Is Tavira Worth Visiting? 8 Reasons To Visit in 2024!

You’re here because you’ve asked yourself the question “Is Tavira worth visiting?” I get it, Tavira is not as well known as the destinations in the western Algarve and Albufeira in the center.

In fact, Eastern Algarve is a lot less touristy and has a calmer reputation. You won’t find the dramatic golden cliffs, impressive rock formations, or surf spots in Tavira.

So is Tavira a good holiday destination at all?

Tavira is definitely worth visiting and is one of the destinations I return back to time after time just to exist. There are heaps of great things to do in Tavira even though they might differ from what most people expect from the Algarve.

Strolling around the cobbled streets of the old town, taking in the views from Tavira Castle, and venturing to Tavira Island never gets old. Read on for the top reasons to visit Tavira Portugal!

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Is Tavira worth visiting: Beautiful city views from Tavira Castle

Is Tavira worth visiting?

First, let’s have a quick look at the pros and cons of visiting Tavira Portugal. This might already give you an idea of whether it’s the right place for you to visit or if you’d rather look into other towns in the Algarve for your trip.


  • It is less touristy than other places in Algarve
  • Quaint old town
  • It’s right next to Ria Formosa Natural Park
  • Easy access to Tavira Island
  • Great restaurants and bars


  • No surf
  • No steep cliffs and rock formations that Algarve is so famous for
  • No beach right in the town
  • Not a big party town

Reasons to visit Tavira

Quaint old town

Tavira Old Town is so charming. Cobbled streets and traditional tiled houses have witnessed centuries of history. The ruins of Tavira Castle are great to visit and while it’s mainly the defensive walls standing, the garden is beautiful and the views from the castle walls are great.

Besides, there are several churches and historical buildings to explore as you walk through narrow alleys and vibrant squares. There’s also no shortage of cafés and restaurants to sit down to people watch.

tiled houses in a street in Tavira.

Gateway to Ria Formosa Natural Park

One of the best reasons to visit Tavira is the town’s closeness to Ria Formosa Natural Park. It is one of the most important resting stops for migrating birds and a home to a unique biodiversity.

The natural park is also home to several barrier islands, whereof Tavira Island is one of them. This means you can easily reach the island from Tavira, and in fact Tavira Beach is located on the island.

You can also reach the natural park via Cabanas de Tavira, a small fishing community outside of town which is easily connected to Cabanas Island where you can go swimming at the mesmerizing Cabanas Beach.

Check out my post about the best boat trips in Ria Formosa Natural Park to explore the barrier islands by boat.

Flamingos in Ria Formosa Natural Park in Tavira

Tavira Island

Talking about Tavira Island, it’s one of the top reasons why visiting Tavira should be on your itinerary even though you only spend 3 days in Algarve.

Tavira Island is home to several beautiful beaches like Tavira Beach and Barril Beach (where you also find the quirky Anchor Cemetery.)

This is also the only barrier island that can be reached by foot. This entails crossing a pedestrian bridge and taking a tourist train across the island to Barril Beach – or hiking across.

But you can also take a boat trip or ferry over to Tavira Beach. There are several bars and restaurants where you can get food and drinks.

Is Tavira Portugal worth visiting: beautiful white sanded beach

Gilão River

Who can resist a town with a river? I know I can’t. The Gilão River elegantly flows through the Portuguese town and the most beautiful bridge to cross it is the Roman Bridge.

There are also restaurants lined along the Gilão River where you can enjoy food and drinks on sunny days while taking in the beauty of the river.

Tavira Roman Bridge crossing the river

Fabulous base for day trips to Algarve

There are also a lot of fantastic day trips from Tavira that you can take. I love using Tavira as a base for day trips to places like Faro, Olhão, and Loulé.

There are so many cool places to add to your Algarve itinerary, but if you prefer a relaxing place to get back to at night, Tavira is the best place to stay in Algarve for couples, groups of friends, and families alike.

a wooden sailboat in front of the food market in Olhao

Historical salt production

Tavira is known for its salt production of Flor de Sal. The salt pans were used even in the Roman era when it gave salt to the entire empire.

Now you can visit the salt pans and go for hikes around them. Bird watchers especially, will enjoy the many bird species you can see there.

Tavira salt pans

Close to nature

Besides Ria Formosa Natural Park, Tavira is also close to beautiful lush nature. One of my favorite spots is the Pego do Inferno Waterfall.

It does get busy in summer, especially on the weekends, but in spring and fall, there are fewer people, and still great for swimming. There are walking trails around Tavira and beautiful coastal walks like Passadiço de Cabanas that you can enjoy.

Pego do Inferno waterfall Tavira

Home to the quirkiest attraction in Algarve

On Tavira Island, you’ll find the quirkiest attraction in Algarve. The Anchor Cemetery. What is it? Exactly what it sounds like, but no people are buried, only anchors.

It’s a memorial dedicated to the Tuna Fishing era and the fishermen who lived on Tavira Island with their families. The giant rusty anchors that are lined behind Barril Beach, were left behind when there were no more tunas in the area and the fishermen left.

No one really knows who collected them all and placed them where they are today, but around 200 anchors are a pretty good representation of the once-thriving industry Tavira lived of.

Why visit Tavira - anchor cemetery

Conclusion: Is Tavira Portugal worth visiting?

So, is Tavira Portugal worth visiting? Again, I really think it is! Tavira gives you a different picture of the Algarve and is a very different destination than Lagos in the west for example.

But if you’re after surfing, partying, and fast-paced water sports, then Tavira is not the place for you. Then you might rather be looking into destinations like Albufeira, Vilamoura, or Lagos.

Happy travels!