Top choice in Silves

This russet-coloured, Lego-like castle – originally occupied in the Visigothic period – has great views over the town and surrounding countryside. What you see today dates mostly from the Moorish era, though the castle was heavily restored in the 20th century. Walking the parapets and admiring the vistas is the main attraction, but you can also gaze down on the excavated ruins of the Almohad-era palace. The whitewashed 12th-century water cisterns, 5m deep, now host temporary exhibitions.

Guarding the entrance is a 3m-high bronze statue of King Sancho I.

There's a snack bar within the walls, and a small exhibition of ceramics that were found in the excavations. It's a relaxing spot for a picnic, but watch children on the unsecured ramparts.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Silves attractions


0.05 MILES

Just below the castle is the sé, built in 1189 on the site of an earlier mosque, then rebuilt after the 1249 Reconquista and subsequently restored several…

2. Igreja da Misericórdia

0.06 MILES

The exterior of the 16th-century Igreja da Misericórdia is plain apart from its distinctive, fanciful Manueline doorway hanging well above street level …

3. Museu Municipal de Arqueologia

0.13 MILES

Built tight against the defensive walls, this archaeological museum has a mix of interesting finds from the town and around. The modern building was…

6. Igreja Matriz

6.45 MILES

The town’s parish church stands on high ground to the north of the centre. A 15th-century Gothic portal and a gargoyle are all that remain of the original…

7. Museu de Portimão

6.72 MILES

Housed in a 19th-century fish cannery, the ultramodern, award-winning Museu de Portimão is the city's number-one draw. The museum focuses on three areas:…

8. Praia do Carvoeiro

6.75 MILES

Right in the town, this diminutive arc of sandy beach gets very busy in summer.