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Silves

Silves is a picturesque town on the Arade River in the interior of the Algarve. It is situated on a fertile valley with many orange and lemon groves, between fragrant mountain meadows and cork and almond trees. That Silves was the capital of the Algarve during Moorish rule can be seen in the imposing Moorish castle, one of the main attractions of the city. It towers high above the city in a valley full of orange groves.

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Touristic information Silves


Highlights

The picturesque Silves with its Moorish castleA vacation in Silves offers you a nice collection of cultural and historical attractions. The castle of Silves was built on the site of 4th-century Roman fortifications. The castle walls of the once mighty Moorish castle of red sandstone still rise above the city and offer a beautiful vantage point.

The Sé, a Gothic cathedral dating from the 13th century, was once the seat of the Diocese of Algarve. There are some striking things to see here such as quirky gargoyles and some tombs of crusaders.

Silves has two very interesting museums: the archaeological museum that gives an overview of 8,000 years of human presence and the Musea da Cortiça, voted the best industrial museum in Europe. Here the techniques of manufacturing and harvesting cork are highlighted.

Activities
Through the narrow streets of historic Silves you can stroll around. In the evening the city is beautifully illuminated. The colorful tour boats from Portimão dock at the quay near the Roman bridge. If you get on for a boat trip on the Arade you can see flamingos and herons.

Near Silves there are several golf courses where you can play golf in beautiful surroundings. In the rolling hills north of Silves you can enjoy hiking and horseback riding.

Events
The main festival of Silves is the annual medieval festival in August. During this 10-day event the city bustles with activity and everyone feels as if they are a few centuries back. On all corners, streets and squares you will see daily scenes from the Middle Ages and encounter acrobats, jugglers, dancers and snake charmers. Knightly tournaments, parades and archers are also on the program. At the medieval market traders and craftsmen advertise their wares and food.

Bars and restaurants
On the waterfront of the river Arade there are some nice bars with terraces. The most famous terrace, however, is that of Cafe Inglès at the foot of the castle. Here tasty Mediterranean dishes are served. On the weekends (including Sunday afternoons) there is live music in a very relaxed atmosphere.