What it’s Like to Live in Silves… Should You Move Here?

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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.

Incredibly picturesque, Silves is 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.

And, those beaches aren’t too far away either. Praia da Marinha, one of the most beautiful beaches on the Algarve, is just 14 km away while Praia de Benagil is a little further at 17km.

If you’re willing to trade walking distance to the beach for historical charm and a less touristic town, Silves is definitely somewhere that you should consider living.

Photos of Silves

Pros & cons of living here

Everywhere has its pros and cons and Silves is no different


  • While it does attract some tourists and is becoming increasingly popular with expats, it still has more of an authentic feel than many towns on the coast
  • Good location within the Central Algarve and close proximity to the beginning of the Western Algarve
  • More attractions (especially Silves Castle) than many other Algarve towns


  • You will need a car if you want to visit any of the beaches, all of which are at least 20 minutes’ drive away


Silves has schools to suit every level: a creches, a primary school, and a secondary school (Escola Secundária de Silves). It’s also within easy driving distance of the Nobel International School in Lagoa (11 km) and DSA – Deutsche Schule Algarve (10 km).

Public Transport

Silves has average public transport options. It has both train and bus connections, but, like many towns on the Algarve, the train station is located slightly outside of the town centre (around 2 km). While you could live without a car if you live in the town centre, you’ll almost definitely need one if you live outside.

Written by James Cave, author of the book Moving to Portugal Made Simple and creator of Portugalist.com.

Originally published: September 2020 & Last Updated: May 13, 2022.


  1. I like the Algarve weatherwise but a lot of it looks soulless in winter and very concrete surely there must be places that are greener more authentic that have less cafe/ restaurants. I mean if you live somewhere you cook yourself don't you?. In fact I would rather be in the countryside but with warmth!


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