Tavira is a gorgeous Algarvian town located in the warmest and sunniest corner of Portugal. Tavira has it all – a charming old town, a medieval castle, authentic restaurants, river-side bars, an 11km island with white sand beach and a beautiful natural park.
WHERE IS TAVIRA
Tavira is located in east Algarve on Portugal’s south coast. Just a 30 minute drive from Faro and close to the Spanish border (just two hours from Seville). It is an alternative to the usually more popular Lagos.
WHERE TO STAY IN TAVIRA
There is no shortage of accommodation options in and out of Tavira but during my search I did find it difficult to find good quality rooms. When I finally found Formosa Guest House I was able to celebrate. The photos looks great online but it is even more wonderful in real life. The guest house is right on the Praça da República in the old town and offers bright, well- styled rooms with balconies and a spectacular view over the river. My stay here turned out to be one of my favourites in Portugal to date.
WHAT TO DO IN TAVIRA
Whether you are staying for a few days or a few weeks you will find plenty to do to keep you mesmerised with this Algarvian town. Here are a few things you should add to your itinerary while you are in Tavira :
- Bask in sunshine on Ilha de Tavira
- Get lost in the charming old town
- Watch sunset from the Ponte Romana bridge
- Find backstreet tapas
BEST CAFES TAVIRA
There are lots of cafes to satisfy your coffee/breakfast/brunch needs in Tavira and lots ate open early which can be hard to find in Portugal. Some of my personal favourites :
- Flavour Cafe – Everything from eggs and granola to pancakes and waffles. Friendly service too!
- Vegancies – Excellent vegan cafe and shop
BEST BARS + RESTAURANTS IN TAVIRA
There are so many bars in Tavira. Everything from little backstreet dens to busy main square hangouts. I had no problem finding beers, good wine and cocktails during my time in Tavira. Some spots I recommend to check out :
- Arcada – Right on the Praça da República. Perfect for a sundowner.
- Tasca do Zé André – The cheapest and best Aperol spritz in town plus great tapas)
- Rosa e Gianni – Small, cosy Italian with fresh pasta
- Delizia da Ponte – Excellent ice-cream. Need I say more?
BEST EXPERIENCES IN TAVIRA
As always my favourite thing to do while visiting a new place is wandering the backstreets with no plan and seeing what I can find. I recommend doing just that in Tavira; set off on a self-guided tour and breathe in the sights and sounds of the town. While you here there are a few experiences you shouldn’t miss. I find these types of experiences leave you with the best memories of a place.
ESCAPING THE CROWDS ON ILHA DE TAVIRA
Pulling into Ilha de Tavira can be a little overwhelming in summer due to the crowds flocking off the beach. Luckily the Tavira island is 11km long so there is plenty of space for everyone. Take off behind the sand dunes and walk 10 minutes along the back of the beach to find your own private stretch of sand for the day.
FIND A BACKSTREET TAPAS BAR
Tavira has some great hidden tapas bars to be found. Take yourself on a wander around the cobbled streets in search of cheap and tasty tapas.
PRAÇA DA REPÚBLICA AT SUNSET
Tavira’s main square is a pleasure at all times of day but grab a seat for an hour or so before sunset, order a drink of something delicious and soak up the buzz.
Money in Portugal
The majority of places accept card but some smaller places only accept cash or non-foreign cards. Always carry some cash with you. ATM’s are easy to find all over the town. Unless you already have a Euro currency bank account I highly recommend getting a Wise Card. This will allow you to hold and exchange multiple currencies at the best possible rate. There is no charge for withdrawing or using your card to pay. I’ve been living in Portugal since 2016 and I use Wise as my primary bank card here despite also having a Portuguese bank account.
Top tip: Avoid Multi Currency machines such as ‘Euronet’ (usually set up outside souvenir shops etc) as they charge you 3 or 4 euro to withdraw. Always use actual bank ATM’s to withdraw money.
Tavira is one of my favourite towns in the Algarve and I’m looking forward to spending some more time getting to know it. Hopefully this mini travel guide to Tavira can help you plan your next trip.