Becoming More Local in Tavira

For those of you reading my posts under the Category ‘Buying and Renovating a Home in Tavira’ you will have learned that since March 2016 I have been spending approximately two weeks every month in Tavira.locals I have my Non Habitual Resident status now and I have a small rented apartment in the middle of town until we complete the renovation on our own property. I certainly feel at home there and have been fascinated watching the way the town changes it’s personality at different times of the year.

From February, when we first found Tavira, to May there were a number of older visitors and winter residents. It was easy to get a table at even the most popular restaurants without a reservation and conversations with locals, restaurant workers and foreigners were easily made. Tavira has a permanent population of around  26,000 which is comparable to Hertford in England; Rhyl in Wales; Lillehammer in Norway; Paris, Texas in the U.S. and Sitges near Barcelona in Spain. I’m reliably informed that like any small town there is a healthy supply of gossip between the locals and it wasn’t long before I was recognised as a non-tourist which I have to confess gives me a warm feeling.

Exploring what the town and surrounding areas has to offer is exciting and suddenly, when you are able to walk or drive to a place without thinking too consciously of how you get to your destination, it really starts to feel like home.


From June to September there is an abundance of street entertainment such as concerts, street theatre, markets, fairs and processions. Tourism is very important to Tavira and during the summer the town is full of tourists. Tavira is not the destination for young singles looking for all night drinking and clubs. In fact we saw an English hen party there one evening and thought they must have turned left instead of right when they left Faro airport! Tavira attracts mostly couples and some families.

There are many restaurants that cater for every budget. From small cosy places serving fresh Portuguese food to more sophisticated establishments serving fusion and more international cuisine. There are very few places selling English breakfasts and very few tourist shops selling cheap tack which contributes to the town retaining its traditional Portuguese atmosphere.

tavira beach 1

Personally I’m not someone who enjoys going to the beach to lie in the sun. But the clean sandy beaches are beautiful, stretching for miles on the Ria Formosa islands. You need to leave Tavira if you want instant access to the beach but a short ferry ride from the centre of town brings you to Ilha de Tavira, an island with good restaurants  and all the facilities you need to spend a day there swimming and relaxing.


Author: Denise

My name is Denise. Having spent over 30 years in an international career in Organisational & People Development I am now putting down roots in Tavira in the East Algarve, Portugal. I'm a female Brit, married to a Norwegian, and I find it hard to believe I'm in my early 60's when I don't feel it and have so many more things to do and achieve. I became an expat when I left the UK in 2001. Since then I've lived in Norway, Singapore, Malaysia and now Portugal. I love to travel, enjoy the company of good friends and cooking. But my life time passion is property. As the daughter of a builder I love imagining what any old or dated property can become and managing the transformation process. I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to do this many times and am excited to be doing it again in Tavira as well as helping others realise their own dreams.

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