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This little town will surprise you with what’s in store. Check out why living in Tavira is predominantly for expats!

Last Updated on June 3, 2024 by Maryam Siddiqui

The Algarve does not cease to surprise us. Tavira is a hidden gem along the stunning Portuguese coastline that will tick all your boxes. Travel enthusiasts talk about living in Tavira as an experience they will never forget. A perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and culture awaits you!

Straddling along the Gilão River, Tavira is a seaside town that can safely be described as a hidden gem. But what makes living here worth it? Is it the weather, quality of life, or the cost of living? 

Whether seeking an active lifestyle or peaceful serenity, this small city offers a seamless blend of both. In this article, learn what Tavira offers that attracts expats and how you can make the move! Prepare for a thorough discussion on living standards and comparisons with other cities. Happy reading!


What is living in Tavira like?

As an expat, living in Tavira is synonymous with stepping into a tranquil painting. It’s a small city in the Algarve, a region famous for its sun-kissed coastline and 300 days of sunshine a year. Whether you prefer basking on the beautiful beaches or exploring prehistoric architecture, this place is a package deal. 

You’ll also find the local markets to be a sensory wonderland with Portugal’s fresh produce. Of course, as a Portuguese gem, Tavira has a vibrant culture. Expats enjoy effortless interactions with warm locals as if childhood friends embrace each other. 

From lively festivals to peaceful evenings by the sea, Tavira offers a balance that expats love. So, if you’re seeking a life with a familiar charm and new adventures, this is the place for you.  

Who lives in Tavira?

Tavira has a diverse community, so you’ll fit in well. You’ll find artists absorbed in recreating the landscapes, retirees soaking the sun, and even digital nomads trading office walls for coastal views.

Talking about statistics, Tavira’s total population is 27,475. Of these, 7,238 are expats, which is close to 26.3% – a considerably high percentage. 58.8% are of working age, and 11.9% are young people under the age of 15 years. Lastly, older people make up nearly 29.3% of the population. 

The percentage of elderly includes expat retirees who fell in love with the Algarve region but probably didn’t wish to reside in busy areas like Faro or Lagos. 

Since nearly one-fourth of the population consists of foreigners, you’ll have a large expat community ready to greet you. This isn’t to mention the diverse and welcoming local community, which will already help you feel at home. 

Because of the fact that you’ll find many expats here, you will face considerably fewer language barriers, and it will be easier to adapt to the culture.

Why are expats moving to Tavira?

We now know that around one-fourth of the population of Tavira consists of foreigners. But, what we don’t know is why expats are moving to Tavira. 

So why do expats prefer living in Tavira? The place is not just scenery and culture but much more! Its location in the Algarve offers an ideal mild climate as a backdrop to your everyday life, and the lifestyle also fits those who are here for work. 

Let’s dive into the top three reasons one-by-one: 

Relaxed atmosphere and great weather

Tavira’s relaxed atmosphere flows through every cobbled street and sunlit square. It’s a great environment to say goodbye to your worries. As for the weather, it blesses the municipal with warmth and clear skies. 

Take a look at some average temperature readings during each season: 

Minimum Average12 °C
(53.5 °F)
20.6 °C
(69 °F)
15.9 °C
(60.6 °F)
8 °C
(46.4 °F)
Maximum Average18.2 °C
(64.8 °F)
31.8 °C
(89.3 °F)
23.4 °C
(74.1 °F)
15 °C
(59.1 °F)

Data is from Climate Data

Picture waking up to bright mornings as you know the sun won’t forget to shine on your walk to your workplace or the beach.

Another reason why expats move to Tavira is because of the relaxed atmosphere – something you won’t find in busy cities like Lisbon, Porto, or Faro. Additionally, the low population count makes it peaceful and gives you privacy. 

Tavira is situated on the Algarve coast.

The region’s location on the coast is the secret behind its ideal climate and sun-kissed landscapes. But that is not all that Tavira offers. Its history and culture add depth to the serene routine. 

People in Tavira spend the majority of their time outdoors, usually sitting at a riverside café while enjoying freshly brewed coffee. Being situated on the Algarve coast also means that the city has world-class golf courses, as well as water activities like scuba diving and snorkeling. 

Also, people love having fresh seafood by the sea and exploring ancient castles right after. Do remember to try this once you move to Portugal!

But relocating isn’t just about views, food, or serenity.

It’s important to consider job prospects, healthcare facilities, transport, etc. We’ll talk about each amenity in further detail, but you’d be happy to hear that being part of the Algarve automatically brings along excellent privileges. 


Rich Heritage

Tavira’s history dates back to the Roman era, with landmarks such as the Roman Bridge and the Igreja de Santa Maria standing as testaments to its storied past.

Exploring these historical sites offers a glimpse into the town’s rich cultural heritage, enhancing the experience of living in this charming locale.

Natural Beauty and Outdoor Activities

The natural beauty of Tavira is evident in its stunning beaches and the nearby Ria Formosa Nature Park.

The Praia de Tavira and the barrier islands provide ample opportunities for relaxation and water activities.

The Ria Formosa Natural Park, renowned for its biodiversity, is a haven for nature lovers and offers scenic trails for walking and bird-watching.

