stunning countryside. Tavira holidays are not just centred around the town though, Tavira is right in the heart of the popular Algarve, with gorgeous beaches. In Tavira, you are only a short trip away from Faro, known as the gateway to the Algarve and home to some of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Smaller fishing villages along the coast such as Santa Luzia and Luz are also worth a visit for a day trip. Everywhere you look in and around Tavira you will find historic charm as well as breath taking scenery.
Most popular hotels in Tavira
Golden Club Cabanas
Ozadi Tavira Hotel
Vila Gale Tavira
Robinson Club Quinta da Ria
Cabanas Park Resort
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Portuguese
- Time Zone: GMT +0
- Average flight time: 2h 40m
When to go
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Wander the old, cobbled streets for a dose of culture and a glimpse of Tavira’s past. Its maze of winding alleyways is ideal for discovering hidden gems, tiny churches and family-run restaurants. If you’re here for the beaches, you won’t be disappointed. Just a short ferry ride away on the Ilha de Tavira, there’s miles of golden sands waiting for you. The island has plenty of facilities, including watersports, a campsite and plenty of restaurants. Discover the Algarve’s wildlife in the magnificent Ria Formosa National Park or take a boat trip to remember and sail alongside a pod of resident dolphins.
Visit the town of Lagoa by train or by car to make a splash in the waterpark or sample their famous wines. Back in Tavira, there’s a whole host of flavours to discover at the indoor and outdoor markets, plus the wealth of fresh seafood served up on the banks of the Gilao River. Home to an annual seafood festival, the town dishes up seafood delicacies from the region over a period of three weeks. Celebrating the best catches hauled from its seas, Tavira is renowned for its seafood and fish dishes. While you’re deciding which Tavira attraction to soak up next, simply relax by the pool and take in the views in one of Tavira’s many excellent hotels.
Wine and Dine
Portugal is famous for its love of seafood - with cod being a particular favourite, rumoured to be served up in at least 365 different ways. Expect to see it on many traditional Portuguese menus. As well as delicious and fresh seafood, there’s a wide range of recipes to tempt your gastronomic tastebuds. While you’re in Tavira, see if you can track down an authentic bowl of Açorda Alentejana. A garlic broth, poured over bread, is served with a poached egg on top. Delicious.
Don’t forget to pay a visit to a Portuguese bakery on your travels. The country has a sweet tooth and a whole host of buttery, baked morsels to snack on. Try the Pastel de Belém if you can spot them. It’s rumoured that only three people know the original recipe for these light and fluffy pastries. Last but not least, brave drink connoisseurs should try the local ‘firewater’ or Medronho. A brandy with a hot kick, which locals have been known to have for breakfast. If this 48% proof beverage seems a little too adventurous, try the famous Portuguese port instead.
If your family holidays are filled with watersports, long lunches in beachfront cafes and adventurous exploring, Tavira has everything you’d want and more. This town on the Algarve coast offers families a warm welcome, with miles of sandy beach coupled with a whole feast of fun and activities to keep visitors young and old entertained. Kids will love exploring the wilderness of the Ria Formosa National Park or taking to the water on a banana boat ride or whale watching trip.
Ramp up the fun and make a splash in one of the Algarve’s four water parks. All within driving distance, the theme parks offer a great day out for all the family. For more water-based fun on a smaller budget, the natural falls at Pego do Inferno offer a free and relaxing trip away from Tavira’s bustling streets and beach. With tennis, volleyball and football courts, plus a wealth of watersports available on Ilha de Tavira, you don’t need to go too far to find something to do on a holiday to Tavira.
Action and Adventure
A Tavira holiday places you right in the heart of the spectacular Ria Formosa National Park. Covering 18,000 hectares of varying landscape, the park is a fantastic place to explore on foot or by bike. Many cycling tours start in Tavira and offer guided tours of the park and the rest of the Algarve. In the park itself, you can join a guided walking tour, go fishing, rent a kayak or hop on one of the many boat trips exploring the coast. A haven for birdwatchers, the park is a stop-off for birds migrating from Europe to Africa. Pack your binoculars and see if you can spot any rare birds making their way to their winter homes.
