A summer break in the Algarve, part 1 – trip to Tavira

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:

Festival decorations in Tavira

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 temporary bridge in Tavira

The most famous bridge was the “Roman” bridge, [deceptively] not built in the Roman period in the slightest, but in that style:

Roman Bridge in Tavira

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]:

Igreja da Misericordia in Tavira

And the clock tower at Igreja de St Maria do Castelo:

Tower of Igreja de St Maria do Castelo in Tavira

Although the castle no longer remains, there are steps to the city walls amongst a tranquil garden:

Steps to the city walls in Tavira

There’s also something else I have to mention. The tiles.

Tiles in Tavira

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…].

Tiled building in Tavira

Even the street signs were made of tiles…

Street sign and tiles in Tavira

The light over the buildings and the river was simply beautiful.

Looking over towards the food market in Tavira

Hungry for more? You can now read part 2 here!

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