Do like the Phoenicians, Romans, Moors and several Portuguese over the centuries and choose the peaceful and beautiful town of Tavira, with its low and white houses, its characteristic river and its narrow and busy streets to spend a few unforgettable days. Make the Convent of Nossa Senhora de Graça, the current Inn of Tavira, your starting point for architectural, cultural and leisure discovery of the city.
To get to the Tavira Inn, you'll have a first encounter with the narrow streets which are appealing for long walks, and the centrality of the space will allow you to make the most of the historic town center. You can't have as reference the Church of Santa Maria, as Tavira is known as the city of 37 churches: it's not guaranteed that you can identify them all. But the bright yellow building of the convent, in contrast to the almost permanent blue sky, is unmistakable. This is where you will spend a few days to rest.Come through the ancient entrance, where the porch with weapons of Augustinians sculpted in relief give you a warm welcome.
As in the sixteenth century, when there was always a porter friar with the mission to receive all visitors and offer them alms at the door - usually soup or bread; now you received by the friendly staff, which have the mission to make your stay as pleasant as possible.Be sure to ask about the history of the Augustinian coat, a painting that is in the center of the dome. You'll get to know better about the Saint Augustine Order and about the initial purpose of this unique place. Then let yourself be carried away by the slabs of stone and low frames and masonry and reach the cloister, a space stripped and quiet with most of the recovered sixteenth century columns, where a lone cypress tries to shade the beautiful mermaid which an enamored cod fisherman brought to Tavira.
This hotel in Tavira is the scene of many legends and curious facts, since it is the space where diverse populations of different cultures made their home.By the way, don't miss the opportunity to peek at the archaeological core near the bar, with its perfectly preserved remains of a Muslim neighborhood of 13 houses, known as "Bairro Almóada".
You can visit and get to know more about the lives of Muslims, at a time when trade and the movement of the river dictated the importance and richness of Tavira. Be sure to enjoy the beautiful tapestries from Castelo Branco, with their pastel colors and valuable embroidery work, decorating the hallways and corners of the convent, also punctuated by portuguese chests and recovered stonework.
Feel the might of time in the worn out slabs and in the imposing staircase leading to the bedrooms and living areas. The Arabic decorative details are a constant reminder of the importance and preponderance this people had in this area of the country.Incidentally, Algarve, "al garb" in Arabic, means the west, the occident - for being located west in relation to the very important Andaluzia in that the time. Relax in the spacious and inviting sofas; find out which is the best chair in the cloister to give shade to your readings; stroll through the gardens and do not miss the lovely corner of the pool, located in the old city gateway, with the presence of the wall remembering the times in which tuna, oranges and spices were traded across the river.
Today, with a cozy lawn, the shade of ancient olive trees and plenty of sunbeds to choose from, this is where Tavira showcases its best, in permanent contrast between the blue water and the blue sky, with a light that can only be considered beautiful and full for grace.
Pestana Tip: The Tavira Inn has private parking space, since the parking space in front of the hostel is reserved for residents. If in doubt, ask for help at the front desk; they will be happy to help and park your car.