Located just 30km East from Faro, Tavira is often called the “Queen of theAlgarve”. It’s architecture is one of the most attractive amongst the towns ofAlgarve, showing traces of the different cultures that lived there through the centuries.
The castle offers a great sight over the town, the river and the 37 churches. It’s the ideal town for a leisure walk, where at night, the bridge lights magically shine over the river front.
From Tavira there is a boat that offers regular trips to theIslandofTavira– a beautiful 10km long sand island. The main economical activity of Tavira was fishing, but the industry collapsed, partly due to the change of the tuna migration patterns. Nowadays, Tavira has become more popular as a touristic destination. The visitors appreciate it’s history, it’s beauty, it’s very Portuguese character.
Not far away from Tavira, it is one of the best kept secrets of the Algarve, not to be missed – Cacela Velha. A small village that’s white lime painted, on the sea front, with staggering views both over the sea and land. The village has a beauty of its own and inspires a tranquillity that warms up the heart of every visitor. It’s architecture still reveals details of the Arabic domain. But the famous earthquake on 1st November 1755 nearly destroyed the whole village, and today we only find remains of the XVII and XVIII centuries, like the fortress and some traditional villas, showing its algarvian architecture. An old mediaeval church, Islamic and roman ruins and remains of a mediaeval wall can also be seen around the village.
Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo has its origins on XVI century. It was named after “Catarina de Alexandria”, deceased in 307 a.d. at Fonte do Bispo, the place where locals believe to have seen her ghost. Only 13 kmaway from Tavira, its economy is based on olive oil production, industrial pottery (bricks, tiles, etc.) country housing and “medronho” distillation.
Considered in the Algarveas the “octupus capital”, the history of this seaside village goes back to 1577 and its name invokes Saint Luzia, Sicilian born saint. The waterfront promenade offers several restaurants and “tascas” where you can enjoy the best shellfish, as well as typical dishes. That’s an invitation for a walk by the Ria Formosa watching the sailing boats and the birds, before lunch. In front of Santa Luzia we find a long sandy beach called “Terra Estreita”, which access is made by little boats, especially in the summer time. Beside you’ll find BArril beach, a unique beach for families with the kids train to get there.
Trajo Museum (S. Brás de Alportel)
An old family House (now Casa da Cultura António Bentes), built in the XIX century, hosts the “TrajoMuseum”. Located in S. Brás, this museum aims to preserve and to value the culture of the region, by exhibiting several pieces of traditional Algarvian clothing from the XIX and XX centuries, religious sculptures, traditional vehicles and several instruments used in agriculture. Regularly, temporary exhibitions, and various events, like fairs and live music shows, are also held on site, like the Jazz concerts on each 3rd Sunday every month.
Markets - Olhão & Loulé
The Olhão Market is a true experience starting by its traditionally presented architecture presented in a cover of four waters and four cylindrical glass turrets with metal domes. Inside, be taken away by the appetizing fruits, garden produce and the regions typical dry fruits. Admire the freshness of the recently caught fish, and the reaction of many tourists that meet there. The fish market has been used for culture events too. It’s a high end spot in town.
On Saturdays there is the most movement as people from out of town and local producers put up their stands on the outside of the building. Here the experience is unique, as it is situated in the view of the Ria Formosa that stretches to the islands and the sea. The fishing boats provide to the market daily, making it the most popular in the Algarve when it comes to fish and seafood. You can also see a replica of the “Bom Sucesso” ship, that on the 6th of July 1808, with only 17 Olhao locals on board, went to Brasil to inform the king on the expulsion of the French.
The Municipal Loulé Market, was inaugarated on the 27th of June, 1908. The building was constructed following the Architect Alfredo Costa Campos’ project, even thought the project suffered some alterations.
Here you can find a wide variety of fruits and fresh vegetables, diverse handicraft, gourmet shops and culture events. Adventure yourself in the flaring gipsy market and make the most of making bargains.
Estoi & Milreu Roman Ruins
Estoi is a small algarve village, discretly removed from the mass tourism. To the surprise of many that visit for the first time, Estoi has a rare patrimonial richness in the region: here you can find the Milreu Ruins, The Estoi Palace and diverse examples of well conserved regional architecture. All this 10km of the coast, 10 minutes from Faro.
Important historic legacy that proves the roman presence in the algarve lands, the Milreu Ruins, situated a few kilometres from Faro, close to Estoi, is an authentic trip to the past worth seeing.
The impressive collection in the Milreu Ruins, classified as a national monument, reveals what is left of the luxury rural village, that in the VI century abandoned its pagan state to serve the Christian Church. Nowadays the Rural Ruins House, that has been transformed in an interpretation centre, allows you to have an idea of how the romans spent their days in the Algarve. The archaeological collection presents a manor-house, agriculture facilities, a vineyard, a locker room and a temple dedicated to aquatic activities.