Silves is a city in the Algarve. It was the capital of the nominal Kingdom of the Algarve and is of great historical importance.
Silves (/ˈsilvɨʃ/, SEEL-v(ih)sh)
In 2011, about 11,000 people lived in the main town, and 37,000 in the urban area.
The title "King of the Algarve" was adopted by the Portuguese king in 1249 as a way of affirming dominion over the region that was also claimed by the King of Castile. The kingdom, however, functioned as a province of Portugal, and did not have autonomy or separate institutions. The title was used until 1822.
- 1 Posto de Turismo de Silves, Estrada Nacional 124, ☏ .
- 2 Posto de Turismo de Armação de Pêra, Avenida Beira Mar, ☏ .
- 3 Centro de Interpretação do Património Islâmico de Silves (Silves Islamic Heritage Interpretation Center), Praça do Município, ☏ . M–F 09:00–17:00.
The nearest airport to Silves is Faro (FAO). Flights to Faro are affordable and accessible from most major European cities, particularly the UK and Ireland. In a bid to boost winter tourism, the department of tourism has also worked hard to promote the Algarve as a popular winter destination and this has led to airlines such as Ryanair adding new routes during what is traditionally considered to be the low season.
Intercity bus service is provided by Eva Transportes.
- 1 Silves Railway Station. PDF timetable. The Linha do Algarve line serves Silves from most Algarve coastal cities.
The easiest way to get around Silves is by hiring a car. Public transport is an option although many of the services are not very frequent and are often seasonal. Silves does not have a train stop, however it is possible to use the mezzines stop which is only around fifteen minutes drives from Silves.
- 1 Silves Castle (Castelo de Silves), ☏ . When Silves was the Moorish capital of the Algarve, this castle served as an administrative base for the rest of the Algarve. It is of Muslim origin, being formed by rammed earth walls and thick towers. It is the best preserved of its kind in Portugal, with a cistern with a vaulted ceiling and five round arches in the centre. Adult €2.80; child, student, Youth Card holder, senior citizen €1.40; Castle and Municipal Archeology Museum ticket €3.90.
- 2 Museu Municipal de Arqueologia (Museum of Archeology), Largo do Município, ☏ . Daily 10:00-18:00. Standing next to the castle, you can see numerous pieces found in archaeological excavations throughout the city. Inside the museum you can see an old cistern, among other structures in the old Muslim city. Adult €2.10; child, student, Youth Card holder, senior citizen €1.05; Castle and Municipal Archeology Museum ticket €3.90.
- 3 Sé Catedral de Silves. It was built at the end of the Middle Ages. The church had many construction campaigns, which changed its appearance. The façade is flanked by two bell towers. The interior has three naves. The transept is covered by a warhead vault.
- 1 Fiesa (The International Festival of Sand Sculpture), Armação de Pera (3 km (1.9 mi) further on from Zoomarine on the N125). The largest festival of sand sculptures in the world, has been held regularly and annually since 2003 in Pêra. Every year, around 60 artists use 35,000 tons of sand to create various works of art in an area of 15,000 m2 (160,000 ft²). The event is open to the public in the evening, where night lights provide a completely different view of the event. That is accompanied with circus arts, dance, theatre and live music.
Fevres de porco (literally, secrets of pork) is a popular local dish.
- 1 Bistro Rainha, Estrada da Barragem, Santo Estevão, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Portuguese cooking with Belgian influence. €15-30.
Superbock - A popular Portuguese beer.
- 1 Quinta da Luz, Santo Estevão, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A country side bed and breakfast located just outside of the town of Silves. It used to be part of an orange growing farm, and careful attention has been paid to the original features during restoration.
- 2 O Refúgio de Artémis, Rua Barragem do Arade, Casa Queimada, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 16:30, check-out: 10:00. Turismo rural.