Day trip to Silves (Algarve)

I love to feature Silves on this blog and on my social networks. It is one of the main cities in the Algarve. With rich History in every square inch, it delights tourists of all ages. I go there often — especially in August — because the Algarve is my home.

Interesting, Damas. I’m going to the Algarve and want to visit Silves. How long should I stay in Silves? By the way, why do you go there especially in August?

First, I thank you for choosing the south of Portugal.

I don’t recommend you spend a night in Silves. A day trip — morning and afternoon, maybe less — should be enough to visit what matters most. So, you can dedicate more of your time to other parts of the amazing Algarve.

Come with me, bringing your passion for History. I’ll show you what to see. You’ll also get some pieces of advice about the weather, your safety, and the famed Medieval Fair that makes the city shine every August. (See? August!)

The visit

The focus will be the Historical Center, a scenario of huge battles that shaped the History of Portugal centuries ago. You must explore it on foot. Luckily, the essential points are close to each other, so scheduling a visit for the morning and part of the afternoon will be easy.

On warm days, storks probably will be flying around. They are an extra wonder in the area. For many tourists, this is the first experience of seeing a stork in person (what about you?). The birds build large nests, seen everywhere.

By approaching the area, the time travel atmosphere starts when we see old buildings amid homes and businesses. In the distance, we discover the famous Castle of Silves and the Cathedral.

I stop on the N124 road, which crosses the city, and start my journey from Coronel Figueiredo Street towards the Historical Center. The streets are narrow and steep, covered with stones — quite often, slippery stones. (Unfortunately, the visit is improper for people with mobility disabilities.)

To understand the area, see the following image from Google Maps.

Map of Silves.
The yellow line highlights the N124 road. The blue one shows Coronel Figueiredo Street. The orange one, Moinho da Porta Street. I usually follow the red drawing up to the castle. • Open on Google Maps.
Arriving to Silves, seeing the castle and the cathedral.
The castle, pointed by the red arrows. The white one shows the Silves Cathedral.

After a few minutes of walking, we reach the old building shown in the following photo. A stork nest has been on its chimney for years. Tourists stop here to take pictures.

Stork nest on a chimney in Silves

The Algarve is a famous destination for birdwatchers.

Stork nest

In the opposite view from the previous two photos, we find a well-preserved, historic building: the Turret of the City Gate. It was connected to walls that protected the town. We can cross it to continue our historical journey.

Tower of the Turret of the City Gate in the day trip to Silves
Silves’ Turret of the City Gate. Go left to cross it (following two photos). At the top right, there’s another stork nest.
Lateral of the Turret of the City Gate
Inside Turret of the City Gate

After crossing the structure, we are right in front of an interesting gift shop: Ana & Joana.

A gift shop in Silves Historic Center.
Ana & Joana.

Some steps above, the Silves Cathedral appears. Although in poor condition, it is still worth a visit for being connected to Portugal’s historical events.

Front of Silves Cathedral, a star in a day trip to Silves

In this area, find the ceramic shop Al-Tannur. The place breathes Art and History. The owners are kind, fantastic artists who create gorgeous pieces right there. Have the privilege of talking to them and buying something.

Al-Tannur, because shopping is part of a day trip to Silves

Following the itinerary in Silves, always up through the Historical Center, we soon find Restaurant Café Inglês. Here is an opportunity to eat and drink… and to rest. Yes, to rest, especially if it’s a hot day. High temperatures and steep streets are a combination that makes us tired quickly.

Restaurant Café Inglês
Those steps lead to the restaurant.

Finally, we arrive at Silves Castle, the star of a day trip to Silves. The entrance is a few meters from the restaurant mentioned above.

Castle of Silves is the star of a day trip to Silves

This is a visit to Silves on a typical day. But it might be much more attractive.

Oh, I know what you mean, Damas. August!

Yes, August.

Medieval fair

In August, the town promotes the traditional Silves Medieval Fair (on days to be decided each year). The Historical Center changes decorations to show a medieval atmosphere. Tourists feel like being part of a medieval film. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Wonderful! Now I may organize this part of my trip to the Algarve. Maybe… in August!

I love your excitement. But now I have some…

Bits of advice for a day trip to Silves

Summer is intense in the Algarve. Thermometers easily reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). But 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.

Plaques in the Historic Center of Silves

Castro Marim (Algarve) also promotes a [better] Medieval Fair in August.

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).

As a last piece of advice, I do not recommend a visit in Winter. The Algarve practically dies at this time. Tourists are scarce, and most places close. To be honest, it is depressing.

Good luck with your trip to Silves. If you see a stork, say hello on my behalf.

» I live in the Algarve (South of Portugal).

» My first fiction books, for young adults, were published in the early 2000s in Portuguese — a time travel adventure and a drama about child adoption, both with thousands of readers. I also wrote books and guides about travel and technology. Screenplays are my greatest passion.

» This blog is the English version of my G.P. DAMAS (Portuguese language, online since 2010). English is not my native language.

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