Local attractions

There are a number of sites and activities that you might find interesting in and around Tavira.

Facts about Tavira

Tavira is steeped in history and the town actually dates back to around 1000 BC. It is believed that the original name for Tavira was Baal Saphon.

Tavira’s Roman bridge links the town’s two halves (separated by the Rio Gilao) is said to be of Moorish origin.

Today, Tavira is a charming town with cobblestones, an architectural legacy that spans centuries and has a gentle unassuming beauty.


BarrilTavira has miles of beautiful, sandy beaches on the island called Ilha de Tavira. There are regular and easy ferry transfers to the beaches which are well serviced by small bars and restaurants. There is also a tourist train that runs to the other side of the island to Barril beach from Perdras d’el Rei which is about 3 kms from Tavira.  You can find more information on our beaches page.

Historical and Architectural


Tavira has a castle which dates back to the 13th century. Though in ruins, it offers a fabulous view.


All in all there are 37 churches in Tavira! We mention just three:

  • Igreja da Misericórdia – In Tavira town (just up past the tourist information office). A must see 16th century church said to be one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture in the Algarve. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am to 12.30pm.
  • Igreja Matriz de Santa Maria do Castelo (Parish church of Santa Maria near the castle). Originating from the 13th century but it has had alterations since. The clock tower is part of the original building. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 2pm to 6.30pm
  • Igreja de Carmo – 18th century and a very good example of baroque art.

Camera Obscura

Tavira has a Camera Obscura which is an old water tower that has been converted and now home to a rotating mirror that provides a fascinating 3600 view of the town. On a clear day you can see up well beyond the town centre. It is next to Igreja de Santa Maria and the castle. The guide´s informative presentation includes Tavira’s history as different landmarks are highlighted by the rotating mirror.

Walking Around Tavira

TaviraFrom the town centre’s Praza Rebuplica , with a wonderful, modern amphitheatre design and River Gilao as a backdrop you can discover the Roman bridge where the name changes from Rio Gilão to Rio Séqua and then stroll through the gardens which has a bandstand surrounded by a pond with koi fish and terrapins and further, on enter the old Fish Market which now hosts restaurants, tourist shops and on occasions, an art gallery.

Guided tours of Tavira

Tavira is a town full of history, churches and beautiful buildings so if you don’t want to miss something join a guided tour of Tavira. Tourist Information keeps details of times.

Tourist Train Tour

The open air (but roofed) tourist train meanders through the town, taking you up to the castle, the salt pans and the Ferry port. You can stop off at certain points and explore.