Back in Tavira, there’s a wealth of activities to entertain adventurous holidaymakers. Take your pick from paintballing, climbing, parasailing, horse riding, wakeboarding, jet-skiing and more. If you’re feeling sporty and want to maintain your workout regime while you’re in Tavira, there’s a host of activities on the beach to keep you fit. Beach volleyball and football courts are busy in the summer months, alongside outdoor yoga, salsa dancing and aerobics sessions. With several golf courses nearby, you can also work on your putt while you bask in the Algarve’s warming sunshine.
Life's a Beach
Tavira offers a beach holiday with a difference. To reach Tavira’s sands you need to take a boat trip to the Ilha de Tavira. Your first visit will feel like an Algarve adventure. As your boat drops anchor and you head ashore, the path takes you through a small pine forest. But don’t worry, when you arrive at the beach you’ll be rewarded with 12km of pristine white sands. The wide beach has plenty of space and is ideal for families looking to spend a long lazy day in the sun. The clean, calm waters are safe for swimming, and warm up as the summer sun blazes down on the island. Cafés and restaurants cater for everyone visiting the island, and sun loungers and umbrellas are available to hire to give you some shade on a hot day.
A 40-minute walk south on Ilha de Tavira will bring you to Barrill beach. A former tuna fishing spot, the old fishing huts are now cafes serving up tasty treats. The old tuna net anchors have been half-buried in the dunes here, creating an anchor cemetery and memorial numbering over 100 anchors.
To enjoy Tavira’s nightlife at its best, hit the streets and enjoy a stroll. Stop off for some tapas and local wine along the way and see where the night takes you. In the summer months, you’ll be in good company, with many holidaymakers doing the same. Uncovering hidden restaurants and bars on a gastronomic tour of the town makes every evening different. Those wanting to dance to some of the latest hits should head to the Meeting Rooms. With live acts playing every Monday and great music, it’s a legendary nightclub in Tavira.
For a more chilled out atmosphere and some great cocktails, the Porta Nova Hotel’s rooftop bar offers a laid back atmosphere with fantastic views. Head to the roof to catch the sunset and some pre-dinner drinks. With everything from Irish bars to bass-thumping clubs to choose from, Tavira’s old school charm has a lively nightlife hidden within its cobbled streets.
The charming streets of Tavira’s historic Old Town are the perfect spot for a romantic stroll. The winding lanes and alleyways provide plenty of secluded spots to stop off and share a bottle of local wine over an intimate meal. With many first-class restaurants to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
If the bustling summer vibe of the town and beach gets too much, it’s easy to escape into the expansive wilderness of the Ria Formosa National Park. To unwind after a day’s exploring, Tavira’s hotels have excellent spa facilities where you can relax and enjoy a treatment, a couple’s massage or a dip in a Jacuzzi. To round off a perfect day, head up to a rooftop bar and sip cocktails as the sun sets.
A town full of beautiful buildings and churches steeped in history. A holiday to Tavira wouldn’t be complete without exploring the cultural side to the resort. Explore at your own pace or join a guided tour. Usually lasting around two hours, the tours are a fantastic way to see the highlights and discover hidden gems amongst the narrow winding alleys of the Old Town. One historic highlight not to miss is Tavira Castle. Open daily, you can browse the impressive gardens within the castle walls. The tall building offers visitors a cool and shady spot to escape the heat of the midday sun. Climb to the top of the towers for unrivalled views of the surrounding town.
To learn more about the inhabitants and cultures that have shaped Tavira over the years, head to one of the town’s four museums. The Municipal Museum on the Palácio da Galeria has a wealth of exhibits covering Tavira’s history, while the Casa-Museu do Monte da Guerreira in Santo Estevão has an extensive collection of religious and decorative art.