Layers of history can be seen, from Phoenician excavations through Islamic-decorated doorways to Renaissance and Baroque flourishes. However, it is the colours that hit you: blinding-white walls, brilliant azulejo tiles, fiery-red pantiles.
It extends along the river Gilão, that arrives to the sea through the entrances of the lagoons of the Natural Park of Ria Formosa.
The Island of Tavira has a long sandy beach and salinas that attract flamingos, spoonbills and other wading birds. In the centre, the medieval castle of Tavira offers views of the city. The Church of Santa Maria do Castelo houses the tombs of 7 knights killed by the Moors.