Proximity to Key Locations

Situated close to the Spanish border, Tavira allows for easy travel to other European countries, enhancing its appeal for expats who enjoy exploring the continent.

Faro Airport, located just 30 minutes away, provides convenient access for international travel, further contributing to the town’s accessibility.

Vibrant Local Culture and Community

Tavira’s cultural attractions and local markets, such as the Mercado Municipal de Tavira, are integral to its vibrant community life.

Saturday mornings at the flea market are a treat, offering a variety of local goods and an opportunity to engage with the community.

The town’s lively festivals and events add to its cultural richness, making it a lively place to live.

Living Standards and Cost of Living

Living in Tavira offers a high quality of life at reasonable prices.

The cost of living, including housing, utilities, and dining, is relatively affordable compared to other European destinations.

Renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around €757, while the cost of a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant is about €50. Public transport is reliable and reasonably priced, making commuting hassle-free.

Thriving Expat Community

The expat community in Tavira is large and diverse, comprising around one-fourth of the town’s population.

This community is welcoming and supportive, making it easier for newcomers to adapt and feel at home.

English is widely spoken, reducing language barriers and enhancing daily interactions.

Employment and Business Opportunities

Tavira’s economy benefits from its thriving tourism sector, offering various employment opportunities, especially for those in the hospitality and service industries.

Entrepreneurs can also explore the D2 Business Visa, which facilitates business ventures in the region. Digital nomads find Tavira appealing due to its serene environment and excellent internet connectivity.

You can get the D2 Business Visa or the Digital Nomad Visa

As promised, let’s discuss what we meant by job opportunities. 

Tavira has excellent news for entrepreneurs! Being a tourist destination and part of a country that welcomes millions of tourists every year, certain industries are always looking for skilled individuals. 

Through the D2 Business Visa, you can explore your entrepreneurial spirit or become part of the thriving tourism sector. To do so, you must submit a business plan and have sufficient funds to sponsor it. 

While this may not seem like the easiest option, it encourages business owners to take their business to Portugal and tap into a larger market. 

Applying for a D2 Visa is simple, and Viv Europe is here to help you. But before, ensure you have the following documents as a prerequisite: 

  • Independent Income: Proof that you have a stable source of income to support yourself while living in Tavira.
  • Business Plan: Provide a well-structured plan that outlines your goals, operations, and financial projections. This is mandatory if you wish to begin a start-up or become self-employed.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of valid health insurance for any medical expenses.
  • Accommodation: Documentation proof of your accommodation arrangements in Tavira.
  • Clean Criminal Record: Proof of clean criminal record certificate from your home country.

If that’s not your cup of tea, the Digital Nomad Visa has helped freelancers get a visa to Portugal and enjoy amenities equal to those of any European country. 

All you need to do to avail a one-year permit is to show proof of income equivalent to €3,040! 

Buying a property in Tavira

Tavira has many options if you wish to buy your new home (or office) there. The region has an encompassing real estate market, from cozy historic townhouses to modern ocean-viewed apartments.

Also, the process is quite simple, and expats are offered legal assistance throughout the buying process. Contact real estate experts from Viv Europe to get the best guidance on where to invest. 

On average, buying a property costs €2,900 per square meter. Some popular neighborhoods within Tavira include Porta Nova,  Mato Santo Espírito, São Marcos, and Capelinha.

Renting a flat in Tavira

If you’re unsure about owning a property in your newly relocated region, Tavira has many flats for rent.

Expats love the Tavira Historical Centre. This area lies at the heart of Tavira and is a historical hub with local markets. There are many renting flats available there. Also, Santa Luzia is popular among renting expats. This neighborhood is also known as the “Octopus Capital” for its location by the waterfront and authentic seafood restaurants. 

Apart from the lovely locations, the rental costs are reasonable. On average, a single-bed apartment in the city center is available for only €757. If you compare this rate to other cities, you may realize that it’s priced higher, but you also get access to a lot of facilities and live near even more expensive towns.

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Is it better to live in Tavira or Faro?

You can’t finalize living in Tavira without comparison, so which is better? Faro and Tavira have a reliable transport system, but the latter is preferred for its shorter routes and less rush. Some expats prefer residing in smaller towns like Tavira while working in Faro, just like people do with Cascais and Lisbon. Both routes are just 30 minutes away; hence commute isn’t too much of a worry. 

Also, Tavira has a thriving tourist industry and is an excellent option for freelancing and remote job opportunities. While the job market is active in Faro, its larger size also leads to more challenging competition in landing jobs.  

But renting costs are slightly higher in Tavira. For example, a single-bedroom apartment in the city center is available for €683 in Faro but €757 in Tavira. But with the right help and real estate advisor, you can get better deals and enjoy a great standard of living.

Overall, both destinations have their charm and culture to offer. The reason why someone would pick one over the other can be based on preferences like privacy, population, and access to bigger cities.

Is living in Tavira better than living in Albufeira?

For expats, Tavira can be a more economical choice compared to Albufeira. The relatively lower cost of living in Tavira can help expats save more money to spend on leisure or investments. 

