Tavira is a beautifully elegant town and almost surreal in aspects.
Visitors can be forgiven for forgetting where they are, or even what year it is, as they step into this unique Algarve fishing town.
Between the 8th and 13th centuries Tavira was under Arab rule until its conquest by the Knights of the Order of Santiago in 1242.It was elevated to a city in 1520 by King Manuel I and was the main trading port in the Algarve during the 16th to 18th centuries.
Today it has still managed to stave off the influence of tourism to hold on to its unique tradition and handsome character. The seven arch bridge, over the river Gilão, is reputedly Roman in origin, although its present appearance was acquired in the 17th century. Since severe floods affected the bridge in 1989 it has only been open to pedestrians. The market hall on the river front was re-vamped a few years ago and now is 'home' to several shops, cafes and restaurants around the edge with the central space available for exhibitions and special events.