Photo of Tavira

About Tavira

Can you imagine the Algarve as it was before it became easy to access? Before the resorts and golf courses? Well that's what Tavira is like. Tavira has more churches than hotels. The best places to stay in Tavira are guesthouses rather than resort complexes. it boasts a port crowded with fishing boats rather than day cruisers. An old Roman bridge and the ruins of a castle rather than themed pubs. Tavira is Portugal at its prettiest and most charming. Somewhere that feels a beautiful world away from modern life.

Tavira is colourful and small, so perfect for a winter city break. Walls are bright white and roofs are bright red - and the sky is impressively bright blue most days. Tavira is also the perfect size for exploring on foot.

The cobbled maze is dotted with pretty squares and gardens to discover. Along with the 20+ churches, including some impressive Renaissance era beauties and some with lovely Baroque touches.

The castle was last rebuilt in the 13th Century, but was ruined in an 18th Century earthquake. It's still worth visiting though, the ruins are covered with the colourful, creeping blooms of a beautiful garden.

Tavira's other main historic building is the Palacio de Galera, now a gallery. But the churches around the Palacio are very close thirds and fourths etc.. There's a huge clock tower, a grand Gothic portico, medieval facades and elaborate interiors.

The town was once the Algarve's main port, but the earthquake silted up the river. The town still has a fishing port and market, but 3kms from the coast, and the beautiful eight mile long stretch of golden beaches of the Ilha de Tavira.

Tavira is built on both sides the river, which then sprawls into a biologically diverse lagoon reserve, the Ria Formosa, as it meets the coastline. If you come at the right time of year you'll see flocks of flamingoes taking a break here on their migration route. Kingfishers and storks also use the Ria Formosa.

What not to miss:

  • Bask on the wide swathe of white sands that is Praia do Barril.
  • Discover Tavira Castle, the best remnant from the town’s Moorish era.
  • Stop by the pretty Igreja da Misericórdia (mid-16th century church).
  • Stroll over the Ponte Antiga Sobre o Rio Gilão, a bridge thought to be from Moorish times (in the 1100s).

The best places in Tavira get booked up quickly during the summer months so be sure to plan ahead.

For a central location

  • The beautifully restored 19th-century Casa Beleza do Sol offer stylish suites and self-catering apartments that have been designed by the architect owner. Original mosaic floors and features have been left intact and find shady roof terraces with panoramic views.
  • Pousada Convento Tavira is a beautifully restored 16th Century convent on Tavira’s castle hill. With Renaissance cloisters, courtyard pool and central garden. Pretty rooms with splashes of bright colour and private balconies. Plus the restaurant serves excellent regional cuisine.

For a Beach Break

  • Quinta de Colina is the property to book if you're looking for an apartment or villa. This traditional Algarvian manor has been tastefully converted into B&B accommodation, plus there's self catering options in a separate cottage, house and apartment. Only six minutes from Tavira and even closer to the nearest beach, this is a great choice if you want to explore both the town and the local beaches.
  • For those looking for resort type facilities try Vila Monte. It's Moorish in style with rooms separated into riads. A Kasbah spa offers Arab baths and hammams alongside more western treatments. The terrace has sea views, once you look beyond the orange groves. The driving range and pitch and putt course are a bonus for those wanting to improve their swing!

For an apartment or villa

  • If you're travelling with family or a group of friends it may be a better option to book a villa or apartment. For a wide range of properties for all tastes and budgets we recommend you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel information

  • Fly to Faro Airport located 40km from the town and offering flights across both Portugal and Europe.
  • Travel between the months of May - September for beach weather. July is the hottest month in Tavira with an average temperature of 24°C.
  • If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Tavira

Best Hotels in Tavira

  • Quinta da Colina Conceição, Algarve 3 rooms from £74

    Swimming Pool  -  Created from the old irrigation tank with original well and water wheel feature on the terrace. 5m x 5m
    Full of character  -  Retaining original features giving a true taste of Algarvian style.
    Sights nearby  -  Only 6 minutes by car from Tavira
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Air conditioningTennisSwimming PoolGarden
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays

    Traditional Algarvian manor which has been tastefully converted to provide B&B accommodation plus cottages and an apartment for self catering. Set amid 6 hectares filled with olive, orange and carob trees. A quieter, truly relaxing spot from which to enjoy the pleasures of the real Algarve. See More

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  • Casa Beleza do Sul Tavira 4 rooms from £74

    Self catering  -  Self-catering studio and apartments have well-equipped kitchenettes, terraces with tables and sun loungers
    Town  -  Tavira is a charming and unspoilt old town, pretty squares and gardens, fishermen at work on their nets
    Golf  -  The Algarve is famous for its golf courses and some of the best are close to Tavira
    Beach nearby  -  Beautiful sandy beach close by
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays

    Beautifully restored 19th-century house in the unspoilt, delightful town of Tavira in the Algarve. Stylish suites and self-catering apartments have been designed by the architect owner. Original mosaic floors and features have been left intact. Shady roof terraces with panoramic views. A gem. See More

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  • Monte do Álamo Tavira (Algarve) 6 rooms from £108

    Back to Nature  -  Sitting in the quiet countryside of the Algarve, away from the summer tourists, this is the perfect back to nature retreat
    Families  -  The family rooms are great for those travelling with children; kids love the swimming pool too
    Romantic Break  -  The relaxed, homely atmosphere of this country guesthouse scores highly with couples
    Cooking classes  -  Take a cooking class at the guesthouse and learn how to use the farm's own organic ingredients in dishes
    Air conditioningSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Great Small Hotels

    This guesthouse sits within a beautiful converted farmhouse in the countryside on the Algarve coast. The best suites have sea views and spacious private terraces. The décor is warm and contemporary. The farm is still in use, and guests can enjoy meals prepared with local produce. A rustic retreat. See More

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  • Pousada Convento Tavira Tavira (Algarve) 36 rooms from £113

    Value chic  -  Reasonably priced charming Baroque and Renaissance Pousadas steeped in history with, plush rooms and pretty courtyard garden.
    Sights nearby  -  Within walking distance of the town’s great sites, such as the 16th-century Igreja da Misericórdia.
    Great walks  -  With wonderful walking around the hilly countryside and through the historic town.
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

    A beautifully restored 16th Century convent on Tavira’s castle hill. With Renaissance cloisters, courtyard pool and central garden. Pretty rooms with splashes of bright colour and private balconies. Enjoy the traditional regional cuisine and wide range of Portuguese wines. See More

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  • Vila Monte Farm House Tavira 53 rooms from £286

    Foodies  -  The wholesome delicious cuisine never dissapoints- perhaps because it comes straight from the garden or local organic farms.
    Romantic Break  -  A sophisticated couples paradise- with secluded rooms, private terraces, couples massages and romantic picnics on the beach.
    Cooking classes  -  The chef happily takes tours to the local markets such as Olhao's big fish market.
    Tennis  -  Head out on the hotel courts and try and work off your lunch!
    Air conditioningTennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Tablet, Relais & Chateaux, Mr & Mrs Smith, I Escape

    A refreshing Moorish style retreat, nestled in orange groves and organic gardens. Light, airy and effortlessly stylish rooms offer seclusion, comfort and private terraces. Gourmet farm to fork cuisine served in a relaxed atmosphere. Two pools, tennis courts, and open air cinema seal the deal. Bliss! See More

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