Today was the second day that monuments were allowed to reopen in Portugal. In honor of being able to go do some touristy things, I went to the town of Silves which is about 20 minutes door to door from my spot at the Quinta dos Vales. The town of Silves was settle by the Romans but the influence of the Moors is evident in its most famous attraction, the Castle at the top of the old town. The Moorish stronghold had its heyday in the 1100s during their occupation of the Iberian Peninsula.
Parking is easily accessible. It’s located next to the public market which lies by the Arade River just south of the old town. Or just have Google maps tell you where the Lidl Silves is and the public parking is almost right in front of that on the river side. From the parking, if you are an able-bodied individual, you should get up to the castle in probably about 10 minutes. My iWatch said it was .30 miles. I turned on the exercise app and thought I was going to get a half mile or more in and was sort of disappointed. 😦
The cost to enter was just 2.8 euros. A very reasonable price for such an imposing fortress. Within its walls the structure has a bar, not yet open as of this writing, bathrooms, these were open, a nice garden area with several fountains several benches and also an area which appears to be currently under archaeological excavation but which I believe is no longer being excavated. And, impressively, there is a cistern which currently is holding an exhibit on the Iberian Lynx. The views as you might expect of the surrounding area are pretty impressive.
As this was the second day of Portugal opening its monuments, I was one of very few people in the structure. On my visit I only saw about five or six other tourists. On my way back down, I stopped over at the Cathedral da Se which unfortunately was closed for lunch!
I meandered through some of the streets. There were several restaurants allowing outdoor seating and of course the groups were small, as per regulations. Before departing, I took a nice walk along a riverside path which was adjacent to the parking area. In the parking area there is a municipal market, exposition center, campground, a skate park with a couple of skate ramps, and a few cafes along the river. Again, the cafes along the river and the municipal market were following current protocols and only allowing outdoor seating. As not much was still open, I only spent a couple of hours in the town before returning to my home base at the vineyard.
If you want to learn more about Silves, it’s history, and the Algarve, check out some of these links: