Walking around Praça da República we went to the Puente Romano and we saw a white pillar painted in the colors of the city shield. It also had an inscription honoring those killed during the 1383-1385 political crisis when the defense of the bridge lead to victory in the struggle for independence from Portugal. Just across the Puente Romano you can almost smell the sea with a twist, old houses, some almost in ruins but with beautiful railings and many plants, some completely shelled by time and moisture, but some with flowers pots, umbrellas and very white paint. The back stairs overlook the special river - it is as clean and quiet as the Gilao and it was there that I gave it the name of the "Venice" of Tavira. (Data are from the Municipal House on the Plaza.)
We took the train several days and it cost 3.5 €/person/day. It has 4 stops: the 1st at the beach bars, the 2nd a little later between Albufeira and Oura, the 3rd is right on the beach of Albufeira and the 4th is at the McDonalds of Albufeira. For the price you pay it's not bad as you can use it as many times as you like per day, it's not air conditioned and is slow but it's a good choice of transport.
It was a little crazy to venture into this field at 45 degrees in the sun, but it really was worth it. Got to enjoy unique landscapes. The various stages through which water passes marshes until separate salt can be seen in this place. On the horizon you can easily see the picturesque castle of Castro Marim once a defensive bulwark of Portugal. The few plants live in these extreme conditions (halophytic plants). Taking Root to practically the edges with the Guadiana, the natural border with Spain we can see the bridge linking the two countries (Spain and Portugal).
We got here after taking a very long drive, with a great amount of kilometers of land, thorns and sand, as I told you in our adventure to get to Island Camping Tavira Park. This club which history goes back to the 1950s with the practice of sailing, it was one of several regional centers of this type until finally it was founded in 1993, with the main activity area of skills in this sport. It began to hold a wide variety of sailing competitions, currently regional, national and international, Fishing, Hunting and Fishing, swimming and canoeing. It offers a Bar, a Sailing School, Nautical Charts and tractor ramps for partners and many other amenities. From here we are going to the pier to take the ferry to Tavira.
We reached here after a lengthy drive, miles of land, thorns and sand, as I told you in our adventure to get to Park Island Camping Tavira. This club with a history dating back to the 1950s was for sailing, and it was one of several regional centers of this type until finally it was founded in 1993. They began to organize a wide range of sailing championships, currently regional, national and international fishing, hunting and swimming and canoeing. On site there is a bar, sailing school, nautical charts and partner tractor ramps and other amenities. From here we headed to the pier to take the ferry to Tavira.
As I've mentioned elsewhere, Albufeira's coast is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and popular tourist attractions of the Algarve. A town with steep, narrow streets with a busy seaport, with little remaining of the old town after the earthquake of 1755. In Roman times it was known as Baltum, and became a central area with plenty of commercial and agricultural activity. Of the major infrastructures built at the time, such as aqueducts, roads and bridges, you can still see some traces remaining. The Arabs called it Al-Buhera (Sea Castle), which is where its current name comes from. It has really beautiful views and great beaches.
Plaza de San Francisco has the best preserved remains of the main city walls of Faro. They were built in the IX century, during the Muslim occupation, and modified in the XI century with the construction of watchtowers and the Arco do Repouso, one of the entrances to the old town. The Castle was built inside the enclosure and the walls have been renovated numerous times throughout history.
The largest building in Plaza de la Cathedral is the Episcopal Seminary. Built in the eighteenth century in two phases it's attached, on the right, to the Episcopal Palace. It's a 2-storey building with a white facade. Despite being School of Fine Arts and Headquarters of the Infantry Regiment in the past (due to financial problems) today it continues to fulfill its duties regarding formation of future priests.
