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Your Gateway to Portugal & Algarve


Many Back street


Silves in central Algarve is a city steeped in history and would suit all tastes. The first thing you notice on the approach is the magnificent castle standing with its unique red rock known to the district. Along with the main church sitting at the top, and the large city hall building. History takes Silves back to many ages yet little is known before the Arab occupation, Silves has a population of around 11,000.

It beggars belief what the city must have been like in its heyday, when Silves was the capital back in the 15th Century. The build-up of silt to the main river halted trade bringing it to a standstill. The river stayed that way until 2009 when work began to restore the river back to a working waterway, and now river trips are again possible. In summer month, well worth taking one of these trips up river towards Portimao.

 Silves is easily a full day trip with so much to offer on entering the city.  With views of the old bridge spanning across the river with parkways further along towards Monchique. The large indoor daily market found along the front, sells fresh fish to cheeses and cured meats etc.

Whilst you can stroll thought the many narrow street with the bars and restaurants along with the many shops mingled among them. The city has its resident storks that can be found nesting above your head in the many tall chimneys.

Further along are water features with marble statues depicting its history here is where the medieval fair is held every year.  You can partake and dress in 15th Century style costumes to get a feel how it must have been. Offering jousting on horseback in an old style fort arena built each year for the occasion well worth watching. The city has many stalls selling mostly Moroccan gifts giving the spirit of the evening. It is one time a year when it brings Silves alive, held over a 10 day period in August.

Whilst slowly making your way to the top, towards the castle. Look out for the beautiful hand painted tiles by local artist Kate Swift from the Swift family part of the Porches' Pottery. You will find museums in the backstreets including a Moroccan culture museum. Local craft shops dotted along the cobble streets, which look all that you would expect from a medieval city. But most that you see will be from post 1755 as the big earthquake that hit the whole of Portugal destroyed much of Silves.

Tothe extent that it was abandoned for many years. Only for the few with no option to stay, rebuilding the city what you see today.  If visiting the castle on a Sunday you will hear the local bistro with its live music throughout the year at Café Ingles. The castle now restored after much excavation work offers a good insight into the once history of Silves.  Views across the city from the castle walls will make you realize what a beautiful place Silves really is. The large impressive building at the top is the council /planning offices.

Come mid-day is the time to relax at many of the traditional restaurants serving fresh fish always on the menus. With the unmistakable smell of grilled fish, chicken filling the air with its aroma. This is when the city starts to buzz as the office workers come to enjoy a relaxing 2 hour lunch break. Not to missed is the flea market held near the waterfront every 3rd Saturday of the month from furniture to small trinkets to take back home.

Silves many storks Many restaurants

Silves set in a basin

Cities main church at the top

Central Algarve’s best castle

Moors style  marble statues

Early carved stone cross