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Tavira



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Still quite unspoilt by the tourist industry which plagues so many places in Algarve, the pretty town of Tavira lies along both sides of the river Gilão, being linked by a bridge of Roman origin.

Up to the 16th century, the town was considered an important centre due to its proximity to the coast of Morocco, having become a base against pirates and upholding Portugal's positions in North Africa.

Its early ascendancy began with the Moors, as can be seen by the castle they built, on top of a hill, in the old Arab centre, from where fine views over the town can be appreciated, namely of the houses with four-sided telhados de quatro águas (roofs of four waters) which border the Rua da Liberdade street. Their pyramid-like shape was probably conceived to allow the sudden heavy rain of Algarve to fall off easily.

Tavira is filled with historic churches (21 in all) and magnificent mansions dating mainly from the 16th to 18th centuries. Of all the temples, the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo is particularly interesting, with its clock tower and Gothic doorway.

Offshore, the island of Tavira offers eleven kilometres of some of the finest beaches in the region, being also part of the Ria Formosa Nature Reserve and popular among bird-watchers. It can be reached by ferry and is an ideal place for swimming.

| Pousadas (1) | Hotels (6) | Pensions and Boarding Houses (8) | Aparthotels (1) | Manor & Farm Houses (4) | Resorts and Apartments (7) | Camping Sites (1) | Private Houses (3) |
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