How To Spend 48 hours In Tavira Portugal

Today I have a guest post from Cath from the blog Passports and Adventures. Cath is a family, lifestyle and travel blogger that now lives in Portugal. 

Tavira is a town located in the eastern Algarve, Portugal, approximately 30 minutes from Faro, the region’s airport. A very traditional town, Tavira is popular with tourists seeking to escape the western Algarve towns synonymous with younger British tourists such as Albufeira and Vilamoura. Lying on the Gilão River, it’s a beautiful little town to visit, and here’s how to spend 48 hours in Tavira.

48 hours in Tavira - Arrival

Upon arrival in Tavira, check into your accommodation at 3pm after arriving either by car, taxi or public transport. After freshening up, I would suggest making your way to the Roman Bridge where you can start exploring the town.

During peak seasons a small guided tour of Tavira can be accessed via the Delgaturis Train. This small train takes you around Tavira town, stopping at the castle for a few minutes for you to visit inside. There is a narrative guide in English, as well as other languages, to tell you about some of the points of interest around the town. The full tour takes approximately 50 minutes and is worth it.

Should the train not be running, I would suggest following the signs for the castle from the main square of Tavira. It is a short 10 to 15-minute walk to the castle, but it is mostly uphill. The castle is not very big but has some beautiful gardens, especially in the springtime or summer. And the views of Tavira rooftops from the balcony to the side of the castle are lovely. Close to the castle are excavations which can be viewed street-side. Just a little further up from the castle is an old water tower, from which you get a better view of Tavira.

After visiting the castle, walk back down towards to the Praça da República, the main square and, if it is open, pop into the Igreja da Misericórdia Church. It is a beautiful old church, one of over 30 in Tavira town alone. There is a small museum off a side door of the church if you like history.

Head back to your accommodation and get ready to head out for dinner. There are numerous places within Tavira to eat, ranging from traditional Portuguese restaurants to French, Indian and Pizza. But if you are in the Algarve you should at least try Piri Piri chicken, which is an Algarve speciality. Most general-type restaurants will serve it but for the best, you need to head out of town, along the EN-125, to Xhicken Piri Piri. You can drive your car or get a taxi. The chicken is our favourite dish alongside pork ribs and the bacalhau, a traditional Portuguese dish of dried, salted cod. Sounds a bit strange but the cod is soaked for 24 hours before being cooked. Each chef has his own take on bacalhau and you should try it at least once.

48 hours in Tavira – A full day

After, hopefully, a restful night’s sleep, you can opt for breakfast at your hotel. Or alternatively, why not head down to the Praça da República square and visit the Pastelaria Veneza for a croissant and coffee or a Tosta Mista (ham and cheese toasty). According to my husband, nothing beats Portuguese coffee. I’m not a fan and always have a black tea (chá preto in Portuguese). If you’d like an Americano coffee, impress the waiter or waitress by saying “Um abatanado por favour”. It will come black, so remember to ask for “um pouco de leite”.

Once you are suitably fuelled, why not take one of the ferries over to Ilha de Tavira, the beaches of Tavira which are part of the Ria Formosa Natural Park. The summer service runs from the centre of Tavira, not far from the municipal market, which you should try and visit while in the town. The all-year service runs from the Cais das Quatro Águas pier, located 2km from the centre of town. The ferry is not expensive, a return journey will cost around €2 per person. There are also water taxis which can take you across, but these cost considerably more.

You can enjoy a walk along the beach or sunbathe. There is a lifeguard on duty during the summer months, during which time the beach is popular with holidaymakers. Be warned though, you need to catch an early ferry as the later you leave it, the longer the queues will be to make the trip across. There are a few restaurants located on Ilha de Tavira should you wish to have lunch before heading back to town.

After making your way back to Tavira, and with time to kill before dinner, why enjoy a walk through the cobbled streets or enjoy some time in the small park off the Praça da República. There is a band-stand in the centre which is surrounded by water in which you will see a small family of terrapins.

