28 May 2016

Where to go in Portugal: Tavira & Cabanas

While staying in Olhão, we went for a short trip to Tavira. What do I remember about it? The sound of seagulls and beautiful houses painted in orange, yellow, blue, pink and green. Palm trees, flowers, and strong sunshine making me squint my eyes. Old windows, and doors, and colourful sardines hanging on the balustrade of one of the buildings in the historic center (are you able to spot them in the photos below?).

A great base for exploring the eastern side of the Algarve, Tavira is located along the banks of the Gilão River, about 25 km from the Spanish border and 30 km from Faro. Even in the height of summer, it's a very tranquil, unhurried and authentic Portuguese fishing town. Cobbled streets and traditional architecture  including 37 historic churches!  make Tavira a beautiful destination to explore in the south of Portugal. 

A short distance from Tavira, there's a little pretty town called Cabanas which in the past was a fishing port. There's nothing more relaxing than taking a stroll near the waterfront watching the seagulls flying above our heads and boats slightly rocking on the glittering water in plain sunshine. Don't forget to take a boat to the unspoilt Cabanas island, part of the stunning Ria Formosa National Park, to find beautiful nature and empty white sandy beaches.

Where to eat? There's only one answer to this question  Noélia e Jerónimo in Cabanas at Rua de Fortaleza, a noisy but tasteful place always full of locals, offers incredibly fresh, reasonably priced and deliciously prepared genuine Portuguese food. You should eat absolutely  e v e r y t h i n g  there but if you don't have that much time, please do try at least perfect fried shrimps (12.50 €), bacalhau fillet coated in delicate bread crumbs (14 €) served with coriander rice or pataniscas with octopus (10.50 €).

It's so worth to go to Tavira even if for a couple of hours as in that charming traditional town time passes much more slowly. Order a cafezinho on the street, observe the seagulls dancing above the river, take a peek into those little shops with beautiful design souvernirs or just admire the colours of Tavira, anywhere. It's almost too hard to believe that it can be so tranquil in this "touristy" part of Portugal, Algarve.


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