ROBIN McKelvie spends a weekend in Tavira, Portugal
Check into Villa Gomes (week from £495, www.vintagetravel.co.uk), just a 20 minute drive from Faro airport. Take a dip in the large pool before setting out to explore.
Peri peri chicken deliciously grilled is an Algarvian speciality. Either dine in or enjoy a takeaway from Tavira’s Churrasqueira O Manel (tel: 281-323343).
From the ramparts of Tavira Castle, which is free to enter, peer over a charming town that out of season seems to have as many churches as residents.
Wander through the heart of sleepy Tavira. Cross the Rio Gilao on the old Roman Bridge and imagine the Roman and Moorish ships that once patrolled the local waters.
Restaurante Avenida (tel: 281-321113) is an authentic Algarvian restaurant unlike some of the eateries along the riverside. Their star dish, pork with clams, is from the Alentejo though.
Time now to venture across to the Ilha de Tavira, the glorious sand bar island that is Tavira’s best beach. Catch the five minute ferry over from Quatro Aguas, a few miles south of town.
There are a gaggle of bar restaurants on the ilha itself. If you fancy more sophisticated seafood, catch the ferry back across to Quatro Aguas, where a brace of restaurants await.
Back in Tavira town it is time for ice cream. Not just any ice cream, but the delicious homemade efforts from Tavira Romana (Praca da Republica). Recline on their terrace or sit in the shade in the leafy park opposite.
If you’ve had your fill of typically generous Algarvian fish and meat dishes, opt for lighter tapas in the relaxed surrounds of Tavira Lounge
(www.taviralounge.com) by the river.
Take it easy at your villa or slip into the town centre for a relaxed Sunday morning. The shops may be closed, but church bells are chiming, families relaxing and a sprinkling of cafes tempt.
• easyJet (www.easyjet.com) fly from Edinburgh to nearby Faro with return fares from £61.98. Lonely Planet’s Portugal guide includes a section on Tavira. For tourist information, see www.visitalgarve.pt