What to do in Silves?

Silves is a historic and delightful town, which was originally the ancient capital of the Algarve. Under the Moors (9-12th century), Silves was a major defensive stronghold and important trading center with boats sailing down the Arade River and crossing to North Africa.

Today, Silves is peaceful and unhurried, but remnants of this illustrious past can be seen scattered throughout the town. This includes the imposing red brick castle, the impregnable town walls, and the Gothic cathedral, built on the site of a magnificent mosque. For visitors, Silves is a joy to explore and has a distinctly Portuguese ambiance, with open-air cafes, cobbled streets and a relaxed pace of life.

Along with its rich history and fascinating attractions, Silves has a scenic location, set along the banks of the slow-flowing Rio Arade and within the rolling hills of the Algarve countryside.
Silves is a highly recommended destination to visit during your holiday to the Algarve, and this article will provide a 1-day tour, tourist information and travel information.

Silves may only be a relatively small town, but it has a lot to entice tourists to visit, especially for a day trip. No other place in the Algarve can rival Silves' long and varied history, while the castle is a truly unique attraction of southern Portugal.

Silves is far removed from the hecticness of coastal resort towns, and is a great setting to experience typical Portuguese daily life, either in the daily market, or bustling cafes and restaurants.

Silves is one of the best destinations in the Algarve for a day trip. There are sufficient and varied sights to fill a day's sightseeing, and there is good public transport from the major tourist centres of Lagos, Portimão and Albufeira.

The historic centre of Silves is compact and can be easily explored on foot, but be warned, there are steep cobbled streets leading from the river up to the castle. Silves can be raced through in a couple of hours, but a typical day trip lasts four hours. This includes time for lunch and provides a more leisurely pace of sightseeing, essential when exploring under the intense summer sun.

If you have a rental car, the day trip could be extended by driving through the hills of Serra de Monchique and visiting the town of Monchique.