Guide to what to see and do in Silves, Algarve, including top Silves attractions and activities
Want to experience the authentic Portuguese charm away from the touristy crowds of the Algarve? Look no further than the beautiful Silves.
This scenic small town is located along the banks of the Arade River and is admired by visitors for its marvelous architecture, cobbled streets, and peaceful ambiance.
Whether you are seeking a relaxing getaway or a cultural holiday, there are many amazing things to do in Silves, and very part of this town has an interesting story to tell about the bygone era.
The quaint cafes, friendly locals, and laidback lifestyle also make Silves one of my favorite destinations.
Here is a curated list of the best things to do in Silves as you travel Algarve.
Psssst…!!?? You can’t get enough of the Algarve? Have a look at my other posts:
- Where to Stay in Algarve [12 Top Areas]
- Amazing 5-Star Hotels in Algarve, Portugal
- Hiking in Algarve: Best Algarve Hikes
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Table of Contents
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Overview: Top 3 Things to do in Silves
1. Explore Silves Castle
Originally built in 201 BC and occupied by the Romans for five centuries, this centuries-old Silves Castle lets you experience a journey back in time.
And for history enthusiasts, it is easily one of the top things to do in Algarve and the number one reason to visit Silves.
Classified as a national monument, it has seen multiple demolitions and reconstructions. The castle underwent major expansions in the Moorish era between the 8th to 13th centuries.
The statue of King Sancho 1 and the Moorish cistern are the main highlights of this castle.
Take a walk around the red sandstone walls and immerse yourself in the history of Silves Algarve. The panoramic views of the city make the visit here even more worthwhile.
Do not miss visiting the café within the castle’s shadow for delicious homemade drinks.
2. Visit Silves Cathedral
Silves Cathedral is another significant national monument of Portugal. It is one of the main Silves attractions that reflects the city’s rich architectural history.
Initially a mosque built in the Moorish era, it was later converted into a Catholic Cathedral.
The Gothic-style architecture makes it one of the most impressive things to see in Silves. Take your time to marvel at the details of the pillars, the red sandstone apse, and the spectacular windows.
This cathedral promises a spellbinding experience on your visit to Silves, Portugal. You can also see a glimpse of baroque-style altarpieces here.
3. Explore the local market
The municipal market of Silves is an excellent place to experience the essence of local life. Nestled in a soft-Portuguese-style white building, this is the place where locals shop for fresh produce.
You can find everything from fresh fruits, vegetables, fish to handicrafts and traditional cuisines here.
Visiting this market and interacting with the friendly locals is one of the best things to do in Silves, Algarve.
This lively market is open every morning from Monday to Saturday. Keep in mind that Saturday is the busiest day here with a more diverse range of products.
4. Visit the Municipal Archaeology Museum
The Municipal Archaeology Museum is one of the most fascinating attractions in Silves. It is built around the iconic Almohad Well that traces its history to the 12th-13th century.
Opened in 1990, this well-maintained museum has been attracting visitors with its splendid collection. This museum displays an array of artifacts celebrating the city’s rich history.
Most of the pieces were found during excavations carried out in the city. You can find objects from the Paleolithic era to the 17th century here.
If you are a history buff and wondering what to see in Silves, you must not miss this museum.
5. Take a walk across the Roman Bridge
Every list of what to see in Silves, Portugal, is incomplete without the mention of the iconic Roman bridge.
The bridge crosses over the serene Arade River, and the year of its construction is still debatable. It is believed to have existed since the 14th century.
You’ll get to see an interesting blend of architectural styles here. Its arches reflect the Roman style, while the deck is an example of medieval style.
The bridge is recognized as a monument of public interest and is used by pedestrians. A walk across this part of history is one of the most remarkable things to do in Silves, Portugal.
6. Go on a boat trip
Looking for things to do in Silves for couples? A peaceful boat ride along the serene Arade River is an excellent idea.
The most popular route for a boat trip from Silves is to the beautiful Portimão. Relax and enjoy the views of nature as you cruise along the serene waters.
The options of eco-friendly and solar-powered boats make the trip even more delightful.
Stop by Portimao Marina which offers some of the best things to do near Silves, Portugal. Do not miss relishing a delicious meal at one of its many vibrant restaurants.
