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Castelo de Tavira, Tavira Castle
Tavira Castle is a partially ruined fortress that once guarded the fishing town from North African raiders and pirates. The castle is located at the highest point of the region and from the battlements there are wonderful views over the town and surrounding national park.
Tavira castle may only be a small castle but the great state of preservation, stunning views and free entrance fee has made the castle the most visited tourist sight in Tavira.
The battlements of Tavira castle
Tavira Castle Tourist Information
The castle is open from 10:00-17:00 (winter) and 10:00-19:00 (summer). There is no entrance fee and typical visits last 15-20 minutes. The battlements offer great views but the steps up to them are steep, uneven and have no hand rails – do not climb them if you suffer with vertigo as they can be very dangerous.
The view from the battlements in Tavira castle
Inside the castle walls there are well maintained gardens but very little descriptive information. The castle is on the south western side of Tavira, close to the water tower and is well signed from the town centre.
History of Tavira Castle
The castle dates from the Moorish rule of Portugal and the 11th century. Tavira was conquered by the Christian crusaders in 1242 and the castle was at the forefront of the fighting. The castle was expanded and strength by King Dinis in 1294 and this is the castle that tourist explore today.
Be careful if climbing the battlements of Tavira castle
This expansion of fortifications included the city walls that were constructed in 1296. The primary purpose of the castle was to defend against Moorish invasion but later the role altered to defend the fishing port from pirate raiders. The importance of the castle waned in the 15th century and was severely damaged by the 1755 earthquake.
Today the castle comprises of four solid stone walls with accessible battlements running along the eastern side of the castle. The castle has no central keep and the small main gate opens on the Largo Abu Otmana, the square in front of the massive Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo. There is a second rear entrance to the castle from the Rua da Liberdad.