10 Things to see & do in Silves, Algarve

Regardless of whether you’re staying at one of the many guesthouses in Silves or just visiting on a day trip, there’s plenty to see and do in this picturesque Algarve town.

Visit Silves Castle

Once upon a time, when the Algarve was under Moorish rule, Silves was the capital of the Algarve. Today, Silves Castle still stands proudly overlooking the town of Silves and the surrounding countryside. Silves Castle is one of the best surviving castles in the Algarve, and it should sit on top of your list of things to do in Silves.

Read more, including details about visiting, in our guide to visiting Silves Castle.

Explore Silves Town Centre

The centre of Silves contains several narrow streets which run up the hill towards Silves Castle. You’ll find many restaurants and cafés, as well as local specialist shops selling everything from clothing to DIY products and everything in between. While there are a few shops that sell Portuguese speciality projects, the majority caters to locals rather than tourists.

At the river you’ll find the Old Roman Bridge, yet another remnant of Silves’ varied historical past.

Research Silves’ history at Silves Archaeological Museum

Established in 1990, this museum houses archaeological finds from four periods of history: the pre-history period, the Roman period, the Moorish period, and what’s classified as the Portuguese period (from the Moorish period until the 17th Century).

  • Open: Daily from 10:00 – 18:00
  • Address: R. da Porta de Loulé 14, 8300 Silves, Portugal

Visit Silves Cathedral

Originally build as a Mosque during the Moorish rule of Iberia, this building was later converted into a cathedral following the Reconquista. Its origins make it a very unique building, and visiting it is highly recommended.

Shop at Silves Market

Silves hosts its weekly market every Saturday morning at the Mercado Municipal de Silves in the town centre. Here, you’ll find an excellent selection of fruit and vegetables, meat, seafood, bread and local delicacies. Silves Market is smaller than some of the other markets on the Algarve – Loulé market for example – but if you’ve ever been to the more popular markets during the height of tourist season, you’ll see this as a bonus.

Silves weekly market

Dine out at Silves’ many great restaurants

There are several great restaurants in and around Silves Town Centre. For fish and seafood, there’s Restaurante Marisqueira Rui. This unassuming restaurant is well-known amongst Algarve food lovers, offering great quality seafood at a much lower price than it’s coastal equivalents. Churrasqueira Valdemar is almost as well-known. This even less assuming restaurant attracts clientele from all over, many of whom are convinced that this is the best piri-piri on the Algarve.

Read more about Silves’ best restaurants.

Sample the local wines on a Vineyard tour

There are several vineyards near Silves, including Quinta do Frances (12 km) and Quinta dos Vales (9 km). Both offer vineyard tours and tastings, and are well worth a visit.

Walk in the surrounding Algarve countryside

There are several great walks in and around Silves. Monchique, the Algarve’s mountainous region and a popular walking spot, is just 35 minutes’ drive away. The Barragem do Arade, which has several walks around it, is just a 15-minute drive from Silves Town Centre.

Barragem do Arade

Play a round of golf at Silves Golf Course

The nearest golf course is Silves Golf Course, which is situated around 10 km from Silves town centre. This 18-hole golf course isn’t as well-known as some of the other golf courses on the Algarve, and is ideal if you’re looking for somewhere quieter to play a round on. Alternatively, golf courses like Amendoeira Golf Resort and Pestana Golfe Course are less than 20 minutes’ drive away.

The golf reception at Silves Golf Course is open daily from 7:00 to 18:00 during the winter, and until 21:00 during the summer.

Visit Silves’ least-documented attraction: Cruz de Portugal

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 it from the town centre or drive (there’s plenty of free parking nearby).

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James has spent time living in Lisbon, the Algarve, and in the north of Portugal. He set up Portugalist to share his knowledge about Portugal, a country that has surprisingly little written about it.

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