Enjoy the glorious sunset views on your way back as you sip your favorite wine on board.
7. Take a walking tour
There are many fascinating things to see and do in Silves, Portugal to soak up the vintage charm.
Wandering along the picturesque cobbled streets allows plenty of opportunities to see just why it’s one of the best places to visit in Algarve.
On your journey, you will be treated with architectural surprises that echo the stories of past civilizations. The traditional houses here create the perfect backdrop for some gorgeous pictures.
You’ll also find many souvenir shops selling ceramics, jewelry, soaps, unique cork products, and more.
Enjoy your day shopping, admiring the beauty of the streets, and trying local cuisines. These are some of the best things to do in Silves to delve into the rich heritage and beauty of the region.
8. Enjoy Wine Tasting
Reconnecting with nature on a vineyard tour is one of the finest things to do in Silves. The region is home to some of the best wineries in the Algarve that promise a rewarding experience.
Learning about the winemaking process and tasting the regional wines are some of the must-do activities in Silves.
The most admired winery here is the Quinta do Frances with its vineyard spread across 9 hectares.
The spectacular views and the delicious wines make it a popular destination, including on day trips from Lagos, Portugal.
I highly recommend booking a guided cellar tour here to maximize your visit.
Quinta dos Sentidos is another popular destination for day trips to Silves. You can also enjoy tasting wines, olive oils, and verjus here.
9. Visit an orange farm
Silves is known for its juicy oranges and has plenty of farms offering guided tours. An Orange farm tour is one of the best things to do in Silves to experience the countryside living.
You can book a private or group tour to learn more about citrus cultivation.
Picking the fruits from the farm is one of the best things to do in Silves with kids. You’ll also get the chance to enjoy fresh juice and interact with the local farmers.
Some farms even host jam-cooking workshops and even share traditional recipes. If you are wondering what to do in Silves for a unique experience, visiting the orange farms will delight you.
10. Relax at the Armacao de Pera beach
The beautiful Armacao de Pera beach is just a short drive away from Silves. It is a popular destination for day trips and is considered one of the best beaches in Algarve.
The soft sands make it an excellent place for relaxing beach walks. Watch the fisherman set sail on their colorful boats as you soak up the sun. Adventure seekers can enjoy swimming and watersports here.
If you are wondering what to do in Silves, Portugal on your family vacation, this beach is a must-visit.
There are many cute café’s and high-end restaurants nearby for a remarkable dining experience.
As we have uncovered the best things to do in Silves, it is evident that this town will fascinate you.
Whether it is the architectural gems or the lively market, this town will make you fall in love with its charm.
It is indeed one of the best places to visit in Algarve for an enriching vacation. The town is now waiting for you to explore it, so it’s time to pack your bags.
FAQs About the Best Things to do in Silves, Algarve
What are the top attractions to visit in Silves?
There are many great things to see and do in Silves, but the top Silves attractions are the Silves Castle and Silves Cathedral.
What are the most popular things to do in Silves with kids?
The historical sites in Silves are great for kids as they can learn more about the region. However, one of the best things to do with kids in Silves is to take them to a local orange farm to go orange picking and learn to cook jam.
Is Silves, Portugal worth visiting?
Yes, Silves is a very important historical site in the Algarve, and has a range of things to do to learn more about the area.
Before You Go: Top Tips for your Trip
- You’ll snap tons of photos and I love to take my GoPro in order to shoot even in extreme situations.
- Make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and hiking sandals when traveling to warm countries. Consider trying some of these eco-friendly vegan hiking boots.
- Sunscreen is key! I always take with me my eco-friendly sunscreen by Thinksport.
- I always carry a light rain jacket, just in case. Pack smart with these organic cotton clothing companies.
- Be environmentally friendly and get one of these awesome backpacks made from recycled materials.
- Get in the mindset with these amazing wilderness survival books.
- Travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel is protected against all odds with HeyMondo.
Hola! I am Paulina, a fervent travelette who crossed the Atlantic Ocean by Boat HitchHiking. On my blog, I help you to make the most of your holiday. Get ready to enjoy outdoor and sustainable travel like hiking, cycling or sailing. Let’s hit the road!