We’re very British [and proud of it]. One of us is from Yorkshire, and the other one is so pale she’s blue in certain light. So 37°C in Portugal was both stunning and a shock to the system! We chose Tavira, a little town [technically a city but it certainly didn’t feel big enough to be] in the Algarve, because it looked attractive, historical and quirky. It’s also a pretty convenient 30-minute train ride from Faro, where the airport is located.
The town is built on a river, with extensive beaches on an island a short ferry ride away. This didn’t put us off, and we’re glad, because the ferry was reasonably priced, cooled us down and made a trip to the island that bit more of an occasion.
There was a festival on, and we saw some great evening performances in the town square. The town was also decorated with a nautical theme:
The river is crossed by a number of bridges, which are the main features of Tavira along with many lovely churches. This particular “temporary” bridge, built by the army, is still standing almost 30 years later:
The most famous bridge was the “Roman” bridge, [deceptively] not built in the Roman period in the slightest, but in that style:
The churches are the other main attraction to Tavira. Although many aren’t open to the public, they rise beautifully from amongst the city. Here is Igreja da Misericordia [where we heard a local practising Chopin]:
And the clock tower at Igreja de St Maria do Castelo:
Although the castle no longer remains, there are steps to the city walls amongst a tranquil garden:
There’s also something else I have to mention. The tiles.
The outside of houses, decorated with the most stunning tiles. Streets with multiple tile patterns next to each other created a Mediterranean airiness, and we loved it [some were a little more obsessed than others…].
Even the street signs were made of tiles…
The light over the buildings and the river was simply beautiful.
Hungry for more? You can now read part 2 here!