Tuesday, 11 August 2015

My Tavira Adventure

A sleepy little fishing village on the east coast of Portugal is where my latest travel adventure found me. My mother and I wanted a last minute getaway where we could soak up some sun, enjoy some delicious fresh seafood and just unwind a little. Now we could think of plenty of places we'd been before that could offer us this but I like to explore new places so we went back to the drawing board decided to ventured to somewhere exciting and new. This lead us to Tavira and without a second thought we booked it. What couldn't we love about this little Portuguese town, unspoilt and charming.
We managed to get a great little deal for a weeks worth of sun staying at the Hotel Vila Galé Tavira, a Moroccan inspired hotel full of beautiful lanterns and intricate detailing panel work. The staff here were an absolute dream, as all the people in Tavira were. My favourite thing about it was the courtyard pool area which was overlooked by three giant palm trees. It was the perfect place to soak up the sun. Now usually during a trip I'm a little more active, I love exploring and seeing everything a place has to offer but it was just too hot to even think about leaving the poolside during the day. This holiday coincided with a massive heatwave meaning every, single day was around 35 degrees or hotter so wearing anything more than a bikini would have killed me.
Sorry for the standardised hot dog vs. hot legs photo but what would a beachy holiday post be without it. But once the sun started to set a little and the heat began to pass it meant the city was ready to explore. Tavira lies across the river, Rio Gialo, with beautiful little bridges connecting the two sides. On one side you'll find the markets and main square while on the other lies beautiful churches and hidden restaurants down little side streets. All of that surrounded by beautiful Portuguese architecture and tiles, making it a truly picturesque little village. 
The town of Tavira had held its annual celebration of Festa Da Cidade, the week before we arrived but luckily the decorations remained. Hand crafted paper flowers and myrtle lined the streets to create beautiful decorations and overhead displays. This was seriously so pretty, it looked like a scene from Tangled or something. It was sooooo incredibly beautiful. Apparently during the festival itself, held between the 23rd and 24th of June, the streets are filled with dancing, music, festivities and free sardines if your into those little stinky fish.
Two things seem to be very apparent from all of the restaurants in Tavira. The first being the fish is fresh, like really fresh, like caught daily and sold at the market to every restaurant fresh. So you can't really go wrong if your after seafood, because its taken from the sea, put on the grill and then served so bad food isn't really common. The second being no restaurant is really ever really full in Tavira. In the sense that if there isn't a table available and they can find some furniture somewhere in the back they will make you a table. Me and my Mum didn't take many photos this holiday, it was just too hot. As soon as you stepped outside make-up melted off your face and you didn't look so cute. So photography was left to photos of the town over us, but there were the occasional cute mother/daughter selfie.

At night the main square came to life with the summer arts festival taking place. The mini amphitheatre was put to use in the proper way by hosting audiences, both tourists and locals alike to watch the different performances. Most of the shows didn't require speech so audiences from all different languages could enjoy them. During our trip we saw numerous shows however my favourite was the first we saw, Barolsolo in Concert. It feature two men, some instruments, a pool of water and lots of acrobatics. These guys were so talented not only their strength but musically too. The whole thing was lots of jumping, falling, climbing, swimming etc all while playing beautiful pieces of music. It was just such an enjoyable piece of theatre, I'm glad we realised it was on, though with the crowd as big as it was it would have been hard to miss. Walking back to the hotel meant another walk under the flower arches, my favourite place in the town, even in the night it still looked so beautiful.
I completely fell in love with the town of Tavira but there's still more of this beautiful place to share with you. The rest of my trip resulted in lots of sightseeing of the town and taking in the architecture the city has to offer. As well as a trip to the beautiful Ilha de Tavira, the beach island that the town plays host to accessible via the little town ferry. Seriously how amazing is this place though, I can't sing it's praises enough. Keep an eye out for my follow up post, coming soon.

Have you been to Tavira? Would you like to visit? Where's your favourite holiday spot?
Let me know in the comments below.


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