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Tavira 1 Week Suggested Itinerary (7 days)
Tavira is an idyllic holiday destination, perfectly suited for tourists wishing to discover authentic southern Portugal. The town has a charming city centre, beautiful sandy beaches and there are a variety of interesting daytrips for all tastes. A one week holiday in this region is just enough time to explore the entire eastern side of the Algarve and inexpensive public transport means that a rental car is not required. This guide will provide a suggested 7 day itinerary for a 1 week long holiday to Tavira.
1 Week suggested Itinerary
Day One - Ilha do Tavira beach
Day Two - Explore the town
Day Three – Day trip to Vila Real
Day Four - Santa Luzia and Praia do Barril beach
Day Five – Day trip to Faro
Day Six - Cabanas resort and beach
Day Seven - Day trip to Olhao
Tavira 7 day itinerary
Day One – day on the beach
In order to get into the pace of a Portuguese holiday and unwind on the first day, head to Tavira’s beach ‘Praia de Tavira’. The long stretch of beach is located on the eastern edge of a sandbar island that has undulating sand dunes. Tourists can also easily escape the crowds by taking a short walk along this vast beach. The island is connected to Tavira by a regular ferry service. For a guide to the Praia de Tavira please click here.
Deserted beach are just a short walk from Praia de Tavira
Day two exploring Tavira historic centre.
Tavira has been an important trading centre since the Moorish Era and its historical significance is reflected through the elegant architecture and beautiful sights of the town.
The peacefull Tavira water front
It is recommended to ascend the hilltop to reach the 13th Century Castelo De Tavira and then take in the Renaissance Igreja da Misericordia church with its ornate tile paintings, and a vividly painted convent. Visitors can then take in the ancient city walls, explore some of the breathtaking 20 churches and head down to the banks of the river Gilão.
The battlements of Tavira castle
Here tourists can wander the cobbled streets and explore the shops, traditional tiled houses or simply relax at one of the many restaurants or cafes. Tavira may be relatively small but is full of character and makes for an enjoyable, cultured day.
Day Three Day trip to Vila Real
Vila Real was a rapidly constructed during the great building era of Portugal, which followed the earthquake of 1755. This easterly Algarve town was constructed in less than two years to serve as an industrial fishing centre. Whilst the principle industry has evaporated, the elegance of the town’s architecture is a delight and boasts grandeur beyond its size or status. Set out in a grid structure, the straight roads and impressive plazas are a tourist delight and give a real contrast to Tavira.
The central square of Vila Real
Vila Real is on situated banks of the Guadiana River, the natural boarder with Spain and a popular day trip is to catch the ferry across the river. Vila Real is connected to Tavira by train and bus with a journey time of around 30 minutes.
The ferry from Vila Real to Spain
Day Four - Barril beach and Santa Luzia
Barril beach was traditionally home to a tuna fishing community, which was abandoned in the 1960s due to depletion in stock levels. The small, whitewash dwellings have been converted into a pleasant selection of beach cafes, restaurants and shops that frame the shoreline. The fishing boat anchors have also been placed in the sand dunes as a rusting memorial to the lost community. This is known as the Anchor Cemetery. For a guide to Barril beach please click here.
The Anchor cemetery
A trip to Barril Beach is often combined with a visit to the picturesque Santa Luzia; a fishing village renowned for its octopus catches. Santa Luzia should be visited early in the day to watch the colourful fishing fleet returning to the harbour and tourists can then wander the fresh fish market. No visit to Santa Luzia is complete without sampling octopus delicacy, loved by the Portuguese. For a guide to Santa Luzia please click here.
Day 5 Day trip to Faro
Faro is the administrative centre of the Algarve and is an interesting day’s break from the beach. The ancient walled section of the city dates from the Moorish Era and the streets all lead up to the majestic Se Cathedral. From the cathedral rooftop tourists can get panoramic view over the city and mud flats of Rio Formosa National Park.
For those looking for something different; the creepiest sight of Faro is Chapel of Bones. This fascinating chapel has a rather macabre secret. Walk inside the chapel and tourists can feel a chill down their spine when they realise that human bones are incorporated into every aspect of the chapel interior. The bones were exhumed in the 19th century from Faro’s overcrowded cemetery.
The bone chapel Faro is creepy
Whilst Faro is often overlooked by most visitors, it is a fascinating town and is a great destination for a day trip. Faro is also the main transport hub of the Algarve and there are numerous public transport options that connect Faro and Tavira. The journey time is 40 minutes. For a guide to Faro please click here.
Day Six: Cabanas resort and beach
After a day of travel and sightseeing, it is time for some relaxation at chilled resort town of Cabanas. Cabanas is 7km along the coast from Tavira and the beach is located on a sandbar island on the opposite side of the Gilão River Estuary.
Cabanas is situated on the Algarve Cycle Path and it can be easily included as part of a bike ride or short hike for those wishing to do something more active. There is also an hourly bus service that runs Monday to Friday.
Day Seven: Olhao or Tavira beach
Olhao is a busy semi-industrial town with a major harbour and a rugged working class atmosphere. While the whole of the eastern Algarve appears to be relaxing, Olhao seems hard at work. The main industry is fishing and this is all funnelled through the chaotic and lively market, which is best visited in the morning.
The main market in Olhao
Olhao is also the gateway to Ria Formosa National Park and there are boat tours in operation that take visitors around the wildlife reserve. Those who would prefer to spend their last day relaxing might choose to skip Olhao and instead head for Tavira beach.