Top 18 Things To Do In Silves, Portugal - Updated 2021

things to do in silves portugal
Ryan Joshua
Ryan Joshua

The sunny yet quaint town of Silves in the Algarve region in Portugal is a great place for you to explore on your next vacation. Walk around and explore the town’s cobbled streets that will surely make you feel like you have traveled back in time. The town is also known as the home of the most well-preserved Algarve castle and its very unique Arabian heritage and architecture. You should also try experiencing their medieval festival that happens annually during summer. Interested in visiting Silves soon? Here are just some of the best things to do while you are in Silves, Portugal.

1. Go back in time at Castle of Silves

What makes Silves and the Algarve area famous is its number of medieval castles. One of the most popular castles in the region is Silves Castles. According to history, it was believed to be built during the Roman or Visigoth Period. However, it was not until the Moorish period where Silves Castle has been developed into something that we can see today. Now, you can explore Silves Castle and even have a cup of coffee while you learn about the ancient history of the town.

Castle of Silves

Address: R. do Castelo, 8300-135 Silves, Portugal

Website: Castle of Silves

Opening hours: Tue: 9am - 7pm; Wed - Sun: 9am - 10pm

2. Spend a Sunday at Silves Cathedral

things to do in silves portugal | spend a sunday at silves cathedral

Built around 1189, the historic Silves Cathedral has indeed stood the test of time. Built over a Muslim mosque that is already existing, the Silves Cathedral was continuously developed until the final reconquest of Silves in 1249. The church’s red sandstone, Gothic-like structure, and amazing interiors made it popular and helped it to become known as Algarve’s most dramatic church. Today, Silves Cathedral is a must-visit for every tourist in town and is located just a few steps away from Silves Castle, the Tourist Information Center, and Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves.

Silves Cathedral

Address: R. da Sé 19, 8300-146 Silves, Portugal

3. Shop like a local at Mercado Municipal de Silves

Experience living like a local and go shopping for the best and the freshest local produce at Mercado Municipal de Silves. Everyone is invited to have some nice talks with the vendors and some friendly yet challenging haggling while you buy some fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. Make sure to visit Mercado Municipal de Silves during Saturdays, wherein the market is at its liveliest as vendors from around the Algarve region come to town and sell their goods.

Mercado Municipal de Silves

Address: N124, 8300-157 Silves, Portugal

Website: Mercado Municipal de Silves

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 7am - 2pm (closed on Sun)

4. Learn about the town's history at Silves Municipal Archeological Museum

Know more about the history of Silves and Algarves itself as you visit Museu Municipal de Arqueologia de Silves or Silves Municipal Archaeological Museum. The museum features exhibits on the history and archaeology of the town that dates back from the prehistoric times to the 17th century. Inaugurated in 1990, Silves Municipal Archeological Museum was built around an 18-meter (59.06-foot) deep, 4-meter (13.12-foot) wide well that was dug up back in the Almohad inauguration of the town during the 11th century.

Silves Municipal Archeological Museum

Address: Rua das Portas de Loulé, 14 8300-139 Silves, Portugal

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

5. Try some great wines at Quinta do Francês Winery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Quinta Do Francês Winery on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Quinta do Francês Winery is a 19-acre (7.69-hectare) family-owned vineyard estate that can be found right at the hills of Silves. It is an Algarvian-style winery that offers unique and memorable wine experiences for both individuals and groups. You will surely be amazed as you walk around the property’s wine vineyards, tasting rooms, wine shop, winery, and cellar warehouse where the wines are stored in French oak barrels. The Quinta do Francês Winery is behind the locally and internationally acclaimed Quinta do Francês Odelouca River Valley and Odelouca wines.

Quinta do Francês Winery

Address: Dobra Cx P 862 H, 8300-037 Silves, Portugal

Website: Quinta do Francês Winery

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 1pm, 2pm - 5:30pm (closed on Sun)

6. Take a selfie at Cruz de Portugal

Cruz de Portugal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Reipes used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Cruz de Portugal or the Cross of Portugal has already been existing since the late 15th to the early 16th century. It is made with the Gothic style in mind but some Manueline elements have also been found on it. It was given to the city of Silves by King Manuel when he visited the city in 1499. Today, the cross is now considered as a major tourist spot and can be found inside a specially made mausoleum just beside the road near Silves Palace of Justice.

