- Not to be confused with Tobacco.
Tabaco's name is rather debatable. Some say it derives from Spanish tabaco ("tobacco"), but locals and the city government itself insist that the name came from Bikol tabak ko, referring to a bolo, a traditional knife that has been produced long before the Spaniards arrived.
Despite its city designation, Tabaco feels more like a typical provincial town, and it only gained cityhood in 2001 through a plebiscite. The downtown is typical of most Spanish-era towns, with a central Catholic parish church, plaza, and a traditional market. Life in Tabaco is quite relaxed over Legazpi to the south.
Tabaco is 487 km (303 mi) from Manila, and 27 km (17 mi) from Legazpi.
- Tabaco City Central Terminal, Tiwi-Tabaco Road. It has a quite spartan layout, with two open bus shelters, and a lot for jeepneys headed for downtown Tabaco and nearby towns.
- A. Bragais Transport. Daily trips from Cubao and Pasay using non-air-conditioned buses
- ALPS The Bus. Operates 2-2 seater air-conditioned "executive" buses from their Cubao base. Two trips depart from Cubao, with 2 return trips every 7:30AM (with stops at Calamba and Makati) and 5:45PM (with a stop at Calamba and Alabang).
- Philtranco. Three daily trips depart from Pasay.
- Amihan. Philtranco's sister bus line, with a daily trip to Tabaco from Cubao.
- Raymond Transport.
- TAWTRANSCO (Tabaco Women's Transport Service Cooperative). One daily trip departs from Starmall Alabang in Muntinlupa.
It takes about 12 hours or longer, including major stopovers, to Cubao or Pasay; from Alabang, about 11½ hours under the same conditions.
Jeepneys connect Tabaco with Legazpi, Bacacay, Tiwi, and Ligao.
Tabaco has an international seaport, which is on the waterfront east of downtown.
Ferries arrive from San Andres and Virac ports in Catanduanes. The ferry from San Andres is operated by MV Regina Calixta 2, 3, and 5, and takes 2½ hours. From Virac, it takes around 3½ hours on MV Eugenia, a regular ferry, and 1½ hour on MV Silangan, a fast ferry.
Trains no longer run up to Tabaco. The nearest train station is at Legazpi, which is served by a once-daily local train from Naga. Overnight services from Manila are suspended indefinitely since 2013.
Around the downtown, padyak (pedicabs) abound.
- Angela Manalang Gloria House, Quinale Cabasan. An old two-storey house that was once the residence of Angela Manalang Gloria, a poetess who was born in Guagua, Pampanga in 1907 and died in Tabaco in 1995.
- Tabaco Church (San Juan Bautista Parish Church, St. John the Baptist Parish Church), Ziga Avenue. Completed 1750, it is one of the two heritage churches in Albay that are designated as National Cultural Treasures.
- Watch Mount Mayon Volcano up close at Mayon Skyline located at Buang, Tabaco City.
- Cutleries are sold as souvenirs.
- Ishi Aya, Villaruel Street (Near PHLPost). 8AM-6PM. Specializes in Japanese cuisine, but they also serve Filipino, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine and fusion dishes
- MEACO Royal Hotel Tabaco, Ziga Avenue (Near Novo and LCC Market Plus). From ₱1000.
- Hotel Fina, A.A. Berces Street (Near LCC Mall Tabaco). Has a rooftop pool and views of Mayon Volcano to the south. From ₱2480.
- Gardenia Hotel, Riosa Street (A few meters from Tabaco City Mall). The rooftop has a garden on top, and views of Mayon Volcano as well, but you need to ask permission to access it. All rooms air-conditioned. Free breakfast. From ₱1200.