Long Weekend in Tavira, Portugal

Tariva is a beautiful town situated in Portugal’s Algarve region. The Ria Formosa runs through the middle of the town and can be crossed by a variety of charming bridges. We visited for a long weekend towards the end of June. I’d never been to Portugal before, so this was a first for me!

Exploring Tavira

Cobbles. So many cobbles. My advice for a holiday in Tavira, is to stick with flat shoes. It isn’t really the sort of place where you’d be expected to wear heels, and you’ll have a much better time if you’re not getting stuck in cobbles.

tavira street

Once you’ve got your footwear sorted, you’ll find that Tavira is a lovely place to wander about exploring. There are plenty of attractive places to stop for cocktails or snacks. If you’re a fan of ice cream sundaes then be sure to head over to the Tavira Lounge for a delicious strawberry sundae!

This is the lovely view of the river from the Tavira Lounge. The perfect place to sit and read or work on your tan.

view from tavira lounge

You’ll see in the beautiful town centre area there is a monument surrounded by benches, but make sure you look over the edge, as there are loads of fish and turtles living in the pond surrounding it.

taviraturtles in tavira

Tavira Island

The town of Tavira isn’t actually by the sea, but you can catch a little boat from the town centre which takes you down the river and to Tavira Island. The boat runs both ways about twice an hour, and the tickets are very inexpensive – get your ticket from the little kiosk before getting in the queue. If you get seasick on boats, you don’t have to worry about this journey, I am very susceptible to motion sickness and I didn’t feel a thing 🙂

The journey is fairly scenic, and about 10 minutes, when you disembark there is a little pathway leading to a cluster of restaurants. If you’re economising then you can take food with you to eat on the island, and if you need to use the facilities there are some public toilets, however, they didn’t appear to have been cleaned recently.

If you dine at one of the restaurants on the island you will be allowed to use their facilities, so that might be preferable if you are not in the mood for festival vibe toilets.

You can rent sun loungers from a little kiosk, and the locals brought all their own parasols etc with them on the boat.

tavira island

Tavira’s Best Restaurants for Vegetarians

  • Restaurante Aquasul – the best veggie lasagne I’ve ever had in my life! And the chips are amazing, and come with a delightful garlic dip!
  • Nossa-Taska Brushetteria –  It was a few minutes to midnight, and I was feeling peckish, to say the least! Everywhere else was closed and I was just about coming to terms with the fact that I would have to wait until breakfast to eat when we stumbled across this little place. Even though they were almost at closing time, the chef made me an incredible veggie platter. As you can see below there were green peppers, a tomato, basil and cheese skewer, jenga toast, and a selection of other cheeses. It was absolutely delicious!

veggie food tavira

We returned the next day and sampled their bruschetta, loads of vegetarian options, and just a brilliant place all-round.

Nossa-Taska Brushetteria.Tavira

Even the €1 side salad was delicious, this place really is the bee’s knees! And just incase you’re interested, you can see the menu for Nossa Taska Brushetteria Tavira below! I had the tomato with island cheese and basil, apparently, island cheese is the local cheese. This place has amazing staff, lovely ambience and delicious food! And it hadn’t even been open that long, so I’m so glad it was there for my vegetarian needs!

Nossa-Taska Brushetteria Tavira- menu

Vila Gale Hotel

hotel vila gale tavira

Our stay here was very good value for money. Everything was lovely and clean, and they even found out it was my birthday and brought me chocolate strawberries and fizzy wine!! (I say they ‘found out’, I did loudly announce it at check-in with the hopes of a free room upgrade – lol).

birthday present

The best thing about breakfast was the pastries, and the best thing about the hotel was the location and the lovely pool.

General Thoughts about Tavira/Portugal

  • Portuguese people don’t appreciate being spoken to in Spanish.
  • The time in Portugal is the same as the time in England!
  • When you go to a restaurant, they will bring you nice bread and things to nibble on before your meal comes. You’ll assume its free, but then when the bill comes you’ll see “couvert”, and this is the charge for the bread! And it is often expensive! But apparently, if they bring you it without asking and you don’t eat it, then they can’t charge you for it. But the whole thing is a bit awkward really.
    tavira vegetarian meal
  • There is meat and there is seafood, but what there isn’t much of is vegetarian food. The meal above was the vegetarian option in one restaurant, it was very nice but not particularly filling. There are plenty of standard restaurants near the river with generic menus and people standing outside trying to coax you in. Don’t bother with them, instead, go to the places where you have to make a reservation to get in. In this day and age, you can arrange a reservation via Facebook messenger, so its all pretty simple.
  • Going out for dinner in Portugal is more like how it is in England, people seem to go for about 7 or 8. I had assumed it would be more like Spain and people would eat at about 10, but if you turn up at 10 most people have finished eating and are just having after dinner drinks. Unless, of course, you’ve made a late reservation at a really popular restaurant which has many sittings.

tavira flowers

My final gem of wisdom I’m going to share with you is that if you order chips in Portugal, they will bring you crisps…

If you’re interested in going on holiday with your dog, check out my dog-friendly travel guide here.