Cruz de Portugal

Address: N124, 8300-126 Silves, Portugal

Website: Cruz de Portugal

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

7. Go horseback riding at Country Riding Center

Located right at the foot of the hills of Silves, the Country Riding Center is a horse-riding facility that has already existed since 2001. Everyone loves the riding center’s amazing location and breathtaking atmosphere. The center is open for riders of all experiences. They have experienced and professional horse riders to teach you how to ride a horse in case you are a beginner. The Country Riding Center also offers riding courses for you to be more proficient when it comes to equestrian and riding horses.

Country Riding Centre

Address: 8300-041 Silves, Portugal

Website: Country Riding Centre

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 1pm, 4pm - 7pm (closed on Sun)

8. See Igreja da Misericórdia de Silves

Igreja da misericórdia de Silves (11952956476)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Peter Broster used under CC BY 2.0

Built way back in the 16th century, Igreja da Misericórdia de Silves is a church that can be found just right beside Silves Cathedral. It is known for its very intricate Manueline doorway, which is considered as one of the most important pieces of Manueline architecture that still exists today. Inside, you will see the altarpiece with seven panels that depict the Seven Works of Mercy. There’s also a painting called “The Crucifixion” which was painted during the early 18th century.

Igreja da Misericórdia de Silves

Address: 8300-138 Silves, Portugal

9. Try some authentic local dishes at Restaurante O Barradas

Restaurante O Barradas has earned its status as one of the most preferred dining place if you want to try some authentic Portuguese dishes and delicacies. It is located on a converted farmhouse which is just a few kilometers away from Silves. They serve dishes made from sustainably sourced meat, fish, and vegetables. When you are in Restaurante O Barradas, make sure to try some of their bestsellers such as the slow-cooked suckling pig, fava bean, and chorizo stew, and the char-grilled octopus with sweet potato.

Restaurante O Barradas

Address: Venda Nova, Silves, Portugal

Website: Restaurante O Barradas

Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 6pm - 12am (closed on Wed)

10. Discover the Arabian heritage of Silves at Casa da Cultura Islâmica e Mediterrânica

Aside from its very Mediterranean history and culture, the town of Silves is also known for its Arabian roots and heritage. Casa da Cultura Islâmica e Mediterrânica or House of Islamic and Mediterranean Culture in Silves exhibits all of the Mediterranean and Arabian origins of the town. It was built in a former slaughterhouse in 1914 and features amazing neo-Arab architecture. Visitors and locals alike are enjoined to take part in their lectures and get to see some of the fine art exhibitions.

Casa da Cultura Islâmica e Mediterrânica

Address: Largo da República 31A, 8300-111 Silves, Portugal

Website: Casa da Cultura Islâmica e Mediterrânica

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

11. Have some fun under the sun at Praia Grande de Pêra beach

things to do in silves portugal | have some fun under the sun at praia grande de pêra beach
Source: dguk8117 on Instagram

There’s nothing better than spending the day at the beach, especially at one of Portugal’s most pristine beaches. One of such amazing Portuguese beaches is Praia Grande de Pêra beach or Great Pera Beach of Silves. It is known for its beach and dune field that stretches for more than 2 kilometers (1.24 miles). The beach is surrounded by two wetlands, namely the Alcantarilha marsh and Lake Salgados, where waterbirds and other sea creatures can be often found. Right at the center of the beach is a big wooden walkway that allows you to see the beach from a totally different perspective. Enjoy a day out just feeling the sun on your skin and the ocean breeze blowing around you.

Praia Grande de Pêra beach

Address: Urbanização Barrocal, Silves, Portugal

12. Practice your swing at Silves Golf

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Established in 2006, the 18-hole Silves Golf Course offers a very serene and quiet golfing experience right at the foot of the majestic Monchique mountain. Most of the holes in the golf course offer amazing views of the mountain that overlooks tall palm trees and olive groves. The golf course is also surrounded by cork and citrus farms which completes the overall Portuguese golf experience. After playing a nice game of golf on this amazing course, you deserve some relaxation at their clubhouse. Silves Golf Course welcomes every golfer to play an exciting round of golf while being offered the best services that they deserve.

Silves Golf

Address: 8300-043 Silves, Portugal

Website: Silves Golf

Opening hours: 7am - 6pm (daily)

13. Have a cup of coffee at Café DaRosa

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by DaRosa on Thursday, March 12, 2015

Experience having a cup of coffee in Cafe DaRosa, known to be one of the most authentic and traditional Portugues cafes in Silves. The exquisite cafe has been serving quality coffees and snacks for over forty years and has promoted the unique Algarvian confectionary on their menu. You and your family and friends will surely spend hours talking and bonding over a nice cup of coffee and their quality dishes, especially when you are surrounded by the blue-and-white Portuguese tiles and ambiance. You must try their Algarvian coffee with liquor and cream, fresh lemonades, and the pastel de nata.

