This is the English version of my blog GDAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2010). I'm still working on it. English is not my native language.
I love to feature Silves on this blog and on my social networks. It is one of the main cities in the Algarve. Filled with History in every square inch, it delights tourists of all ages. I go there often, because the Algarve is my home.
Interesting, Damas. I’m going to the Algarve and want to visit Silves. What’s your suggestion for a day trip?
First, I must thank you for choosing the south of Portugal.
See a suggestion below. It is enough to visit what matters most in Silves — and then you can dedicate more of your time to other parts of the amazing Algarve.
Planning a day trip to Silves
Your focus will be the Historic Center, to be explored on foot. The essential points are concentrated in the area, close to each other. Therefore, it is easy to schedule a visit to occupy a morning and an afternoon, or even a little less.
I stop on the N124 road, which crosses the city, and start following up from Coronel Figueiredo Street. The streets are narrow and steep, covered with stones. Quite often, slippery stones. (Unfortunately, the visit is not proper for disabled people.)
To understand the area, see the following picture from Google Maps. The orange line I drew on it is the most common path tourists follow.
Castle, Cathedral… and storks
Still on N124, the time travel atmosphere starts when we see old buildings amid homes and businesses. In the distance, we discover the famous Castle and the Cathedral.
In warm days, you may see storks flying around. They are a spectacle on their own. For many tourists, it is the first time in their lives they see a stork in person (what about you?). The birds build large nests seen everywhere.
Then, turn back and see a well preserved, historic building: The Turret of the City Gate. They were connected to walls that protected the town. We can cross it to continue our path of historical emotions.
Right after crossing it, we see an interesting gift shop: Ana & Joana.
Some steps above, the Silves Cathedral appears. Although in poor condition, it still worth a visit.
In this area, find Al-Tannur, a shop dedicated to ceramics. The place breathes Art and History. The owners Teresa and Luís are kind, wonderful artists who create beautiful pieces right there. Have the privilege to talk to them and buy something.
Following the itinerary in Silves, always up in the Historic Center, we soon find Restaurant Café Inglês. Here is an opportunity to eat and drink… and rest.
Greatest stars of Silves: Castle and Medieval Fair
Finally, we arrive at Silves Castle, the greatest star of a day trip to Silves. The entrance is a few meters from the restaurant mentioned above.
Now, an extra touch. Your day trip to Silves might be even more interesting.
In August, on days to be decided each year, the town promotes the traditional Silves Medieval Fair. The Historic Center changes decorations to assume a medieval atmosphere. Tourists feel like being part of a medieval film.
Wonderful, Glauco! Now I may organize this part of my trip to the Algarve.
Great. I love your excitement. But now I have some…
Special advices for a day trip to Silves
Summer is intense in the Algarve. Thermometers easily reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The problem is that Silves is hotter than the region’s average. Expect extra four or five degrees Celsius (39-41 degrees Fahrenheit).
Therefore, for a tour in Silves at this time, I recommend sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat or cap. Also beware of dehydration.
On rainy days, multiply your care on the streets. Some parts are very slippery. And take a lot of care if you climb the castle walls. It is easy to fall from there (accidents like this are common in Portugal; usually, selfies are to blame).
A visit in Winter is not recommended. The Algarve practically dies at this time. Tourists are scarce and most places close. To be honest, it is depressing.
Good luck on your trip to Portugal. In Silves, in case you see a stork, say hello for me.