You could also try and catch a fado, a traditional Portuguese concert, in the Fado Com História, which is located beside the Misericórdia Church. There is one female fado singer, Sara Gonçalves, who has the most amazing voice, and she often sings at the Fado Com História. If you are lucky enough to catch a concert with her, you won’t be disappointed.

The perfect way to end a busy day is to have dinner at O Castelo, an outdoor restaurant just up the road from the Praça da República. This restaurant can get busy, especially at weekends and during the summer, so if you plan to try and visit it, ask your hotel to book the evening before. It is not a cheap eat compared to some other restaurants, but the food and service is excellent, and the ambience on warmer evenings is worth it.

48 hours in Tavira – Departure

Before leaving Tavira, you should take a walk across the Roman Bridge and wander through some of the smaller streets. The houses are very traditional in Tavira and you’ll find many with Instagram-worthy tiled fronts and doors. And why not return to Pastelaria Veneza for one last coffee and a pastel de nata, the traditional Portuguese egg tart. They have become somewhat of an addiction for me since moving to Portugal.

How to get to Tavira

The nearest airport to Tavira is Faro. All the major budget airlines fly from the UK and Ireland to Faro including EasyJet, Ryanair and Aer Lingus. Many of the holiday carriers also fly to Faro. If you’d like to combine a visit to Tavira with Lisbon, the Portuguese airline TAP have at least four daily flights direct from Faro to Lisbon.

To reach Tavira from Faro Airport you have a number of options. You can hire a car from one of the many companies located just outside the arrivals hall and across the short stay car park. Companies like Hertz, Avis and Europcar are available to hire cars from. There is also a large taxi rank at the arrivals hall should you wish to hop in a taxi. It takes approximately 30 minutes to Tavira and can cost anywhere between €50-60. Uber is also an option and is slightly cheaper than the taxis.

If you don’t mind public transport you can get a bus from Faro Airport to Faro Train station and then a train to Tavira. The train you will need will be heading towards Vila Real de Santo Antonio. But be warned, the Portuguese public transport system isn’t the most reliable or frequent, and connections don’t work as efficiently as it does in mainland Europe.

Where to stay in Tavira

There are a number of hotels in Tavira to choose from, depending on your budget. Two higher-end hotels to choose from are the Hotel Vila Galé Albacora, which lies a short distance from Tavira town itself, overlooking the Ria Formosa. You will need transport in order to stay in this hotel. However, the Hotel Vila Galé Tavira is located right in the centre of Tavira, across the road from the Municipal Market and has two swimming pools. There are other hotels in and around Tavira and there is a good self-catering option in Tavira Gardens, located on the edge of town. These are a mixture of residential and holiday apartments.

Cath is an Irish expat who now lives in Portugal with her husband and son. A former scientist, she gave up working when they emigrated south from the UK. She is a family travel and lifestyle blogger and hopes that, through her blog, they will inspire more families to travel, especially with young kids in tow. As a family, they love travelling and have started working their way through their family travel bucket list. Cath writes about their family travels and experiences on her blog Passports and Adventures. Catch Cath on Instagram too. 


  1. What an absolutely stunning looking place to spend sometime. I would love to check out the roman bridge and the small streets, I love seeing things where you can see how modern mixes with history.

  2. I've always wanted to go to Portugal. This looks beautiful!

  3. oh my, this looks like such a charming destination. There is a great Portuguese bakery in Cardiff called Nata & Co

  4. It looks beautiful. We visited Portugal earlier this year and fell in love, it is a beautiful country

  5. Tavira looks like a very pretty place for a holiday. I like the quiet vibe of the town and the narrow streets.

  6. I've never been to Portugal. It does look like a nice place to visit

  7. I love the little language tips you've added in here Mellissa - I haven't been to Portugal since starting my blog, so I may have to go soon. And I'll try to remember the phrase for "with milk" hehe x

  8. We're hoping to go to the Algarve next summer so we'll definitely be adding Tavira to our list of places to visit while we're there. It looks and sounds lovely :)

    Louise x