Silves is a medium-sized town situated in the Central Algarve. The town is famous for its incredibly well-preserved Moorish Castle (Castelo de Silves), cathedral (Catedral de Silves), and its annual Medieval Festival.
By any traveller’s standards Silves is incredibly picturesque, and one of the Algarve’s most beautiful towns. As well as the town’s beautiful cobbled streets, old Roman bridge, and colourful buildings, the nearby countryside is made up of hundreds of orange and lemon growing farms.
Drive along any of the roads that lead into Silves and you’re bound to come across one or two farmers sitting on the side of the road, selling their freshly-picked oranges. Head to the weekly market, and you’ll find no shortage of oranges as well as other locally-grown fruits and specialities including pomegranates, dióspiro (a type of Sharon Fruit), and almonds.
Unlike many of the other towns in the Algarve which tend to be built almost entirely around the tourist season, Silves is a ‘lived-in town’. It does quieten down during the winter, but never becomes a ghost-town like many other Algarve towns as most of the people who live and work in Silves work in sectors other than tourism.
Another reason for its year-round existence is probably due to the small, but well-established expat community that live here. Having this community here means that many local businesses, including many of the local restaurants and cafes in Silves, stay open for most of the year.
- Distance from (Faro) Airport: 61 km (~ 42 mins)
- Nearest beach: Praia da Marinha (14km) & Praia de Benagil (17km)
- Estimated population: 11,000
Where to Stay
- Hotel Colina dos Mouros – Situated on the outskirts of Silves, this hotel offers basic accommodation with air-conditioning and private bathrooms.
- Duas Quintas – A family-run B&B with a swimming pool that’s renowned for its breakfasts. Duas Quintas has been featured in numerous publications including the Lonely Planet.
Other Accommodation Options
- Horta Grande – A hostel situated on the banks of the river Arade in Silves town centre.
- Villa Quina – A 4-bedroom rural villa situated roughly 10km outside of Silves.
Things to Do
- When you think of the Algarve, medieval castles isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But the Algarve does have several castles, one of which is located in Silves. Believed to have been built during the Roman or Visigoth period, it wasn’t until the Moorish occupation of the Algarve that Silves Castle really developed into the impressive stronghold that you see today. Read more...
- Small but functional, the Mercado Municipal de Silves is nowhere near as large or impressive as the markets in Olhão or Portimão but it’s perfectly practical. With stalls offering meat, fish, bread, and fruit and veg, as well as handicrafts and artisan food products, Silves Market has everything you need for your weekly shop – whether you’re living in the Read more...
- This Silves attraction doesn’t get as much attention as Silves Castle or Silves Cathedral, and little is known about its origins. It’s believed to be from the 15th Century, and might have been a gift from Manuel I of Portugal who visited the town in 1499. The cross is situated on the outskirts of the town. You can walk to Read more...
Thinking about living in Silves? This article covers additional information specific to living here.