Surrounded by stunning golden beaches and the estuary of the Ria Formosa Natural Park, Tavira is one of the most captivating cities in the Algarve, with its architecture of classic buildings and pyramid-shaped roofs, charming cobbled streets and squares that invite you to sit and let time pass.


The Gilão River, which before reaching the city takes the name of Séqua, cuts the historic centre in the middle and is navigated by boats that recall the fishing roots of the ancient village. The two banks of the river are linked by several bridges, for instance the picturesque Roman Bridge, which asks for a mandatory photograph.

Another must see in the Ria Formosa estuary are the beautiful ‘salinas’, grounds where you can witness the area’s ancient craft and tradition which produces the most refined table salt in the country.  Apart from the salt flats the estuary houses a rich ecosystem within its beautiful surroundings that is home to numerous species of migratory birds during parts of the year. It is not uncommon to see flamingos, white egrets, spoonbills, etc. treading the canals, marshes and sandbanks in search of food, or storks that have set their nests in the now abandoned chimneys of the old canning factories.


When leaving the estuary, you find the beaches of Tavira, which are undoubtedly a recommendation. Accessible by ferry boats that make a regular crossing, the most popular beach is probably the Island of Tavira, with restaurants, bars and a well-known camping site. The neighbouring beaches are Terra Estreita, Barril and Homem Nú, but for those who like to hear nothing but the sound of the waves, a short walk is enough to find quieter areas. Barril Beach in Santa Luzia – a village known as the octopus capital – was once a local tuna fishing community and the abandoned huts are now shops and restaurants. The anchors that were left from the old fishing fleet were put to rest on the sand dunes and are known as Anchor Cemetery. Last but not least there is the Island of Cabanas, where many sporting activities take place every day thanks to favourable wind conditions.

quick facts

The Tavira Cycling Club was founded on August 31, 1979 and has the oldest professional cycling team in the world, in uninterrupted activity.

On December 4, 2013 UNESCO recognised the Mediterranean diet as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, with Tavira being the representative community for Portugal.

Tavira belongs to the Cittaslow Cities network. Cittaslow is a non-governmental organization established in 1999 in Italy, whose objective is to reduce the speed of life in cities in order to improve the quality of life.

Tavira has repeatedly been in the national ranking of ‘zero pollution beaches’, with the beaches of Cabanas-Mar, Ilha de Tavira-Mar and Terra Estreita. Zero pollution means that, based on data requested from the Portuguese Environment Agency, the ZERO association has identified those beaches that score values of zero or less than the detection limit in all analyses of the two most important microbiological parameters that are assessed for legislation. The aforementioned beaches have all received the rating ‘excellent’ during the past three bathing seasons.



  • Stroll through the city streets with stops at the Castle or some of the 25 churches and chapels

  • Museums (Municipal Museum, Gallery Palace, Islamic Museum, Living Science Center and others)

  • Art galleries


  • Beaches

  • Visit to the Pego do Inferno

  • Boat Trips

  • Horseback riding

  • Camera Obscura


  • Hiking trails along the Via Algarviana

  • Bike tours through the Algarve Bike Path

  • Fishing

  • Sailing, Surfing, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing

  • Canoeing

  • Scuba Diving

  • Golf
  • Bird watching

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