Silves, The ancient city of Silves in the heart of the Algarve
The historic castle (castelo) and cathedral (Sé) dominate the Silves skyline.
Dating back many centuries to the time of the Romans, Silves became the Moorish capital (then known as Xelb) of the Algarve (named al-Gharb by the Moors) and was larger and more important than Lisbon. The power of the town gradually faded after the fall of the Moors and the reducing reliance on river transport for trading. The river Arade which passes alongside the town as it flows to the coast at Portimão silted up during the 15th century and trade centres were found elsewhere. You will still find commercial craft using the river today but they are small brightly painted ferries that when the tide is right offer you the chance of a leisurely trip to Portimão.
Silves is the administrative town of one of the largest of the 16 regional councils (conselho) that make up the Algarve.
Relatively untouched by tourism, the town and surrounding area has much to offer its visitors............. A glimpse of the day to day workings of a genuine rural town with a daily market selling the best that the Algarve has to offer in fresh picked fruit and vegetables and fish straight from the quayside of Portimão only a few kilometres away. Tear yourself away from the pool or beach for a day and take a leisurely stroll through some of the old cobbled streets, soaking up some of the history and culture of Silves as you visit the castle or the cathedral. Visit the "Cruz de Portugal", an ornate 16th century granite cross, or watch a Heron fishing in the Arade as you cross the 13th century "Roman Bridge". The "Fabrica do Inglês" is a display and entertainment centre built in what used to be a very important cork factory, among the many cafes and restaurants, you will see all the artefacts of an industry that is still vitally important to Portugal today. The centre also hosts many of the town festivals throughout the year and has a stage area where everyone from top Fado singers to Pop stars entertain.
If an exhausting lunch in one of the many fine grill-cafes leaves you with enough energy, take a stroll through the rolling hills to the North of the town or a less strenuous visit to the Archaeological Museum in the centre of town close to the castle where the centrepiece is a 15 metre well with a staircase built in that dates back to the Moorish times. To finish off your day a visit to "Restaurante Marisqueira Rui" is a must, noted in the region for its fine cuisine, the traditional dishes (especially the seafood) are popular with the locals and tourists alike. Only twenty minutes drive from Casa Arabella, the shops, supermarkets, bars and restaurants offer you a wide, and easy to reach, range of choices at a more leisurely pace during your stay at Casa Arabella.
Directions: From Casa Arabella, approx 20 km. drive to the Messines crossroad, turn left and follow the road.
The roads and directions can easily be seen on our area map