September 2018



At the eastern end of the Algarve is Tavira, a Moorish town set on both sides of the Gilão River. Connected by several bridges, most notably, the “Roman Bridge,” built and rebuilt well after Romans might have been in the city. A pleasant small city for walking; notable are the unique pyramid-shaped roofs. We attended a short concert at the Fado Museum, where we enjoyed a performance of traditional 12-string Portuguese guitar, classical guitar, and voice. The main square lit up at night with scores of people spinning on stationary cycles to pop music and enthusiastic instructors. A principal draw for Tavira is its island, just a short boat ride away. Ilha de Tavira has a long, pristine beach, sparsely populated on the Sunday we visited.

Tuna fishing used to be important for Tavira, but  declined in the mid-20th century. The former Fishermen’s Village has been converted to a hotel, with one room reserved for a small tuna-fishing museum. Salt is a major industry (after tourism) for Tavira, where salt pans extend from the city. The pans, large rectangles with salt in various stages of harvesting, and the surrounding brush, provide food, water, and shelter to various sea and shorebirds.

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