Silves guide

Silves Portugal - Silves guide

Silves, Portugal sits on the banks of the Arade River, a town littered with lemon and orange trees, Silves is a place full of history and wherever you’ll look, you’ll find some small or large thing that adds to this place’s enchanting atmosphere.

The settlement that is today known as Silves, has always been an important one in the region because thanks to its positioning, it lay at the entrance to the inland areas of the Algarve. Going there now, you can’t really see it, because the river is now too silted up to allow large vessels to travel it, but in centuries past, that was not an issue.

Any Silves guide is pretty much obliged to mention the most prominent monument in the city, namely the Castelo de Silves. This is now the best preserved castle in the region and it towers above the town alongside the nearby Cathedral. Being a fortress it was built on an overlooking hill, obviously so the views from the battlements are quite spectacular. The castle features eleven towers, two of them being barbicans, and its thick walls still enclose an area of about twelve hundred thousand square meters. Four of the towers were rebuilt during the 14th and 15 centuries and as such feature Gothic doorways.

The defensive walls and towers which protected Silves have disappeared long ago, however one of the four gates still remains up, the Torreao da Porta da Cidade – the interior of the tower features two rooms and annexes in which you can now find the Municipal Library.

silves-castle-rampartsThe earlier mentioned Cathedral is the Se de Silves one of the few remaining Gothic monument in the Algarve; it features ancient tombs and a network of old and narrow, cobbled streets will take you down into town from here.

One other both important and interesting monument that you must visit while here is the Cross of Portugal. This is a three meter tall limestone cross which dates back to sometime during the 15th or 16th century, you can find it to the right of the roundabout that takes you to the castle at the eastern end of the river front. This brings into discussion the method of transportation that you will be using while in Silves, and while you can reach Silves by using some Silves transfer from Faro Airport, you can also enjoy more of it and its surroundings with the help of Silves car hire services, but it all depends on what it is that you need from your transportation during your stay. For those who will have a car at their disposal during their trip, they should know that Silves has made some serious improvements to its road layout, so that the city maintains its picturesque quality while also allowing people to move around it at a decent clip.

The local town square, the Praca do Municipio features a lot of greenery, an unexpected amount for a town center actually. There are gardens, flowers and palms as well as a paved river front. The nearby swimming pool has a fitness area and an outdoor ‘play area’ for adults. The weather is definitely nice enough to encourage activities in the sun light.

Silves is a very relaxed city indeed, a great place to visit and enjoy the weather and local culture, especially when considering the large number of cafes and restaurants which offer outside seating. Simply walking around town will offer you a great experience since many old buildings have survived, these were built by rich merchants and are still in use, even if under different management.

The local gastronomy is definitely a major part of any trip to the Algarve, and visiting in Silves is no different. The city offers a good selection of places to enjoy some very tasty local dishes as well as wines.

The surroundings are just as interesting and in case you tire a bit from exploring the city, you can look into the option of boat trips to and from Portimao.

There are obviously many things to see and do while in Silves, much more than we can talk about in this article, rest assured that you will surely have a booked schedule once you’re there.