The ancient town of Silves is built on the banks of the River Arade and filled with Moorish architecture. Towering red sandstone walls surround the city and give it a storybook feel. Walk around the cobbled streets of the historic centre, explore a centuries-old castle and visit one of the best archaeological museums in the Algarve.
Things to do in Silves
In the town centre, you’ll find a lively city brimming with Portuguese charm. Stroll along cobbled streets, dine at open-air cafes and admire the beautiful Gothic cathedral. To enter the historic centre, you’ll pass through an impressive, fortified gateway. It overlooks a plaza shaded with palm, almond and carob trees.
Castelo de Silves soars over the town and recalls the city’s ancient past. Built from red sandstone and topped with sawtooth battlements, the castle was once a Moorish stronghold. Follow the steep stone staircases from the town centre up to the castle. As you enter through the main gate, you’ll pass by a larger-than-life statue of King Sancho I, who captured the castle with his troops in the 1100s. From the battlements, you can enjoy sweeping views over the River Arade and the surrounding countryside.
Learn about the town’s rich history at Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves. The museum occupies a light-filled contemporary building and features exhibits on the town’s Moorish past. Other exhibits spotlight the town’s role as an important trading route for ships sailing down the River Arade to North Africa.
Getting around Silves
Silves is compact and easy to get around on foot, especially in the pedestrianised historic centre. Silves Train Station is 1.5 kilometres outside the town centre. Taxis are a fast and affordable way to travel between the two. The town is a 30-minute drive from Lagos and 45 minutes from Faro.