A serene spot at the foot of the Monchique mountain, Silves was once the capital of the entire Algarve region. It is crossed by the Arade River, which was navigable in historical times and was key to the prosperity of the city of Silves. The waters of the river form the dams of Arade and Funcho. The landscape of the municipality is generally hilly. To the south the municipality borders the Atlantic Ocean.

Silves, Algarve

The Castle of Silves on the hilltop in the centre of the city. Photo by Lacobrigo

The region of Silves has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic, as attested by archaeological vestiges, including several menhirs. The river Arade, which was navigable in historical times, linked the hinterland to the open ocean and allowed for the transport of produce and commerce. The town of Silves was possibly founded during the times of Roman domination, when the region was part of the Lusitania province.

Get in

The nearest airport to Silves is Faro. 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.

It is also possible to fly to Lisbon or Porto, both of which are connected to the Algarve by regular coach services.

Get around

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.

A street in Silves

A street in Silves. Photo by Lacobrigo


  • Silves Castle – When Silves was the Moorish capital of the Algarve, this castle served as an administrative base for the rest of the Algarve.
  • The church in Alcantarilha has a tiny chapel at the side that will be of macabre interest to tourists. The walls are constructed with hundreds of human skulls and thigh bones. Pechão has a similar ossuary.
  • Silves Cathedral (Sé Catedral de Silves) – Built as a mosque during moorish rule of Iberia was later converted into cathedral after reconquista. It is considered the main Gothic monument in the Algarve. Since 1922, it is on the register of National monuments of Portugal.
  • The village of Armação de Pêra is, today, a popular tourist center with fine beaches, hotels, cafés and restaurants. The village is on a broad bay that stretches from Pont da Galé to Senhora da Rocha. Its beaches extend from Praia dos Pescadores or the Fishermans Beach, to Salomão beach, including those of Maré Grande and Beijinhos.
  • 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the Pêra village close to the beach on the Charsadda there are some marshes by the name of the Lake of savouries. The salt marshes are a refuge for many varieties of waterfowl and has a rich abundance of vegetation

Silves cathedral

Silves cathedral. Photo by Husond


Fevres de Porco: Literally secrets of Pork, a popular dish in the town of Silves.


Superbock: A popular Portuguese beer.


* Duas Quintas Country Guest House Duas Quintas, Santo Estevao, Silves, 00351 309 402 079.
A countryside bed and breakfast in the Algarve located just outside of the town of Silves. Originally part of an orange growing farm, careful attention has been paid to the original features during restoration.
* HOTEL COLINA DOS MOUROS, Silves, Portugal.