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The beautiful medieval town of Silves sits on the banks of the River Arade and makes the perfect day trip away from the beach. It is bursting full of history, culture and interesting things to see and do. Its characteristic narrow cobbled streets and arabesque architecture hark back to times of old when Silves was the Moorish capital of the Algarve (AlGharb). Standing sentinel at an altitude of 85 metres (280ft) overlooking the town and beyond is the mighty Castle that dates back to the eighth century. Today Silves doesn't feel anything like a capital city and has a relaxed vibe about it. During the evenings after the daytrippers have left, you will have the choice of great restaurants and streets to yourself. Silves is close to the resorts of Portimão and Armação de Pêra as well as being an easy drive to inland attractions; thus making the town a great base if you wish to explore the Algarve by car. Silves has regular train services from across the Algarve. The train station is two kilometres out of town. It's possible to walk however it's a little precarious due to a major road. A better option is to take a taxi from the station directly to the Castle in Silves: ( +351 965 400 510) or you can use Uber.


Silves is thought to have been founded by the Phoenicians who established a port and trading centre on the banks of the River Arade. Following the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 713, Silves became the capital of the Al-Gharb and was called Xelb. Christian armies led by King Sancho I finally wrestled the town from the Arabs in 1249 after a period of the town switching hands. From then until 1580 it was the see of a bishop before it was transferred to Faro.

The old town descends down from the castle. Here there remains plenty of narrow cobbled streets to explore where you'll discover several artisan and handicraft shops, artist’s studios, bars and restaurants. The small beautiful square of the Praça do Município is where you'll find the town's pillory (Pelourinho) and an old gatehouse, the Portas da Cidade de Silves. There is also a café here with seating on the square that makes an ideal spot to rest tired feet and watch the world go by.

Archeology Museum (Museu Municipal de Arqueologia)

Located near the Praça do Município is the Municipal Museum of Archeology, which has on display artefacts dating back from the Paleolithic era until the 17th century. The most prominent element of the museum is a well preserved Arabic well over 15 metres deep. Around the perimeter of the well, a spiral staircase descends to the water level. This Moorish well is now a National Monument.
Daily: 10h00 – 18h00
Adult: €2.10, Concessionary: €1.05, Castle/Museum Combined Ticket: €3.90

Largo do Município 8300-117 Silves, Portugal. | 37° 11' 20.5" N | 08° 26' 20.0" W
+351 282 440 800 | | Website

Medieval Festival (Feira Medieval de Silves)

Probably the best time to visit Silves is in August when the nine-day long Medieval Festival takes place. Important events and characters from Portugal's history are reenacted. Things get lively with plenty of dancing, banqueting, traditional cuisine, period costumes, market stalls and handicrafts - all within a 12th-century atmosphere. Dates vary from year to year. [ More About ► ]

Portas da Cidade de Silves

|  Portas da Cidade de Silves

Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves

|  Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves


Castelo de Silves

|  Castelo de Silves

The most distinctive feature of Silves and the most visited landmark is the castle which has stood on its advantage point since the eighth century. The characteristic red sandstone walls are well preserved and retain their rectangular defensive towers. Although Iron Age artefacts have been unearthed on this sight it was the Moors who built the first castle here to protect their capital. Later works were carried out following the Christian reconquest of Silves and most recently in the 20th Century when the castle enjoyed extensive restoration.

The ramparts are walkable and if you climb to the top of one of the towers you will be well rewarded by amazing vistas over the beautiful landscape beyond. In the middle of the structure are the remains of the governor's palace and the more impressive water cistern that once served the whole town. The Cisterna stands ten meters tall, is supported by six columns and is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of a Moorish maiden. A Moorish-style garden has recently been re-created and is open daily to visitors. There's a pleasant café with amenities to restore your energies after exploring the whole site.
High Season: 09h00 – 20h00, Low Season: 09h00 – 17h30
Adult: €2.10, Concessionary: €1.05, Castle/Museum Combined Ticket: €3.90

Largo do Castelo 8300-117 Silves, Portugal. | 37° 11' 27.0" | N 08° 26' 16.8" W
+351 282 440 837 | | Website


Downhill from the Castle, you can find the gothic Cathedral of Silves (Sé Velha) which dates back to the 13th Century. It was constructed over the remains of a mosque. It had to be greatly restored following the devastating earthquake of 1755. Behind the baroque facade, enough original features have survived, however, for it to be still considered the most important Gothic building in the Algarve. Inside there are tombs of local bishops and dignitaries, as well as tombs of Crusaders who helped to liberate Silves from the Moors. The apse and the transept have gothic ogival vaults and the side altars feature baroque carvings. In the centre of the main altar is the tombstone of King John II, buried here in 1495 and whose remains were later transferred to the Monastery of Batalha in 1499.
Daily: 09h00 – 17h30

