Tavira: the “slow” city

Getting to know Tavira will take time. Therefore, it is best you come over with plenty of time, and an unscheduled return date. Leave your things at the Youth Hostel and set off on the discovery of this beautiful city.

You can start with a walk along the rio Gilão (Gilão River). In the background, you can see its passage to the sea where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. Unmissable and well worth it!

And because there is no shortage of history here, get ready because this is a city full of the traces of our ancestors, you can’t skip an investigative expedition of the city!

From the Castle walls, to the roughly 11 kilometers of excellent beaches, and not forgetting the Reserva Natural da Ria Formosa (Ria Formosa Nature Reserve), all definitely worthwhile.

This Youth Hostel forms part of the mystique of Tavira where we can find many influences of its past Islamic, and Roman rule just a few steps away. The Arab influenced decor is one of the most amazing features, as well as the original facade that has remained preserved in this over 100-year old building, where the Hostel was erected.


There’s the perfume of the sea and it’s marked by a river, called Gilão. Tavira is a land with historical value, where the Arabic heritage mixes with the Roman one.

Leave your luggage in the Tavira’s Youth Hostel, situated almost in the historical center and come to enjoy the city where there’s no rush. This Algarvian locality belongs to an international network of cities, a “Cittaslow”, that promotes the tranquillity with vision for the improvement the of quality of life. To be a “slow” city, does not mean that there are never some accelerated  rhythms.

For now it’s sunny and our journey begins in the “Camara Obscura”, where we enter into an old water tower and there we can see the city of Tavira in real time, in 360 degrees, through an image that’s reflected in a rounded table.

The next stop it’s in the Tavira Castle. With Arabic origin, this military building was rebuilt in the end of the 13th century, during the reign of D. Dinis. Picturesque, the castle also has a magnificent view into the city and a garden full of flowers.

On the way, we saw several latticed doors, made of finely interwoven lengths of wood, that permits the ventilation of the house and it gives it total privacy without been seen. This is an Arabic heritage in the southlands.

Going down the stairs from the Palácio da Galeria, we encounter  the beautiful Misericórdia Church and it’s artworks meticulously painted over the ceramic squares dated from the 17th century. Do you believe that there’s around 37 churches in this town? It’s true.

Just next to it, it´s located the “Fado com História”, a unique house of Fado music in the Algarve, where you can enjoy short sessions of Fado music along the day.


For us it’s time to do a pause. We follow the recommendation from some local people and we’ve tried the tipical small cake “follado de Tavira” in one of many pastry shops around the city after we passed bellow the Manuelino Arche.

Pursuing with our visit, we are now in the “República” Main Square. In one side we have the romantic Roman Bridge and on the other side there are many shops selling so many local craft products.

We have reserved a little bit of time to relax in the pleasant Tavira Youth Hostel with its interior facade in harmony with the historical center but having all the commodities of the 21st century.

It’s dinner time and Tavira city its has a riched gastronomy and we are in the “capital” of the Mediterranean diet. There’s lot for you to choose: all kind of recipes with octopus (Santa Luzia village), tunafish steak with tomato sauce, “Cataplana” of seafood, Octopus rice and Chicken “Açorda” with chickpeas. If you are older enough, squire your meal with a bottle of red wine named “Quinta dos Correias” and for the dessert  try the almond or carob cake filled with soften eggs.

After the dinner, we recommend you to walk along the river, close by the Coreto Garden, coming back to the Roman bridge, where you can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

To go to the Tavira island it’s necessary to catch the ferryboat in the pier nearby the center of Tavira (noticed: the ferryboat it’s running from the central pier between May until the end of September). There are many other beaches on the Tavira island (Terra Estreita, Barril beach and the beach of the Naked Man). The Barril Beach it’s the only one that has access through a bridge and then it has a little train that makes the connection from the bridge to the beach with the Anchor graveyard.

Tavira Youth Hostel
Price: From € 11 / night





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Points of interest

» Museu Islâmico (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Palácio da Galeria (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Casa do Fado com História (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Casa André Pilarte (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Biblioteca Municipal
» Casa 5 – casa de artes
» Casa Álvaro de Campos (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Cine-Teatro Antonio Pinheiro (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Camara Obscura (zona histórica/Tavira)
» Centro de Ciência-Viva de Tavira (Zona Porta Nova/Tavira)

Theme parks

» Parque temático Rural (A Quinta – Sto. Estevão/Tavira)
» Parque Natural da Ria Formosa (Fuzeta/Olhão/Tavira/ Cacela)
» Parque Natural Sapal Verde (Castro Marim/ Vila Real de Sto. Antonio)

Places for sports practice

» Algarve Indoor Kart Center (Centro comercial Ria Shopping – Olhão)
» Piscinas Municipais (Pavilhão Municipal Dr. Eduardo Mansinho –Tavira)
» Clube de Tenis Tavira (Perto do Pavilhão Municipal Dr. Eduardo Mansinho –Tavira)
» Praia de Cacela Velha (acesso por barco – Cacela Velha)
» Cascata Pego do Inferno (a caminho da aldeia Moinhos da Rocha –Tavira)
» Praia de Manta Rota (acesso pedonal – Manta Rota)
» Praia de Cabanas (acesso por barco- Cabanas)
» Praia Ilha de Tavira (acesso por barco – Tavira/Quatro Aguas)
» Praia Terra Estreita (acesso por barco - Santa Luzia)
» Praia do Homem Nú (acesso pedonal - Pedras D´el Rei)
» Praia do Barril (acesso pedonal - Pedras D´el Rei)


» Parque Natural da Ria Formosa (desde Loulé, Faro, Olhão, Tavira e Vila Real de Sto. António)
» Percursos pedestres (Cidade Tavira)
» Vila dentro –percurso pela zona histórica
» Vila Além Ponte
» Salinas
» Trilho de Dom Quixote
» Trilho da Reserva
» Trilho Masmorra
» Parque de Lazer de Santa Rita com percursos pedonais, parque infantil, parque de merendas( Conceição Tavira)

Internet spots

» Espaço Internet de Tavira
» Biblioteca Municipal Alvaro de Campos

Events and festivities

» III Feira da Dieta Mediterrânica – 03 a 06 de Setembro
» O Festival “5 Noites, 5 Sons” – 10 a 14 de Setembro
» Mostra de Cinema Não Europeu (de 17 a 27 Julho e 7 a 17 Agosto)
» IX Cenas de Rua (Festival Internacional de Teatro e Artes de Rua de 3 a 10   Julho)
» Concertos no Palácio da Galeria ( Entre Julho e Agosto)

Night life

» Mood (Discoteca)
» Ferrypoint bar
» Manta Beach( discoteca)na localidade de Manta Rota
» Bar Poeta
» Ubi (Discoteca)
» Ref Bar
» Black Anchor (Irish Pub)
» Riverside Bar
» Junta de Freguesia de Santo Estevão ( por vezes organizam concertos).


Marisco, Polvo (Santa Luzia Capital do Polvo), Atum e peixe grelhado
Na serra e interior podemos encontrar pratos como perna de cabrito no forno, açorda de galinha, caça, os enchidos e queijo fresco.
Doçaria típica: doces feitos a base de amêndoa, gila, alfarroba, figo e os folhados de Tavira.

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