On average, restaurants are 7.9% cheaper, and grocery costs are 10.7% lower in Tavira. More importantly, a single-bed apartment in the city center rents up to €1,437 in Albufeira but only for €757 in Tavira. Prices vary greatly due to demand for short-term and long-term rentals and access to more resources.

To conclude the comparison, Tavira and Albufeira are very different cities, and you will be able to judge better once you go on a scouting trip yourself.

What is the cost of living in Tavira?

Maintaining Portugal’s image, Tavira is an affordable place for expats. You’re already familiar with its rent, and buying a property is not expensive either. You’ll find properties in the city center for €4,729 per square meter and outside the city center for €3,080. 

Utilities and transportation costs aren’t expensive either. A one-way local transport ticket costs €2.60, while the essential utility bill averages €101 for an 85m2 apartment.

And we know every budget is incomplete without dining costs. How could you skip out on eating Portuguese delicacies? You simply can’t! 

Tavira has a variety of mid-range restaurants where a meal for two adds up to a reasonable €50 and a bottle of imported beer costs €1.73.

Safety living in Tavira

Tavira is a safe space for expats and locals. Portugal ranks 7th on the world safety index, so this region is, by default, secure. 

Also, the crime rate is low at 26.78, with locals famous for their welcoming and watchful nature. You will hardly ever come across an incident of mugging or something being stolen.

Regardless of what happens, the town has a reliable police force to handle unprecedented mishaps. And we recommend that you practice caution as you would anywhere else, especially in tourist hubs. 


Access to healthcare in Tavira

Tavira flaunts a reliable healthcare system with modern and well-equipped facilities. The town offers various healthcare services, from general physicians to specialized doctors, so every patient is addressed. 

Since few people live in Tavira, the waiting time tends to be shorter, leading to quick and efficient treatment. Also, the staff understands and accommodates to ensure a smoother and more comfortable experience. 

Some of the best hospitals and health centers are:

Work labor in Tavira

This little Algarve’s secret also thrives in its work opportunities. The low living cost is paired with a decent monthly average wage, securing a quality life for expats.

As mentioned earlier, digital nomads are gaining popularity in Tavira amongst expats. The town has a number of workspaces with scenery and a stable internet connection for remote workers’ productivity. 

But other labor options are also available, such as a job in the thriving tourist or services sector or entrepreneurial avenues. So regardless of your field, you’ll surely find decent employment in Tavira.     

Education in Tavira

If you’re an expat with children or are studying yourself, you’ll be interested to know that Tavira offers a range of quality educational institutions. You can explore public school options where children are closer to the local culture and language in addition to the standard curriculum. 

But if you are more comfortable following a global curriculum, there are various international schools to choose from. You’ll find schools that follow the International Baccalaureate system and British curriculum and teach in French, English, or German. 

You’ll find most of these schools with a good expat population in the neighborhood of Santa Maria. Tavira’s educational diversity adds to the charm of this little town for expats. If you don’t find options within Tavira, other cities are close enough to enroll in another school of your choice.

How can a foreigner move to Tavira?

Moving to Tavira is a simple process. First, you will decide your purpose for moving. Do you wish to start a business, enroll in school, work remotely, or retire in Tavira?

Then, you must look at the documents needed for each Visa application. You can take a look at the usual documents below:

  • Proof of Stable Income: Prove that you have a consistent passive income that can support your living expenses in Tavira.
  • Minimum Income Threshold: There is a minimum income threshold that you must meet for the D7 Visa. The exact amount varies on family size and the cost of living.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of valid health insurance covering Tavira’s medical expenses.
  • Background Check: Proof of clean criminal record certificate from your home country.
  • Accommodation: Documentation proof of your accommodation arrangements in Tavira.
  • Application Forms: Submitting the necessary completed application forms provided by the Portuguese consulate.
  • Financial Documentation: Provide bank statements, proof of investments, pension statements, and other relevant financial documentation that supports your income claims.
  • Passport and Photos: A valid Passport and passport-sized photos.

Your application form will be submitted along with the required documents and a fee of €90.

Expats are advised to take legal help and consult official websites during the moving process to avoid any legal mishaps. Another great way to have a hassle-free relocation is by taking the help of experts from Viv Europe to guide you along the way. 

Is it worth living in Tavira?

The opportunities, amenities, and community make living in Tavira truly worth it. The town is home to the right amount of job opportunities and schools, making it a convenient place for all age groups. And let’s not forget the large expat community and serenity!

To add on, visiting the historical sites and beaches creates a peaceful pastime for those in their golden years. Tavira is not just a little town but a cozy home with everything you’d need.

Do you need help moving to Tavira?

We hope this comprehensive guide helped you gain clarity about living in Tavira. It’s okay to feel confused and not make up your mind as yet. Even after reading about the amazing amenities, you may need further help to decide. 

Join our Facebook Group – All About Portugal For Expats, and ask other expats questions! Share experiences read stories, and connect with fellow expats. 

Once you’re done finalizing your dream relocation, let Viv Europe handle the rest. From Visas and rental deals to bringing your belongings and getting your legal documents in order, we’ve got experts to help. Contact us now, and let’s start working on your dream!



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