If you want to escape the 'modern' resorts, Tavira's architecture provides a pleasant surprise. It is probably the most elegant of the Algarvian towns.
Often described as the 'Algarvian Rome', and more fancifully 'the Venice of Algarve', Tavira stands on two hills on either side of the River Gilao, the two sides of the town being linked by a seven-arch bridge.
Tavira is known as the Town of Churches, since there are a remarkable 22 churches and other places of worship lying within its boundaries.
The late Irish author and artist Patrick Swift, who lived in the Algarve for many years, visited the town and wrote:
"Tavira was like a combination of a pocket Dublin and pocket Venice. I was sorry to leave it. If it stays as it does - I should one day like to retire there."