Café DaRosa

Address: 8300-117 Silves, Portugal

Website: Café DaRosa

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm; Sat: 10am - 6pm (closed on Sun)

14. See amazing ceramic and pottery art at Estudio Destra

Estudio Destra is an internationally renowned ceramics and pottery workshop right at the heart of Silves. Founded in the 1980s by famous artist Katherine Swift and ceramicist Roger Metcalfe, Estudio Destra specializes in handpainted tile murals. The amazing creations of its founders made it famous globally, and works made from this studio have been bought by ceramic and pottery collectors from around the world. See intricately designed and painted azulejos or hand-painted tiles, bowls, vases, and more. Aside from these, a Portuguese jeweler by the name of Catarina Lopes also exhibits her stylized pieces like earrings at Estudio Destra. Stop by and marvel at these majestic specialized pieces when you’re in Silves.

Estudio Destra

Address: 8300-146 Silves, Portugal

Website: Estudio Destra

15. Try dining at Recanto Dos Mouros

Recanto Dos Mouros is a very popular restaurant in Silves that serves quality and authentic Portugues dishes. This restaurant is located in a farmhouse and is surrounded by lush citrus orchards. You will surely fall in love with the restaurant’s ambiance, especially with the amazing views of a medieval castle in front of you. When you are in Recanto Dos Mouros, make sure to try their bestsellers such as the coelho à caçador or red wine–braised rabbit and the javali no pote com castanhas, or the wild boar with chestnuts.

Recanto Dos Mouros

Address: Estr. do Monte Branco, 8300-034 Silves, Portugal

Website: Recanto Dos Mouros

Opening hours: Thu - Tue: 12pm – 2:30pm, 7pm – 10:30pm (closed on Wed)

16. Appreciate amazing nature views from Barragem do Arade

Barragem do Arade - tree at sunset (13411827423)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user muffinn used under CC BY 2.0

Despite being a man-made dam, Barragem do Arade is truly a hidden sanctuary nestled in the middle of the lush hills of Silves. It offers a 15.3-kilometer (9.5 miles) circular loop trail for you to do some walking or get some jogging done early in the morning or before the sunsets. As you hike, you will have the best views of the hills and the river right in front of you. It is part of the Iberian Lynx protected area that is teeming with a diverse array of wildlife like birds and land animals.

17. Have a sumptuous lunch at Segredo Dos Mouros

Enjoy a very sumptuous and hearty lunch at one of Silves’ best tapas bars, the Segredo Dos Mouros. You might not find it at the first try as it is located at a slightly off-the-beaten-path. But you will surely be intrigued by the dishes that they serve. Enjoy having your lunch with their amazing dishes and quaint atmosphere. You can also opt to have your meal right on the small outdoor terrace with amazing views. They guarantee that they only serve foods made from the freshest and the most organic ingredients. Their dishes are served beautifully. Finish your meal with their great selection of wines at the most reasonable price.

Segredo Dos Mouros

Address: Tv. da Cató 13, 8300-187 Silves, Portugal

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 11am - 6pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

18. End your day at Parque Ribeirinho de Silves

After a whole day of exploring the whole town of Silves, you would surely want to end the day by just sitting on lush grass and walking through a park. The best place for you to do that in Silves is at Parque Ribeirinho de Silves. The park offers a very family- and kid-friendly venue for everyone to just relax and breathe the freshest air. Recreational facilities include a basketball court, a playground, a swimming pool, and a motorhome area for families and groups of friends that are continuously on the go.

Experience authentic Mediterranean adventures at Silves, Portugal

Castelo de Silves - Portugal (66431915)
Source: Photo by user Vitor Oliveira used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Silves in Portugal indeed offers a very interesting combination of history, fun, activities, and places of interest that everyone will surely love. That is why you need to consider Silves for your next trip. See to it that you try every single thing to do that we have mentioned in this list. Enjoy!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Ryan is a Computer Engineer with a heart for traveling and writing. Born in Pasay City, Philippines, and raised in Melbourne, Australia, he is now based in the Philippines' City of Smiles, Bacolod...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Silves
Good things are meant to be shared!