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Tavira, Algarve: Travel Guide

Last updated: October 2019* | 2 Comments

Tavira is a scenic town on the Eastern Algarve with a beautiful riverfront and numerous historical attractions including a castle and several churches.

Tavira does have some great beaches close by (including Praia da Ilha de Tavira), but they’re not as easily accessible as the beaches in other Algarve towns. Praia da Ilha de Tavira, for example, is 2 km from Tavira and can be reached by taking a ferry or walking across a footbridge.

Because the beaches aren’t quite as accessible as those in places like Albufeira, Carvoeiro, or Monte Gordo, Tavira has never become a beach resort town like those mentioned. And, for many people, that’s a very positive thing.

If you don’t mind taking a ferry to the beach, there are several beautiful beaches near Tavira. It’s also just over 8 km from the Pego do Inferno waterfalls.

Tavira is also close to many other interesting towns close by including Faro, Loulé, Castro Marim, and Vila Real de Santo António. Even Sagres, on the other side of the Algarve, is still within driving distance: just 90 minutes by car.

There are also plenty of areas of natural beauty close by, in particular the Ria Formosa. This natural park is considered to be one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal which, considering how many beautiful places there are in Portugal, is definitely a very high accolade.

Tavira is also just 30 minutes by car from Spain, so you could easily take a day trip into Spain to see places like Ayamonte, Huelva, and even Sevilla.

Handpicked accommodation in Tavira

Tavira has plenty of great accommodation options, from hotels to guesthouses, but here are a few that particularly stand out.

  • Quinta da Lua – Boutique hotel with beautiful and fragrant gardens that’s just 4 km from Tavira, this hotel features an eco saltwater pool that’s surrounded by olive groves.
  • Maria Nova Lounge Hotel – An adults only hotel that’s situated just 5 minutes’ walk from Tavira’s Town Centre, Maria Nova Lounge Hotel offers stylish accommodation with amenities like an outdoor swimming pool and poolside cocktail bar.
  • OZADI Tavira Hotel – Contemporary and tastefully-designed, the OZADI offers many amenities including an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, and 2 onsite restaurants.
  • Pousada Convento de Tavira – Boutique accommodation inside the renovated St. Augustine’s Convent, this hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a shady courtyard, and, during winter, a lounge with a roaring fire.

Should I rent a car?

Hiring a car is always a good idea on the Algarve as it can be complicated to get around by public transport and it’s difficult to get to certain places (like beaches) by bus or train. That said, if you don’t drive or don’t want to drive, it is possible to visit the Algarve without a car.

Tavira is on the train line, which makes getting around by public transport a lot easier. From Tavira, you can easily get to Vila Real de Santo António, Castro Marim, Olhão, Faro, Portimão, and Lagos by train. That’s more than enough day trips for most people, and that’s before even looking at all the different places that you can get to by bus.

Getting to Tavira

From Faro Airport

  • Airport transfer: If you aren’t renting a car at Faro Airport, booking an airport transfer with a company like Welcome Pickups is the easiest way to get from Faro Airport to Tavira and the journey usually takes around 30 minutes.
  • Rental car: Hiring a car at Faro Airport is a good idea if you’re planning on taking a lot of day trips. The journey time from the airport is around 30 minutes on the A22 toll road or a little over 40 minutes if you take the N125 road.
  • Shuttle bus: Shuttle buses take longer than an airport transfer but are cheaper. The journey usually takes around 90 minutes, and tickets can be purchased on hoppa.com.
  • Taxi (or Uber): Taxis are available outside of Faro Airport, and the journey to Tavira usually takes around 30 minutes. Taking a taxi from Faro Airport is more expensive than booking an airport transfer, so it’s worth booking a transfer in advance.
  • Public transport: There is a bus between Faro Airport and Tavira, with several journeys per day, and the journey time is usually around 45 minutes. Tickets can be purchased from rede-expressos.pt. If these timetable doesn’t fit with your schedule, you’ll get to take the airport bus (#16) or a taxi into Faro and then take either a bus or train onto Tavira (see below).

From Faro

  • Bus: There are regular buses between Faro and Tavira, and the journey usually takes 1 hour. Tickets can be purchased on eva-bus.com.
  • Train: There are regular trains between Faro and Tavira, and the journey usually takes around 40 minutes. Tickets can be purchased on cp.pt, and discounts are available if you book in advance.

From Lisbon & the rest of Portugal

  • Bus: Long distance coaches go to Tavira from many towns and cities in Portugal including Lisbon and Porto. Tickets can be purchased from rede-expressos.pt
  • Train: Tavira is on the trainline, so it’s possible to get the train from Lisbon, Porto, and many other major towns and cities in Portugal. Tickets can be purchased on cp.pt, and discounts are available if you book in advance.

Updates: Some updates are as small as a spelling correction. If you spot a mistake or want to suggest a contribution, leave a comment below.

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2 comments on “Tavira, Algarve: Travel Guide”

  1. Hi I’m looking to rent in Portugal for thee months jan to April I could do with some advice on where to rent and any letting agents you may know I really don’t want to be surrounded by English and would like to be on the coast any help you can give would be much appreciated thank you Gary

    • Hi Gary,

      Anywhere on the Algarve coast will have a few expats. I think if you want to avoid them completely you would have to go to another region of Portugal like the Alentejo (which has a really nice coast as well) or go further inland into the rural Algarve. Tavira is quite a pretty place, so it’s always going to attract plenty of expats.

      There is a whole article to renting on the Algarve here. Hope that helps you.