Do you love old forts? Then definitely take a drive to the town of Silves, where you’ll not only find an old Moorish fortress, but also a hillside town that is full of life and great views. As you approach the town from the highway, pull over with extreme caution and take in the panoramic view of the town adorned with the old fortress.
When you arrive in Silves, go directly to the castle entrance up the hill at the top of the town. The unique red walls of the fortress have been reinforced to allow visitors to walk along the top of them and to see the beautiful countryside of rolling hills surrounding the town.
Just outside the fortress entrance, to the right, there is a staircase taking you up to a balcony where you have a great view of a multi-coloured marble plaza. The design can only truly be appreciated from above. You can also look down on the town and see the winding streets built with intricate marble cobblestone. Notice the roof tops adorned with the unique variety of Algarve chimneys.
As you walk through the maze of streets below the castle, you will pass a multitude of typical Portuguese restaurants, cafes and shops and if you’re lucky you might even smell freshly-baked Portuguese bread as you walk by a local bakery. Silves is a bustling town and a great place to enjoy a coffee or sip a fine glass of Portuguese wine as you sit in an outdoor cafe to people watch!
At the lower end of town, near the river, you should also check out the “Fabrica do Ingles”, which is an old cork factory. In 1999 this site was refurbished and it now contains restaurants and a museum focused on the cork industry in Portugal.
How to get there –
Allow about an hour from Praia da Luz.
Go onto the motorway and drive east and take Exit 6 Silves. Follow the signs north to Silves.
Silves is only 7km from Lagoa.
** It’s easiest to park on the side of a road near the bottom (outskirts) of town. If you feel lucky, drive up towards the castle in the centre of town and you might just find that somebody is pulling out of one of the few allocated parking spots. Take careful note of the parking signs widely posted, as the local authorities are not too forgiving!