Tavira Car Hire
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Tavira is situated on the easter side of the Algarve, an incredibly popular destination. It is located about 30 km east of Faro and only about 25 km from the Spanish border. The town is however slightly less popular amongst tourists and therefore more of a peaceful and authentic experience.
Most people arriving at Tavira fly to faro airport where prices start from as low as £2 per day depending on the vehicle and the time of year. There is a huge array of cars available and a wide range of suppliers , from international suppliers such as Green Motion, Guerin or OK Rent a Car, as well as local suppliers such as Yes Car Hire, Masterkings and Luz Ocean Drive. Alternatively you can also pick up the car from Tavira Railway Station and the car can also be delivered to your hotel in Tavira for an extra fee.
Guide to Tavira
Tavira is a picturesque town that is perched on the Gilao river and built from old whitewashed buildings, pretty churches and cobbled streets. This idyllic structure is all surrounded by the ancient islamic castle walls, which you can climb to take in the best views of the town and gain an insight into what goes on along all of the backstreets. The ancient roman bridge is reminiscent of Venice but contrasting in the fact that it is mostly little fishing boats that float peacefully down the river.
After the Romans, the Moors occupied Tavira in the 8th century when they built the castle and two mosques. In 1242 the city was conquered by Dom Paio Peres Coreeira and his crusade knights and the remaining Moors were segregated into the mouraria outside of the town walls. By the 16th century, the town was recognized on a larger scale because of the important role it played as the major port in the Algarve, due to its close proximity to Morocco serving Portugese expeditions to North Africa.Decline followed when the river came too silted for large boats to enter the port, the plague struck in 1645 and then the earthquake hit in 1755. In the 20th century the town found a more stable income in the tuna industry but when the tuna shoals emigrated elsewhere, the town began to rely on tourism.
Things to do in Tavira
Simply wandering around the charming cobbled streets of the town is enough for a luxury, not only due to the lovely architecture but also the authentic feel that is not so easily accessible in the Algarve. It is worth strolling to the area of the Jardim do Coreto, which is a lively garden with a bandstand and the Mercado da Ribeira, which used to be a market and now serves the purpose of entertaining. The 17th century Roman Bridge and its walled parapet are most definitely worth seeing as well as the Castle Tower which is considered the best viewpoint over the rooftops all the way to the deep blue sea. The main square of the town is Praça da Republica and is a typical cosmopolitan open square surrounded by large arched buildings and in the centre there is a collection of fountains and war memorial.
If you are a keen culture vulture, then Tavira has an endless supply of impressive churches. Here are the ones that are most worth visiting:
- Santa Maria do Costelo Church is a Gothic style church which was built in the 13th century where a mosque used to be. Inside lie the tombs of Paoi Peres Correia and 7 of his crusaders, who conquered the town from the Moors in 1242.
- Santiago Church dates back from the end of the 18th century and is situated right next to the castle.
- Igreja do Carmo whose rich interior is carved from wood.
- Ermida de São Sebastião
The town continues all the way to the Ria Formosa, a series of salt water lagoons and huge sandy barrier islands which separate the coast from the Atlantic ocean. It attracts a huge amount of wildlife, particularly wild birds such as flamingos and cranes. This partly explains the fact that Tavira boasts a 10 km sandy coastline and so many glorious beaches with white sand and turquoise water that merges into a deep blue, such as Ilha de Tavira which is only a short ferry away from the town centre. In a similar way Cabanas Beach offers an idyllic island setting with white sand and blue sea.
The Praia do Barril is a pristine beach, as well as the setting of the Anchor Cemetery, where 100 anchors lie on the beach from the tuna fishing community which disappeared when the bluefin tuna moved to other waters.
Exploring the region
Despite there being plenty to do in Tavira, the city forms an excellent launchpad to discover what else the region has to offer. An example of this is the traditional old fishing village of Olhao which still functions as the largest port in the region and not only has the most delicious seafood to offer but also an interesting northern African aesthetic, created by the white buildings with flat terracotta roofs.
Only a 10 mins drive outside, is the incredibly peaceful spot of Pego de Inferno, which is an amazing waterfall with a small lake which remains off the beaten track, making it all the more magical.
