Silves: Tracing the Islamic Heritage in Algarve, Portugal

Silves: Tracing the Islamic Heritage in Algarve, Portuga

Silves: Tracing the Islamic Heritage in Algarve, Portuga

When I finally got some sunshine in Lagos, I decide to go on a day trip to Silves to trace the Moorish heritage in the area. The main thing that is left from that heritage is the castle walls that you can see standing with all their might in the middle of the city. Not much else is left of it though, but it is still good to go and see their influence that is clear through the little chimneys on top of the houses and the tiles inside and outside buildings.

I tried to find the mosque that appeared in Google maps, but after a log walk all over, I came to a regular locked house. It could be the mosque sight, but who knows. I asked some of the locals, but no one knew either. 

How long do you need to see Silves?

The total time of the trip including public transports, sights and a sit down lunch was five hours. 

How to get to Silves from Lagos or Faro by Public transports?
There are two ways from Lagos to Silves: by bus, which is cheaper and stops you closer to the sights, but it takes longer. The other way is by train, which is the way I used. 

The Lagos train station is on the other side of the old town and there is a pedestrian bridge over the marina you can use to cross. I bought my return ticket from the counter at the train station for €5.90. The journey was about 40minutes. It is the same train line coming from Faro, so you can come from Faro to Silvas by train as well, but it will take a little longer.

Ps. Note the time of your returning return because they are every two hours. 

The train station in Silves is 20-30mins walk from the beginning of the old town depending how fast you walk. I did not see any taxis outside the station. There was a bus stop, but I didn't the timing, so I walked. The walk from the station is near a highway/Motorway, but it wasn't too bad. There weren't many cars and I walked by the side on the little pavement. There were other people following the same path so we all walked in one line. 

If you want to visit Silves alongside other locations, it might be worth joining a tour that takes you to them like the Silves, Caldas and Monchique: Full Day Tour (setting off from Lagos)

Silves Train Station. How to get to Silves from Lagos or Faro by Public transports?

It's also worth noting the other stops the train stops at in case you want to combine this trip with another city. My suggestion will be Portimão since a lot of activities and boat tours depart from there. You can even get a boat from Silves to Portimão . I was taking it easy on my trip, so I only stopped at Silves.

The benefit of walking from the train station is the lovely view you get of the castle and the cathedral. 

The lovely view you get of the castle and the cathedral when you walk from the train station

The lovely view you get of the castle and the cathedral when you walk from the train station

Five Things to do in Silves

Stopping by the Market in Silves

One of the first things to see when you walk from the train station is the little traditional market they have there. It was a cute little thing with fresh fish, fruit, flowers and some local produce. It took me five minutes to look and photograph the whole thing.

Market in Silves

Going back in time and visiting the Moorish Castle

If you continue on walking, you will get to the town centre and start seeing the castle walls. It was only five minutes walk from the start of the old town. The only thing that remained is the walls and you can walk around them. They had three exhibition spaces; one with a few old objects, one about animals and one with black and white photos of the castle. I didn't like any of them and it would have been better to use the spaces with historic exhibitions that really transport you through time and gives the place an added value. It took me about an hour and a half to walk around the castle walls slowly and photograph the things I liked.

Wandering to Silves Town Hall

I did not even think much of the town hall and did not intend on visiting it but by chance I stood in front of it and was blown away by the tiles so I went in and loved the architecture of the main hall between the staircases. I must have stayed there for 20 minutes taking photos of the tiles any of myself next to them. The ground floor has the tourism information and a toilet.

Resting in the church

From the train station I saw the church in the skyline of Silves and I headed there to see how the inside is. It was a nice church and it took me 10 minutes to see every corner of it. It was good for a sit down and to see the religious symbols of the city.

Exploring the cute streets of Silves

Silves is a cute little town and the old town has so many little streets and alleyways that were mostly empty at 1pm in April. I was actually walking around to find the mosque, but it must have moved somewhere else without Google Maps being updated, but I just continued walking and photographing the tiled buildings.

Eating in Silves

The old town is mainly touristy, so all the food spots I found were over priced restaurants and I had to eat in one because I was starving. The price of the fish was based on the weight, so check how much it is before it comes to your plate. Half of the Dorada fish I ordered was €17. If I knew, I would have had lunch back in Lagos and then came to Silves to see the sights. I would sugguest only having a beverage there and getting the train back if you are on a budget. If not, enjoy yourself! 

Eating in Silves

Budget for Silves: 

Train ticket return 5.90 euros
Cathedral Entrance: 1 euro
Castle Entrance (student ticket) 1.40
Museum Entrance (student) 1.05
Lunch 20 euros (half fresh Dorada fish)

Books about Algarve and tiles you might like: 

Over to you: What are you planning to do in this destination?

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