Article written by Meravista.com – The fastest way to find property in the Algarve
Silves is one of the largest of the 16 Algarve counties and Silves town is the former capital of the region. It’s a popular holiday destination and home to many Portuguese and expats from across the world. There’s plenty to do and see in the area, from discovering the historic town to experiencing a tour of the amazing caves along the coast of Armação de Pêra.
From whichever direction you approach the town of Silves, you will be welcomed by the magnificent Moorish castle rising up above the town’s labyrinth of cobbled streets – its red sandstone walls are a remarkable contrast to the whitewashed gothic cathedral which stands at its side. Silves is steeped in history and its long-standing reputation as a centre of culture is evident behind the doors of several small art galleries and craft shops which are dotted around the town, as well as within its many live music venues and the charming and beautifully restored Teatro Mascarenhas Gregório, which stages a broad variety of theatre productions and concerts throughout the year.
If you want to explore Silves centre, the castle is a good place to start. It’s open daily between 9am and 5pm (8pm in the summer). For a nominal entrance fee you are free to walk around the ruins. The views from the castle walls can only be described as breath taking, so don’t forget your camera. On your way down from the castle, the cathedral is the natural next stop. It’s open from Monday to Saturday, 9am to 5.30pm (usually closed at lunchtime). Entry is free, but a small donation is expected. Silves also has a Museum of Archaeology, tucked away on Rua da Porta de Loulé 14. The museum displays a vast collection of artefacts discovered in the area, some date from when the Moors ruled the region.
Stroll down from the cathedral through the cobbled streets to the Rio Arade and you’ll pass an interesting selection of shops to browse and an excellent choice of restaurants and bars, including Rui Marisqueira, one of the most famous seafood restaurants in the Algarve. Make sure you look up as you’re walking, or you’ll miss the numerous nesting white storks – a protected species. If you’re in town on a Saturday morning, take the opportunity to buy some of the local farmers’ produce at the popular street market, it’s fresh and delicious and cheaper than the supermarkets. If you fancy some exercise or just need to cool off, on the riverbank you’ll find a large Municipal swimming centre with three indoor pools – one is chlorine free.
When the sun goes down on Silves, it’s time for the music to strike up. Café Ingles, beside the castle, and many of the restaurants and bars along the river front, offer live entertainment. Silves also plays host to fairs and festivals throughout the year, including the annual Medieval Festival. During festival week, the centre of Silves is transformed into a vibrant hub of colourful stalls, street theatre, music, dance and traditional food.
Golfers won’t want to miss a challenging round of the 18-hole, 72 par course. The Pestana Silves golf course is located just outside Silves town in a tranquil spot and has an excellent 19th hole which serves good food. If you’re not into golf, the hills around Silves town are a haven for ramblers and nature lovers; the Barragem do Arade and the Funcho Dam in the São Bartolomeu de Messines area, are well worth a visit.
A little way out of town, but still in the county of Silves, there’s no shortage of family entertainment. Krazy World Zoo in Algoz offers everything from an 18-hole crazy golf course to a reptile complex with some awesomely large crocodiles and snakes. And, beyond Algoz towards the coast, FIESA the annual sand sculpture festival is held in Pêra and features a themed extravaganza of outstanding sculptures crafted from 40,000 tons of sand.
Just over the county border in Lagoa, Slide and Splash guarantees a great day of fun. The park has an excellent range of water slides which are clearly enjoyed by adult visitors as much as by children. There’s a special area designated for young fun seekers, who perhaps can’t swim or don’t have the confidence to use the larger slides. There are many grassy areas for relaxation too.
There’s a wide range of property for sale in the county of Silves, from apartments on the coast to town houses and country villas. You can search for your perfect home on the Meravista.com property map.