Verity the Volkswagen has taken up residence in the very popular Aire in Tavira,Portugal. When we arrived we were offered a choice of 4 spaces out of 120! (N 37.1325, W 7.63158)
A first for me is to see people arrive at 9am and queue for a space. As soon as someone leaves it refills ! – Maybe it’s because we are still mid holiday season or maybe it’s because a short walk away is a super little town.
Tavira is one of the most beautiful towns in the Algarve, Located directly on the banks of the Gilão River, as generally overlooked by most tourists, no massive hotel complex in sight.
Ponte Antiga Sobre o Rio Gilão, apparently more calked the “Roman bridge,” this beautiful structure provides pedestrian with a path across the Gilão.
Despite its name, this bridge is not from the Roman period. In all likelihood, the bridge goes back to the Moors and probably took on its current look after a reconstruction in the 1600s.
Sometime between the 8th and 13th centuries, Tavira was ruled by the Moors. The evidence of this can be seen in the architecture found all around and most notably in the ruins of the Castle of Tavira.
The castle dates to the 11th century and was expanded by King Dinis in 1294 after the Christians conquered Tavira in 1242.
Today, you can explore the castle walls and access the battlements that run along the east side of the fortification.
The views of the city are incredible, the internal gardens are stunning, and somehow it’s free !
Churches, you know how we love to explore the European churches as we travel and Tavira provides in droves, they is supposably 20 of them in town (we stopped counting after a while) each offers its very own beauty,
One of our Favourites was Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo.
Located directly beside the Castro walls, this church dates back to the 13th century and was built on the site of a Moorish mosque.
Rumor has it, that it serves as the final resting place of the 7 knights who, died when the Moors recaptured Tavira .
With New Year’s Eve upon us, we opted for the lively evening of local bands (before midnight) and then a DJ (who apparently played until 5am). We failed to see much of the DJ but we did get to enjoy the town at night.
Kicking off 2023, as we mean to go on we set off on a new years day walk, I promised Michele it would be worth the effort.
After about 6 or 7 miles we crossed from the mainland on to the beautiful Ilha de Tavira.
Our goal, The Cemitério das Âncoras (Anchor Graveyard) which can be found amongst the dunes at Praia do Barril. It consists of hundreds of rusting anchors arranged in neat rows. – Well you didn’t think it would be anything normal !
The anchors are a kind of memorial to the tuna fishing industry that used to thrive along this coast. Over the years bluefin tuna stocks declined, and the industry that was relied on them followed suit.
Oh and a rather stunning beach…..