Tavira is one of the Algarve's most attractive towns and offers tourists the very best of this part of Portugal - the beaches, the sparkling blue seas, the sunshine, the relaxed pace of life far from the all-day-breakfast resorts further up the coast.
It's a town of small squares and shady back streets. Its wrought-iron balconies and tiled facades, latticed entranceways and "treasury" roofs speak of its past as a prosperous fishing town. A Roman bridge and ruined Moorish castle (which has wonderful views from the walls) are just two of its sights. There are almost 40 churches, ancient and beautiful with gothic porches, Renaissance-style chapels and tolling bell towers.
Heaven for bathers, the beaches are perfection. There are regular ferry crossings to Ilha da Tavira, an island opposite the town. Cabanas, an isolated beach, is separated by an arm of the Ria Formosa, which can be reached by boat from Tavira.
Tavira is heaven for golfers too. The Benamor is just outside the town. From the greens there are views over the mountains on one side and to the sea on the other.
Travellers searching for flights to Tavira should look to Faro Airport, it's a mere 30 minutes away.