Tavira is a seaside town on Portugal’s famed Algarve coast, drawing people with its long beaches, Moorish-style architecture and streets filled with traditional houses. The Gilão River ribbons through it, with the lamp-lined Roman Bridge linking the two sides of town.
The historic centre of Tavira is characterised by whitewashed buildings, dozens of churches and a medieval castle. The Castelo de Tavira dates back to the 11th century and promises the best view of town from its vantage point. It is surrounded by some of the most beautiful churches in Tavira, including the Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo with its clock tower and the Igreja da Misericórdia, whose simple facade hides a lavish interior. Its altar is adorned with gilded carvings and the walls depict scenes from the life of Christ through traditional Portuguese azulejo tiles.
The Ilha de Tavira – or Tavira Island – is an 11-kilometre-long sandbar just off the coast, home to a few of the best beaches in the Algarve region. Framed by dunes on one end and the ocean on the other, Praia da Ilha de Tavira is the closest beach from town, dotted with beachside bars and shacks serving fresh seafood. A little further lies Praia do Barril, known for the outdoor art installation of Cemitério das Âncoras, or Anchor Cemetery. On the white sands of this beach, you'll find rows of sun loungers and parasols that match the azure of the Atlantic.