Rua da Sé, 8300-140 Silves, Portugal. | 37° 11' 24.3" N | 08° 26' 19.8" W
+351 282 442 472

Sé de Silves

|  Sé de Silves


Small-Group Day Tour of Silves and Monchique with Wine Tasting

Small-Group Day Tour of Silves and Monchique with Wine Tasting

With a pickup/drop off from the Lagos area enjoy a day out visiting Silves and its famous Moorish Castle. Then explore the highest Mountain in the South of Portugal. Marvel at the 360º views for all the Algarve! This extensive tour includes visits to; Castelo de Silves, Silves Cathedral, Museu Municipal de Arqueologia, Caldas de Monchique, Monchique, Mount Foia and finally wine tasting at the Quinta Do Frances Winery. Book with confidence with a FREE CANCELLATION option.

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Carvoeiro and Silves Premium Tour

Carvoeiro and Silves Premium Tour

Discover the wonders of Barcelos on this four-hour small-group guided sightseeing tour. Meet your friendly local guide and then set off to explore Barcelos’ historic landmarks, charming neighbourhoods and beautiful vistas. Learn about the region’s history from your guide and snap photos in front of memorable backdrops. If you select the evening tour, you’ll watch the sunset from a spectacular viewpoint. This is a small-group tour limited to 15 people to ensure a personalised experience.

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Silves Castle & Old Town stop at Chapel of Bones

Silves Castle & Old Town stop at Chapel of Bones

During this tour, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the medieval castle of Silves and the statue of King D. Sancho I at the entrance. After you will visit the cathedral of Silves, then you have the opportunity to discover the old town, make the descent through the old and narrow streets, discover local shops, art galleries and cafés. On the way back to your hotel, you will make a stop at the Chapel of Bones.

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Silves Roman Bridge

|  Roman Bridge

The name of Silves' Roman Bridge is quite deceptive as it dates from around 1439. More than likely the bridge replaces a Roman original. Five equally sized arches span the river Arade river and are constructed from the distinctive red sandstone that dominates the landscape in this part of the Algarve. Today it is open for pedestrian use only, motorised traffic uses a much newer bridge further upstream. In times past it was much longer it was shortened to make space for a new road at the river's edge. The area around the bridge is where you'll find several eateries and where local buses stop.


Quinta do Francês

Quinta do Francês

Quinta do Francês is a Family Estate, with nine hectares of vines, nested in the hills of Silves, on the Odelouca River Valley, in the southeast region of Portugal, the Algarve. The Algarve, with its exceptional climate, not only attracts tourists seeking sunshine but is also a great terroir for growing grapes. The vines grow in a variety of soils including clay, limestone, sandstone and even some areas of schist and produce high-quality grapes. Quinta do Francês produces about 60, 000 litres a year. They offer a guided wine tour, where they will tell you about the process of making wine. At the end of the tour is the wine tasting, which is the most fun part. Advanced booking is required….

10h00 – 13h00/14h00 – 17h30
Síto da Dobra, Cx P H, Odelouca, 8300-037 Silves, Algarve, Portugal.
37° 13' 01.2" N | 08° 30' 31.3" W
+351 282 106 303 | |  Website

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Quinta dos Sentidos

Quinta dos Sentidos

Experience the natural beauty of Quinta dos Sentidos first-hand during a personal guided tour of their vineyards, winery and gardens. Learn more about and try our wines and other delicacies, bask in the glorious Portuguese sun and reconnect with nature. We’re looking forward to welcoming you with friends or family. Uncover the secrets of winemaking as well as olive oil and verjus production.

As a boutique family-run estate, they offer guided tours and private tastings exclusive to your party and hosted by the owners and/or the resident oenologist.

Monday – Friday: 10h00 – 12h30/14h00 -17h00, Weekends on approval
Quinta dos Sentidos, Tufos, 8300-050, Silves, Portugal.
37° 11' 12.1"N | 08° 23' 59.0" W
+ 351 282 144 668 | |  Website

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Casa Pelourinho

Casa Pelourinho (Holiday Home)

Offering free WiFi and town views, Casa Pelourinho is an accommodation situated in Silves, just 200 yards from Misericórdia Church and 350 yards from the Portas da Cidade de Silves. The property is 550 yards from Municipal Museum of Archaeology and 650 yards from Mascarenhas Gregório Theatre.

