"Silves: The "Very Different" Algarve" Silves by global84

Silves Travel Guide: 111 reviews and 316 photos

Welcome to Silves!

Silves is located in the interior Algarve, off A2 highway on the way to Portimão. The town is situated on the northern bank of Rio Arade around the hill where its castle is located. Silves occupies an arid region that overlooks Serra de Monchique, the mountain range that creates the natural border between Baixo Alentejo and Algarve.

Currently, about 33,000 residents live in the area. In addition, with the steady increase of tourists, the city is undergoing an extensive urban revitalization plan that includes creation of a garden within the castle.

Brief History of Silves

The area around Rio Arade has long been occupied by Greeks and Carthaginians. However, the Moors took over the region in the 8th century that the prosperity and prominence of the town, which was then named Shelb (or Xelb), were acquired. The town accumulated the wealth from active trades along Rio Arade, rivalling Lisbon in importance of its port.

However, the downfall of the town started in June 1189 when Dom Sancho I laid siege here, supported by hooligan crusades. The Moors did their best to protect themselves and the town inside the castle, yet surrendered to Dom Sancho I after running out of food and water. The town was wrecked by the king's army.

The Moors recaptured the town 2 years later, but the town eventually became the land of Christians in 1249. Yet the wealth of the town had long been gone; the silting up of the river and the coastal ports in the Algarve region led to town's steady decline. The Earthquake of 1755 devasted the town much further.

It wasn't the end of the town, however. In the 19th century, local cork and dried-fruit industries revitalized Silves. Today, tourism and agriculture are the most important industries of the town.

Source: It was summarized from Lonely Planet's Portugal (5th edition), published in 2005, written byAbigail Hole and Charloote Beech.

What Not to Miss

While in Silves, do not forget to visit the following places:

- Castelo do Silves (Património Nacional)
- Sé
- Museu de Arquelogia
- Museu da Cortiça (Cork Museum)
- Câmara Municupal & Around

You will fine more specific information with pictures on those places in my tips section. Please refer them if you would like to know more about the town!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great history, unique cultural heritage!
  • In a nutshell:You will love Silves. Enjoy its characterful past!
  • Last visit to Silves: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Aug 22, 2006
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (6)

Comments (1)


“Always create and explore original routes.”

Online Now


Top 5,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 4 4 8 9

Badges & Stats in Silves

  • 6 Reviews
  • 27 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 434PageViews

Have you been to Silves?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Silves


See All Friends (1)

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)