Tavira is a town full of history and charm. Built on the shores of the Gilao river, its history dates back to the Bronze Age. There is a considerable Roman influence but mainly Moorish – Dom Paio Peres took Tavira back from the Moors in 1242. In the 1520’s, Tavira was an important city due to its geographic location and busy shipping port.
The municipality of Tavira is the second largest in the Algarve and has a total population of about 26.000 people, with Tavira town having around 10.000. The total area of the Tavira council is approximately 600 square kilometers (110 square miles).
Today Tavira is considered the pearl of the Eastern Algarve. The main activity is tourism which in turn creates jobs and business for the local population. Traditionally, fishing has always been an integral part of Tavira along with the salt pans producing the famous flower salt. With this the local bird life thrives, bringing many migrating species, and consequently, bird watchers from around the world. Small agricultural farming is still popular not least producing the sweet, juicy Algarve oranges.
There are many things to discover in the old town centre: cobbled streets, 18th century buildings, little alleys, “secret gardens”, churches and the castle to mention a few.
The Ria Formosa Lagoon, voted one of the 7 wonders of Portugal, separates the land from the sea. The long stretched white sandy beach in the Tavira area have the amazing total length of 11km, making it one of the less populated beaches in the Algarve, even in the August high season. Ilha de Tavira was rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world by the Lonely Planet travel guide.