The holiday home has one bedroom, a flat-screen TV with cable channels, an equipped kitchen with a microwave, a fridge, a washing machine, and a bathroom with a bidet. Towels and bed linen are available.

2 Rua do Pelourinho, 8300-147 Silves, Portugal.
37° 11' 20.5" N | 08° 26' 26.0" W

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Casa do Jardim

Casa do Jardim (Gusethouse)

Casa do Jardim is convienently located in the historic centre of Silves. Free WiFi access is available in this holiday home. Casa do Jardim comes with a patio, a TV and a DVD player. There is a full kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave. The bathroom has a bath and a shower. There are free bicycles available for your pleasure. At Casa do Jardim you will find a terrace. An array of activities can be enjoyed on-site or in the surroundings, including cycling and hiking.

28 Largo dos Mártires da Pátria, 8300-114 Silves, Portugal.
37° 11' 21.6" N | 08° 26' 39.5" W

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Quinta da Luz (Luxury Boutique B&B)

Quinta da Luz (Luxury Boutique B&B)

Quinta da Luz, a luxury boutique B&B features accommodation with a bar, a garden and ticket service for your convenience. Complete with a patio, the units offer air conditioning and feature a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a shower and a hairdryer. The bed and breakfast offer a continental or buffet breakfast. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy table tennis on-site, or hiking in the surroundings.

Santo Estevâo c.p.607, 8300-047 Silves, Portugal.
37° 13'0 0.2" N | 08° 23' 01.1" W

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A Café Inglês

A Café Inglês

Being located in a prime spot close to the entrance to the castle, you could be forgiven in assuming A Café Inglês will be an over-priced tourist trap, however, both quality and prices here remain constantly very reasonable. The decor doesn't disappoint either, the restaurant is situated within a restored townhouse with a roof terrace and plenty of outdoor seating. A varied selection on the menu, including a good selection of pizzas and platters, makes A Café Inglês a good choice to satisfy almost all sorts of demanding appetites. Look out for their interesting daily specials if stuck for inspiration. During summer the season live music is hosted evenings at weekends. One of the coolest places for miles around.

Tuesday – Sunday: 10h00 – 23h30, Monday: CLOSED | Rua do Castelo 11 8400-144, Silves 8300-144 Portugal.
37° 11' 23.5" N | 08° 26' 16.7" W
+351 282 442 585 | | Website

Segredo dos Mouros (Moorish Secret)

Segredo dos Mouros (Moorish Secret)

This little hideaway treasure trove is worth any effort to find it. Let the tiny sign on the Rua de Sé close to the cathedral guide you on your quest. Segredo dos Mouros is a fantastic Tapas and wine bar that also doubles as an art gallery. Enjoy a platter of local hams, sausage and cheese with a glass of Algarve wine. There is a terrace which affords idyllic views. The friendly staff will make sure our visit is extra special and an experience you'll never forget. Your wallet won't take a bruising either.

Daily: 11h00 – 19h00
13 Travessa da Cato, Silves 8300-187 Portugal.
37° 11' 22.7" N | 08° 26' 23.3" W
+351 968 092 942 |

Restaurante - Bistro Rainha

Restaurante - Bistro Rainha

A very homely atmosphere is awaiting your arrival at the Rainha. Local ingredients are given a Belgian twist with amazing results. High quality cuisine with matching prices. A broad selection of delights on the menu will guarantee you an excellent experience.

Sunday: 12h00 – 15h00, Friday – Saturday: 18h00 – 22h00, Monday – Thursday: CLOSED
13 Travessa da Cato, Silves 8300-187 Portugal.
37° 14' 00.1" N | 08° 22' 47.3" W
+351 282 330 102 |

Only 65km (40 miles) west of Faro Airport Website


Silves is a 50 minute drive west from Faro on the A22 and only 23 minutes north from Portimão via the N124-1.
Latitude - 37° 11' 22.7" | Longitude - 08° 26' 23.3" W


Cheap Car Hire in Portugal

Silves has regular train services from across the Algave. The train station is two kilometres out of town. It's possible to walk however its a little precarious due to a major road. A better option is to take a taxi that will take you directly to the Castle in Silves: ( +351 965 400 510) or you can use Uber.
• Lagos - Vila Real de Santo António line: Timetable | Website

• Eva Transportes run services across the Algarve linking the main resorts and towns, as well as a hostess service to Lisbon. Also worth considering are their tourist passes if you're planing to visit different places:
17 Albufeira - Silves
31 Armação de Pêra - Silves
• Rede Expressos operates countrywide services: Website