Despite its inland position, Tavira, 30km east of Faro, is the most interesting and attractive of the eastern Algarve’s towns. It straddles both sides of the broad Rio Gilão, the old town made up of white mansions with hipped roofs and wrought-iron balconies.

Tavira, Algarve

Tavira. Photo by Panarria

Tavira’s origins date back to the late Bronze Age (1.000-800 BC). In the 8th century BC it became one of the first Phoenician settlements in the Iberian West.

The primary economic activity of Tavira was fishing, but the industry went into decline due partly to the changes in the migration patterns of tuna fish. Today, Tavira is becoming ever more popular as a tourist destination as visitors appreciate it history, beauty and very Portuguese character.

Fishing boat, Algarve

Fishing boat in Tavira. Photo by Osvaldo Gago

Get In

Private transportation service from Faro Airport to Tavira.


  • Cabanas de Tavira (Portuguese for “Tavira’s Huts”) is a freguesia (parish), and former fishing village, in the municipality of Tavira. With a little more than one thousand permanent residents, it has become a popular tourist destination in the summer because of its beautiful beach, Praia de Cabanas, located on an island just offshore (Ilha de Cabanas), which belongs to Ria Formosa Natural Park. Cabanas is a very recent freguesia, established in 1997. This freguesia belongs to the municipality of Tavira, the nearest major town.
    The town is a long line of low-rise shops, bars and cafés facing the Ria Formosa with several hotel and apartment complexes scattered around the outskirts of the town. Moored fishing boats line the seafront, although the town’s economy has drifted mainly towards tourism rather than fishing in recent years.
    Cabanas has a large number of bars, cafés and restaurants which run along the riverfront and are also dotted around a couple of blocks inland.
  • Santa Luzia, another freguesia (parish), is considered the “capital do Polvo” or “capital of octopus” which is a local speciality.
  • Tavira Boat Tours Ria Formosa as a nesting ground and as a stopping point in migrating routs: Flamingos ( Phoenicopterus ruber ), Milherango ( Limosa limosa ), Storks ( Ciconia coconia ), King Fisher ( Egretta garzetta ), and so on.
    Spend some time in close contact with the nature, the wonderful world of the birds in its more natural state, and let yourself be fascinated for the enchantment of its sounds, its forms and its colors. Discover the lagoon and his birds.
Santa Luzia harbour, Tavira

Santa Luzia seafront. Photo by David Boocock


  • Tavira Horse Carrige Tours – See Tavira from a different perspective. Feel its history and discover the beautiful architecture which typifies Tavira.
  • Tavira Boat Tours. Boat tours in Ria Formosa Tavira.
Santiago church, Algarve

Igreja de Santiago (Santiago church). Photo by Marc Ryckaert


* Pousada de Tavira – Convento da Graça, Historic Luxury Hotel, Rua D. Paio Peres Correia 8800-407 Tavira, +351-281 329 040 (recepcao.conventograca@pousadas.pt, fax: +351-281 381 741).

Pousada de Tavira, Convento da Graça is a historic luxury hotel in Tavira, that blends the perfection of classic lines and the warm atmosphere, with modern equipment. This historic hotel in Algarve is near the golf courses Benamor, Monte Rei and Quinta da Ria, allowing those who practice this sport it will be the opportunity to improve their game in some of the best Algarve golf courses.

Roman bridge in Tavira, Algarve

Roman bridge in Tavira. Photo by Osvaldo Gago