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Tavira or Lagos in Algarve for four nights- someplace like Ronda (in Spain)

Tavira or Lagos in Algarve for four nights- someplace like Ronda (in Spain)

Sep 15th, 2010, 02:47 PM
  #1  
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Tavira or Lagos in Algarve for four nights- someplace like Ronda (in Spain)

Hello all:

My husband and I will be starting the first leg of our trip in the Algarve. Newark to Lisbon to Faro. I would probably only spend three nights in this area but for the fact that we will probably be jet-lagged and it would be nice to spend one day relaxing by the pool.

I initally settled on Lagos, because it seems to have good restaurants, and things to see -churches, castle and nice town to explore. We plan to rent a car and visit some small towns and maybe take a boat ride. But now I'm thinking Tavira would be a better choice since it is described as charming and is more of what the area use to be.

I'm looking for a town along the lines of Ronda (in southern Spain) with good restaurants, nice to stroll in the evening, shopping, a church or two etc. A nice place to come "home" to after a day of driving. Not interested in bars or discos or nightlife.

Tavira or Lagos?

thank you
SashieZ is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 06:23 PM
  #2  
 
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Well, I'd go to the Villa Moura...right near Tavira, but not so touristy or crowded...we stayed at an apartment complex Olympia (an entire self catering apartment) and very reasonable, a block from the beach and lots to do without the big crowds..try that.!!
clarasong is offline  
Sep 15th, 2010, 09:29 PM
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Hi, Shasiez,

I have used Tavira two or three times as a base for touring, and though I have been in Lagos, I haven't ever slept there. So I'm not in a position to rate Lagos vs. Tavira. But I will say that I like Tavira very much as a "home base." It's a small town with a historic part (castle in ruins/ pousada in an old convent) and what seemed to me to be a growing "restaurant scene." There are a few streets across the river from the castle and pousada where some young people have started restaurants. And I thought some of them were very successful. There is also a pretty well established "tourist strip" along the river on the castle/pousada side of the river and I have had some decent fish there as well.

All in all, I would say that Tavira has not had the same tourist hotel/apartment boom that most of the Algarve has had. I think it's a great base.

But Lagos has a few things going for it. It is much more touristy, but there is an historic core with the requisite streets for walking and a castle/fort. If you are into history, an important slave market was there (only a few remnants), and there are some spectacular rock formations on the water nearby.

Lagos is on the west, Tavira on the east, so geography might be important.

I have spent a week touring from Ronda, and though neither Lagos nor Tavira can match Ronda in terms of what it offers nor what it has in the surrounding area, my personal opinion is that Tavira offers more of the same ambiance amenities.
lreynold1 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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Thank you Clarasong, but I'm thinking of staying in the Pousada right in town if we decide on Tavira and I think we are heading that way.

lreynold - sounds pretty nice from your description. Is there any activity on the water? Fishing boats, tourboats, restaurants etc? Are there shops- handicraft type? One reason I would stay in Tavira is it is closer to the Faro Airport and we will be taking a taxi to the hotel.

If it is a nice town to stroll with good restaurants...not looking for 5 star dining....some shops, historic buildings, and pretty wandering streets...then Tavira is for me.
SashieZ is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 01:51 PM
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Hi SashieZ,
Faro to Tavira will be a 45 minute drive or so. In my experience, cabs tend to charge about a euro a km on these long distance trips.

I know that there are boats to take you out to the undeveloped swimming areas, but I don't know much about it. I am not a shopper so I can't tell you about stores, sorry.

I think the pousada is probably the nicest place in town, but I will tell you that I personally am not a fan of all these historic pousadas and paradores that are decorated with sleek hip minimalist furnishings. Somehow it just seems too discordant to me. But the pousada is in a great location in the older part of town. Across the "roman" bridge (pretty sure it's much later than that, but that's what it's called) there's a little warren of streets and shops, and we found two decent restaurants: one is called A Brisa do Rio and the other either AquaSur or AquaMar or something like that. Neither place had been open in 2004 when we first went, but business was booming in 2008.

In 2004 we ate in the totally untouristy Avenida Restaurant, and had a great tuna dinner as I recall.