Faro is also only about 30 minutes drive away from Tavira and is a historically and culturally rich city worth visiting with a huge variety of tourist attractions. There are of course the attractions which the city is renowned for, including golf courses, shopping and water parks which may be exactly what you are looking for. However the city also has lots of culture to explore including the ancient city walls and the gothic cathedral.
Being close to the sea, there is no big surprise that there is an abundance of fresh fish and seafood. However, the great thing about Tavira is that you can rely on it being beautifully cooked, including delicious octopus and the portugese traditional dish, Cataplana de marisco, named after the large copper clam shaped pan that its cooked in, which resembles a seafood stew with all the seafood you can possibly imagine. Tuna fishing is also one of the traditional pastimes, so it is worth trying the tuna steaks or the estopeta, a portugese tuna salad. There are plenty of restaurants in the town to enjoy a different one every night.
If you want to enjoy the local cuisine, then Ti Maria has a fantastic collection of Tapas and excellent service. It is small but has a welcoming feel and incredible octopus. Casa Cota is a family owned churrasqueira, meaning that all of the delicious fresh produce is cooked over an open grill charcoal fire, and serves the most delicious grilled meat and seafood in the setting of a roof terrace, all for incredibly good prices. For more well-priced sea-food Vale D’el Rei is another fabulous option and perfect place to feast on octopus or try the Cataplana.Similarly, A Barquinha does the simplest things perfectly with delicious salads and tasty grilled local fish, all to be enjoyed in the cosy, popular venue on the river side.
Noelia & Jeronimo is an incredibly popular restaurant which will definitely require you to book. The chef is renowned throughout the country and his reputation is worthy due to the incredible food he produces.
For a lovely lunchtime beach spot, head to Quatro Aguas where you will feast on the famous deep-fried octopus fillets, fresh fish over the fire, as well as bread dumplings with razor clams and prawns and delicious cocktails.
The closest airport to Tavira is Faro Airport (FAO, also called Algarve Airport), which is the main gateway to the Algarve. It is located in central Algarve and takes in over 8 million passengers per year. The airport hosts both international and domestic flights but mainly flights to and from the United Kingdom. The journey from Faro airport to Tavira is about 35 km east along the A22 and takes under 45 mins.
Buses and Trains
Buses and trains are widely available but just be prepared to expect delays. Portugese trains are operated by CP with all prices and timetables available on their website. You can purchase tickets at the train station or on the train. The Linha do Algarve runs the length of the Algarve from Lagos in the west to Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the Spanish border in the east. Faro is the hub of this line and it’s where you need to change trains to go anywhere else.The bus services are run by Eva Transportes.
Drive incredibly carefully as the portugese are notorious for overtaking on hills or blind corners. There are two main roads in the region. The highway, the A22, is the fastest road but you do have to pay a toll. Most rental companies install a device that automatically pays the toll and then charges you at the end of the rental.The other is the national N125 which is a free road and takes slightly longer.
Speed limits in Faro and the rest of Portugal are as follows: 120 km/h on the motorways, 100 km/h (60 mph) for expressways, 90 km/h (50mph) on other roads and 50 km/h (30 mph) for built-up areas. Speed traps are common, so don’t be tempted to break the speed limit, even although you’ll probably see local drivers doing so.
Top Tips when hiring a car in Tavira
● Research and Compare: Take the time to research and compare car hire options in Tavira from different companies to find the best deals and rates.
● Book Early: To secure the car you want and get better rates, book your car hire in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.
● Check for Free Cancellation: Opt for car hire deals that offer free cancellation, providing you with flexibility in case your plans change.
● Consider Popular Car Hire Choices: Popular car hire models may offer better availability, service, and comfort during your trip.
● Special Car Class or Van Hire: If you need a specific type of vehicle, such as a larger van, inquire about special car classes or van hire services.
● Ensure Proper Documentation: If you're an international traveler, make sure you have an international driving permit if required.
● Tavira Delivery Service: Some car hire companies offer the convenience of delivering the rental car to your location in Tavira.
● Check for Additional Fees: Be aware of any additional fees or surcharges that may apply to your car hire, such as insurance or airport taxes.
● Average Price Comparison: Compare the average price of different car hire options to find the most suitable one for your budget.