Several medium-sized churches are scattered among the Mediterranean houses. The Igreja da Misericórdia is the best example of Renaissance architecture in the Algarve and has an interesting portal. The Igreja das Ondas, with its trapezoidal structure, has a poetic name that means “Church of the Waves” and is dedicated to sailors. The Igreja do Carmo houses an exceptional 18th. century choir stall, whilst the Igreja de São José is an original octagonal building with uneven sides.
NOSSA SENHORA DA GRAÇA CONVENT
This Convent, founded by D. Sebastião in the XVIth century, is located on one of Tavira’s hills, more specifically the Castle hill. You can stop by for a drink at the terrace. Today it is a Pousada, but you are welcome to walk in and walk through the cloisters and feel the historic ambience of a magnificent place.
A wonderful street follows the course of river Gilão for a while, lined with graceful two- or three-storey houses standing close together and dominated by the market building. A Roman bridge spans the small river that flows into the Ria Formosa, a large aquatic ecosystem. If you walk towards the river mouth, you will find the salt flats, huge rectangles of salt drying in the sun.
SANTA MARIA DO CASTELO CHURCH
The somewhat bizarre façade gives this church, which stands on the site of a former mosque, a very individual character. Founded in the 13th century, it had to be rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. The Renaissance front frames a Gothic portal. Spires rise up from the sides of the church and the whitewashed walls are adorned with cut stone masonry. The church contains tombs and chapels and there are also some remarkable sculptures.