There is a lot to do in the town of Silves, which is just a 20 minute drive away from Carvoeiro. The ancient Moorish capital of the Algarve, Silves is a charismatic town steeped in history. A great place to visit at any time of the year, there are plenty of things to do and see here.
Surrounded by orange and lemon groves, and backed by its emblematic castle, photo ops abound among the winding, cobbled alleys. Silves is one of those rare towns where history and modern life seem to get along just fine.
For those interested in history and the arts Silves castle dominates the city and makes for a great tourist attraction with a colourful history, battlements to explore and wonderful views over the town. The imposing red sandstone walls rise up above the town, a sight to behold as you approach Silves, particularly at sunset, as the castle glows in the soft light. The castle is a must visit for people interested in the history of Silves and appreciate breath-taking views.
Silves Cathedral stands adjacent to the castle. Built in the 13th Century it’s listed on the National Register of Monuments in Portugal and is considered one of the main Gothic monuments in the region. Close to the town hall is the Silves museum which houses a wide range of artefacts discovered locally, some of which date back to the Stone Age period. The museum is built around an old Moorish well which is now a National Monument and the centrepiece of this interesting archaeological collection.
Silves also has its own very special theatre ‘Teatro Mascarenhas Gregório’. After being left derelict for many years it was lovingly restored and brought back to life by Silves Council. The building is reminiscent of a grand London West End theatre, only in miniature. A variety of musical and theatrical performances are staged here, many in English.
Whether you’re a culture vulture or not Silves is a great place to simply to relax. There are many good restaurants and pavement bars, often clustered in the town centre, where you can watch the world go by while you enjoy a cake and a coffee, a cold beer or a freshly cooked food. Meals are slightly cheaper than in the resort towns and tend to be more traditionally Portuguese.
After a spot to eat stroll around the town’s narrow streets and you’ll come across many quaint local stores, gift shops and artist’s studios. There’s a daily market too, which spills out onto the streets on a Saturday morning. It’s a hive of colourful activity, with local farmers selling their produce.
With so much to see its fortunate Silves is a relatively small and compact city, which is very easy to explore on foot. The majority of Silves can be visited in a 4-5hour visit or a one day excursion either with a tour guide or on your own.
From music festivals to traditional street fairs there’s always something going on in Silves. The biggest fair of all is the annual Medieval Fair, which takes over the town and runs for 10 days during August it’s worth planning your visit to make sure you catch it.