The scenic location of Tavira, protected by its natural lagoon makes it the "prettiest" town in Portugal - say the Portuguese - and it is one of the most historic cities of modern Portugal. Located 25km from Faro and only 20km from Spain, it is a firm favourite for discerning visitors. Tavira is an ancient town with a Phoenician, Roman and Moorish past. It has a castle, over 35 churches (many neglected), a superb seven arch Roman bridge and a magnificent Roman amphitheatre style Praça da Republica. It is a city divided, but not separated by the River Gilão, there are three bridges linking the two parts of the city.
The Moorish occupation of Tavira between the 8th and 13th centuries left its mark on the agriculture, architecture and culture of the area. That influence can still be seen today with its white-washed buildings, Moorish style Reixa doors, and unusual oriental style roofs. On both sides of the River Gilão you can find good shopping with local produce, including fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, basket ware, pottery, ceramic tiles, wrought iron work, and cork and shell handicrafts. Friendly locals welcome you; whether you are just browsing or "wining & dining" in the many bars and restaurants, on the riverfront or in the fascinating cobbled side streets.