A summer break in the Algarve, part 2 – exploring Tavira

Welcome back to Part 2 of our Algarve adventure (catch up with part 1 first if you haven’t already)! As well as exploring the city, we made sure to make some time for the beach – which, as we mentioned, was on its own island, the Ilha de Tavira. The ferry took us through the harbour and moored up on the edge of the beach:

Boats on the beach on Ilha de Tavira

We passed some fascinating natural wildlife, so to see it a bit more closely we took a tour in a small speedboat along the coast. We passed storks, white flamingos, egrets and other animals!

Storks around Ilha de Tavira

We wanted to hear some traditional Portuguese Fado. Flamenco-esque in nature, it’s the folk music of the country [and has been recognised in UNESCO’s list of World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage]. It features a standard guitar, a beautiful Portuguese guitar (reminded us of a mandolin) and a fado singer. The songs are all very emotive and intense, based around themes of love and loss [“fado” translates as “destiny”]. We couldn’t find a traditional bar to hear it in, so we went to the Fado com Historia and were rewarded with lovely performers, English interpretation from the guitarist and some fabulous music.

Fado musician in Tavira

I have a bit of a thing about windows. Artistic supervision by me below:

Painted window in Tavira

Continuing with the nature theme, we became quite fond of a random fountain in the centre of Tavira. This was partly because it contained some terrapins, which were ridiculously cute. Most were generically brown, but we did see this exciting red one:

Red terrapin in Tavira

And we were even more excited when we spotted a tiny baby red terrapin. There’s not much for scale below, but it wasn’t any bigger than the palm of your hand.

Baby red terrapin in Tavira

However, disaster struck when we spotted a bigger, brown terrapin, clearly jealous of its shiny red shell, cruelly pulling it down by a little foot into the depths of the fountain… It was never seen again, and we are fairly sure that the above photo captures its last few precious seconds here on Earth.

After that intensely emotional trauma, we continued exploring Tavira and found some pretty Mediterranean flowers. Our horticultural expertise doesn’t extend to Europe, though – can anyone tell us the name of the below specimen?

Flower in Tavira

We went to Tavira seeking sun, relaxation, an escape from everyday London life and a chance to explore a gorgeous old town – and we managed these and more! I know it’s not the first time we’ve said this – but we’d really recommend it as a future holiday destination…

Lighthouse on Ilha de Tavira

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