Portugal: Tavira

The whitewashed town of Tavira east of Faro is one of the most beautiful little towns on the Algarve Coast. The town is probably over 3,000 years old, dating back to 1000 BC, as one of the first Phonetician settlements on the European continent, known as Balsa then. During the Roman times, it was a large port and city. In the 8th century, the Moors conquered and further developed it for the next five centuries, before the Reconquista brought the Christian rule. A lot of history can easily be found in the center of Tavira – the Castello above the town, multiple medieval 12-15th century churches, several 16-18th century palaces, and a famous bridge over the river Gilao dating back all the way to Roman times. Plus all the cobblestone streets and plazas all lined up with snow-white buildings.