The coastal lighthouse in Ponta da Piedade began operations on July 1, 1913 and is composed of square brick tower with masonry corners, to the sides stood the keepers' houses. Inside a metal spiral staircase accesses the flashlight. The tower is 9 meters high and luminaire was 4th order of rotation, showing groups of 5 white flashes every 10 seconds. The light source was originally an oil lamp but in May 1952 the system was changed to a powerful electric light of 15 miles, that then increased to 18 miles. Currently it works exclusively with electricity automatically, so it doesn't require a lighthouse keeper, surely when he had to leave his job he felt a great sadness, it must be wonderful to live in a lighthouse and enjoy the sunrises and sunsets.
Revellín Hill is right in front of the castle's hill. Named because here was based a small fortification (revellín), commanded by Joao IV erect. This space was fully recovered in the year 2009 as a green area, where they built a park, an outdoor amphitheater and a building that houses a coffee bar and Territory Interpretation Centre. Also on this hill are a number of buildings, such as the Fort San Sebastian, Ermita de San Antonio, and a former Windmill, which has also been refurbished. From here there are good views of the Sapal Nature Reserve.
Tavira straddles the River Gilao and on the shore, in Rua José Pires Padinha, there are boat excursions and boats and vessels of all kinds. From here you can also tour the famous Ria Formosa, enjoy beautiful views, see the ancient Roman bridge of seven eyes near Marché da Ribeira (Ribeira Market) and walk over the pedestrian bridge linking the two sides. It's the phone company that is dedicated to this work, the website is the Posto de Turismo.
This tower was an old water tank of Alto de Santa María, built in June 1931, and which had been abandoned. It was adapted and turned into a tourist spot upon the installation of a camera obscura in 2004. This camera has a very simple principle, consisting of an optical mirror and two fixed magnification lenses, placed at the end of a tube located in a cavity at the top and outside of the tank, just like a periscope. This set-up captures vivid images and sends them into the Tower. It's a journey done in total darkness on a parabolic plane two meters in diameter and reflects, in real-time, everything that happens outside the old water tank. They say that it is the optical Photo principle that was used by Leonardo Da Vinci. The visit to this unique tourist spot lasts half an hour, costs three euros, and includes a history lesson available to be listened to in multiple languages.
The kiosk was built in 1889 by a foundry in Porto. The central plant is octagonal with flexible lines, it's in the heart of the garden and is the clearest example of architecture in nineteenth century iron. It was quite difficult to take pictures because it's used as a store of goods in the basement and gardening implements.
Another of our discoveries, map in hand, pounding the streets, was this clock tower, located on the Bernardino de Sousa street. The tower was built with an artistic crown in the nineteenth century, and has a beautiful bell that lights up at Christmas time.
This windmill is in the Revellín Hill and has been recently recovered to be considered a unique building of heritage value. It is a circular building and conical roof covering a machine moved with cloth sails. It was used to grind grain into flour.
This building was a civil prison in the twentieth century and was converted into the current Municipal Library via a project by architect Carrilho da Graça. It's a pleasant place with a children's library, adult library, auditorium, newspaper/periodical room, bar and green spaces that aim to ensure the quality of community life in cultural, educational and scientific terms. The creation of this library was due to a monetary legacy by José Joaquim Jara in order to build a school and buy furniture. He also donated all the books he had at home at the time of his death, thee was more than enough money to increase the amount of text and create a library for use by the schools and the general public. This library is currently a member of the National Public Reading. The hours of operation are Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 to 19.00, Monday and Saturday from 14.00 to 19.30.
After leaving the car we passed through the Yacht Club and walked a good amount of blocks to the place where they sell the tickets to take the Ferry. The pier, which is unfortunately covered, was where we we went in the midst of a human tide of people, both children and young adults, as well as provisions for the supermarket they have in the Camping Park Tavira Island, which has bars, pizzerias and restaurants that cater to a huge number of people and. The ride is short, and it was hot day and the water was calm. We could take a deep breath and wait to arrive at the other side.
The Albufeira Municipal Archives works closely with the Municipal Library, collecting images and files to record local items of historical and artistic interest. Here, you can find some very interesting old documents and pictures. It's open Monday to Saturday from 9 to 3.