Tavira is pretty low key, but there's enough to walk around and enjoy for a day.
lreynold1 is offline  
Sep 17th, 2010, 04:58 PM
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Where did you stay? And have you been to Evora and that area?
SashieZ is offline  
Sep 18th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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Hi, Sashiez,
I have stayed in Tavira twice, both times at the modern, large, Hotel Vila Gale, which is a few blocks sea-ward of the old town, but everything is walkable. I imagine that in the summer it is filled with package tourists, but in the off-season it was empty, and rooms with breakfast were in the 50 euro range. It isn't a charming place with character, just a big square modern hotel. Ths first time I was there, the pousada wasn't open yet. The second time, in 2008 or 9, the pousada was open and we had a drink in the bar and a meal in the restaurant, nothing outstanding but fine. I have seen a few small places to stay in the old town (either called a pensao or residencial), but for a hotel with amenities, if you want to stay in town, I think the pousada or this Vila Gale are your choices. There are many hotels with a Tavira address (including another one in the Vila Gale chain) that are in the surrounding area, mostly on the beach.

I've also been to Evora a couple of times, stayed in the pousada. I know there are many other less expensive options in Evora that people here have recommended, so you should do a search. I thought the pousada was nice, not a wow-ser pousada like the one about a half hour away in Arraiolos, though.

Laurie
lreynold1 is offline  
Sep 21st, 2010, 09:40 AM
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Regarding Pousadas, They are pretty predictable (that's good, no?) but can be boring and glitchy (bad). But we use them a great deal, as they do assume responsibility for things going right, speak English, and are clean, with a wonderful included breakfast, good parking, security, etc., and are usually withing walking distance of points of interest.

Also, they will book ahead for you so that you are never left wondering where you are going to sleep that night, they have promotions (if you get a 'passport' you get discounts, or are a senior)., and are often noted historical places, convents, castles, etc. They will help you with any issues, call a doctor if need be, and change currency without a hassle. ..also, good 'sinage' from every road to tell you how to get there. If you ever get a chance to do the one in Obidos, do it--but it is small and very popular...but is an ancient castle, redone, on the top of a hill.

Other places will, of course,meet these needs, but you can't always count on it..There is also, much difference in the ambience, depending on which Pousauda..We do like to try different places. When we travel with one friend, who is a Portugese,we feel safe letting him choose and we have stayed at some amazing places, but, of course, we have him along to translate.

Enjoy.
clarasong is offline  
Sep 21st, 2010, 10:25 AM
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I wore yesterday a pair of pearl earrings I bought in Tavira in 2008. I liked the town very much; not sure it would "captured" me for 4 full days, but it certainly was a nice stop. A bit surprised of how noticeably the restaurant prices dropped when compared with restaurants in Seville. BTW, everything you are looking for you can also find in Viana Do Castelo. It is quite northern Portugal but if ever looking for alternatives.
Viajero2 is offline  
Sep 29th, 2010, 03:11 PM
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Thanks all for your responses.

What I am looking for is a town to enjoy in the evening. We are not night club people looking to stay out until 4AM. Rather, after exploring towns in the area during the day, coming home to the hotel, relaxing and then going out for a nice dinner and maybe a stroll. I am not looking to spend a whole day exploring Tavira or lagos, just a nice base to go home to.

I picked Lagos initially because it is a larger town and I assume has more restaurants. But I would prefer small and charming (with great restaurants!)

thank you
SashieZ is offline  
Sep 30th, 2010, 01:16 PM
  #11  
 
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Silves could serve as your base to explore Monchique, Praia da Rocha, Portimao, Lagos & then Sagres.

or Faro could be the other alternative to explore Olhao, Tavira, Quinta do Lago, Loule and Estoi.

Should you be interested I've prepared an itinerary for a day visit to Portimão.
algarve_holidayer is offline  
Oct 1st, 2010, 12:18 PM
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Yes, I would be very interested in your itinerary for Portimao. That is one of the towns I want to visit.

Faro sounds like an interesting place to stay - good restaurants, historic sites and shopping. The only downside are the hotels. Nothing resort-like in town.

I never considered Silves because I read it is very small and not much to do.
SashieZ is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2010, 03:41 PM
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Small and charming and nice place to stroll in the evening...you have described Tavira. I think it is an excellent choice. We visited in June and spent three nights and loved it. The Algarve can be tacky so pick your spots carefully. We stayed in a small apartment and it was pretty sparten....I looked at the Pousada and the location is great...it looked nice and I think it is a good choice...other larger hotels just outside lacked character in my opinion. Good luck.
turaj is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2010, 11:01 AM
  #14  
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Thanks Turaj...I just booked the Pousada. Very reasonable.
SashieZ is offline  

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