Tavira

Tavira: a delicate mix of Portuguese and Moorish style in Algarve

Tavira is an ancient Moorish town that has a very interesting architectural character, so much so that I could define it undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations in the Algarve, in the south of Portugal. Among its historical center, which beautifully combines different styles, trips to admire the fauna of the Ria Formosa lagoon and splendid beaches, in Tavira the things to see and to do are several.

The city center is cut in two by the Gilão River and is characterized by a delicate mix of Portuguese and Moorish style that they are combined in the many ancient buildings that the city preserves intact and well maintained. Walking through the narrow streets of Tavira and visiting its many churches, I will guarantee you at least a couple of wonderful days of exploration; you can then dedicate yourself to discovering its beaches (famous for having the warmest waters of the Algarve) and the Ria Formosa Natural Park.

Going back to talk about the city of Tavira, in 1755 it was partially razed to the ground by a heavy earthquake that struck the Algarve coast, but was later rebuilt in lovely style: many of the ancient buildings that today make the city unique were erected between the end of the 17th century and 18th century and among the most characteristic we definitely find its churches. Please note that the small Tavira has 37 churches! Anyway, here are some of the most interesting attractions to not miss in Tavira:

Castelo de Tavira

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This castle, built at the end of the 17th century, is located in the city center: it hides traces of very ancient buildings inside that testify to the presence of a stronghold at this point from the year 1000, while other finds indicate the presence of settlements dating back even at the time of the Phoenicians. Some sections of ancient walls are still clearly visible, such as a part of the original medieval alcáçova and the Arco da Misericordia.

Igreja da Misericórdia

Tavira

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Just a few steps from the castle you will find the splendid Agreja da Misericordia, built in the 16th century: its most spectacular feature is certainly the splendid central niche with the image of Mary flanked by Saint Peter and Paul, and the azulejos painted with the story of the life of Jesus and the precious wooden organ.

Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo

Tavira

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This church, always very close to the castle, was built on the remains of an old Moorish mosque and preserves the remains of the conqueror Dom Paio Peres Correia and his knights. The building in Baroque style is not the original, which was razed by the earthquake of 1755, but still retains some Gothic features of the previous version, evident above all in the entrance portal. The Capela do Senhor dos Passos also has traces of Manueline masonry works, probably dating back to the 1920s.

Tavira Camera Obscura

Tavira

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Also in the surroundings of the castle you will find the unique Camera Obscura of Tavira, set up inside a water tower of 1931. Inside the water tank was created the room using mirrors carefully positioned to project a live image of the city on a giant table. If you have never seen this type of installation, I suggest you to go here, because it is a place with a really surreal atmosphere.

Praça da República

Tavira

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Near the banks of the Gilão river, there is the beautiful Praça da República, the most important square in the town, where there are precious historic buildings such as the town hall. The square is a pedestrian area and in the evening it is filled with people walking, looking at the shop windows and sipping drinks in the elegant cafés located here. Moreover several concerts, shows and events are organized which attract the whole city towards its splendid central square, always lively.

Jardim do Coreto

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A few steps from the square, walking along the embankment, you will meet the Jardim do Coreto, a beautiful city garden with luxuriant exotic plants, walkways paved in precious mosaic and many relaxation areas with benches and tables.

Ponte romana de Tavira

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This bridge, which more or less at the height of Praça da República crosses the Gilão river, is called the Roman Bridge, but actually dates back to 1100 and is of Moorish origin, although the version we see now is the result of a reconstruction in the 1600s. It is certainly one of the privileged observation points over the city that, seen from the center of the river, really gives the best of itself.


Where to Stay

Fazenda Nova – Country House

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In an estate of 10 hectares, a former farm house is now the fascinating Fazenda Nova Country House. It is a luxury boutique hotel where predominantly rustic-chic décor in the rooms and public spaces is complemented by some more-contemporary furnishings for a stunning place where to enjoy a lovely and relaxing vacation in Algarve.
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Located in the heart of the Eastern Algarve countryside, near the historic coastal town of Tavira, Fazenda Nova Country House provides 15 suites, all with a private terrace or garden, designed by a noted local landscaper. Refined details, such as large Balinese beds, Egyptian cotton linens and Villeroy & Boch bathrooms, characterize the interiors of each room.
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Fazenda Nova Country House
can be called the perfect place to discover the culture, the gastronomy and the nature of this pristine Portuguese area. This hotel, in addition to a relaxing swimming pool, has an organic garden rich of orchards, vegetables and herbs. From the garden, homegrown produce arrive on the table of A Cozinha Restaurant. Enjoy the Algarvian and Iberian flavour cuisine in the restaurant where freshness is the key ingredient in its kitchen. The chef takes daily trips to the fish market. Locally-produced meats are delivered to the Fazenda. And, fresh breads are baked in the original 200-year-old oven.

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