On summer evenings, join the crowd around the gracious garden bandstand by the riverfront enjoying the evening performance. By the light of day, stop halfway over the bridge and look back on the white houses and their unusual trussed gable roofs and the hill peeking out just above the medieval battlements next to the church towers of Santa Maria and Santiago built where once stood two mosques.
Head through the original medieval gateway and take in the fine Renaissance entranceway to the Misericórdia, one of Tavira’s 37 churches, and the magnificent frontage of the Galaria Palace. Perched high above the walls, the Tower of Alcáçova is the best viewpoint out over the city with its waves of roofs and the line of sea blue reaching out to the horizon.
It was in the church of Santa Maria that Paio Peres Correia and his seven knights of the Order of Sant’Iago rested after their successful conquest of Tavira from the Moors in 1242.
Wander these old streets and peek through the lattice doorways, recall the prayers of fishermen in the church of Our Lady of the Waves. Then, cross the river and choose a riverbank restaurant for a break. With energies renewed, head up the small hill next to the Santa Maria and visit two more of those 37 churches, São Paulo and Carmo.
And the charms of this city stretch right onto the sea with the white salting pans and boats waiting to take you over to the island and its 11 kilometres of beach.