Day Trip to Portugal
Living so close to the Portuguese border we thought it would be silly not to pop ever there at some point for a little exploration and to sample some authentic Portuguese cuisine. As with most of our adventures I do some research first on Tripadvisor to determine what area to visit and most importantly where to eat. The town of Tavira sounded the most appealing destination to visit and we settled on a restaurant rated highly on Tripadvisor called “Vela 2”.
Vela 2 is situated in the small village of Santa Margarida just outside the town of Tavira. As you drive through Santa Margarida (heading towards Tavira) Vela 2 is tucked away on a street on the right hand side of the road. We missed it on our first drive through the village but when we turned around and drove back it was much more visible from the main road.
As we pulled up out the front of the restaurant we could see straight away that we’d chosen a great place to eat. The street and car park were spilling over with cars and a number of people were sitting out the front enjoying a drink. On entering Vela 2 it was even busier than we anticipated. Every table was full with Portuguese families and there was barely a space at the circular bar in the middle of the restaurant. I asked a waitress if we could have a table (in Spanish) and was easily understood. The waitress beckoned for me to follow her so I excitedly thought she was going to squeeze us in somewhere, until she presented me with a numbered ticket. After an awkward exchange of hand gestures, me speaking Spanish and her speaking Portuguese, I surmised that we were now on a waiting list for a table. No problem, we grabbed ourselves some Portuguese beers and sat at one of the outside tables.
After about 40 minutes we were ushered to our table where we ordered a litre of local wine and enjoyed a delicious meal of; salad, bread, various platters of delicious fish (the platers just keep coming until you say “no gracias”), dessert and coffee. All of this including our drinks was just 15 Euros per person! What we really loved apart from the food was eating amongst local families and getting just a little taste of the Portuguese culture. It’s definitely been one of our most memorable experiences during this six-month adventure.
After our meal we drove for a kilometre or so on to the charming town of Tavira and walked off our lunch. Some have affectionately called Tavira the “Venice of the Algarve” due to its waterways, bridges and houses which often have steps leading down to the Gilao River, just like you see in Venice.