Holidays in the Algarve as also synonymous with heritage and culture. Revisit the rich history of the region, exploring the towns of Faro and Tavira.
Faro dates back to the fourth century BC, and the Phoenician conquests. It was then known as Ossónoba and was one of the most important urban centres of southern Portugal. Under Roman and Visigoth dominion, it was conquered by the Moors in 713 and reconquered in 1249 by the Portuguese King Afonso III. It has been the capital of the Algarve since the nineteenth century. Set aside a day of your holidays to get to know Faro, visiting the historic centre where the must-see sights are the Sé church, the Municipal Museum, based in a former convent, and the Arco da Vila, the main entrance of the walled part of the church, which has an educational centre. In addition to Vila-Adentro, other interesting attractions await you: Carmo Church, with its gilded carved altarpieces and curious bone chapel; the Regional Museum of the Algarve that will introduce you to local traditions, and the shopping area of Rua de Santo António with its beautiful Portuguese pavement.
For a second day of immersion into history and cultural heritage, choose Tavira, the city of churches and famous old rooftops. Located on the banks of the river Gilão, in the eastern Algarve, there is evidence of settlement since the days of the Phoenician and Roman occupation. The city was also heavily developed under Muslim rule. The famous Vase of Tavira, an Islamic ceramic artefact decorated with human figures and animals, is one of the highlights of the Municipal Museum, which is divided into several sections. Conquered by the Order of Santiago in 1242, the expansion of the city was often accompanied by the construction of religious buildings, especially in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at the time of the Portuguese discoveries and expansion. This is why there are 21 churches to visit in Tavira. The civic architecture is also worth some attention, including its four-sided roofs or the Roman bridge over the river.