Silves Day Trip and 1 Day Tour - Page 1
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Silves is a pretty Portuguese town that was once the capital of the Algarve region. Silves makes for an enjoyable day trip from the resort towns of the Algarve coastline and for an introduction to a day trip to Silves please click here. This guide will provide a suggested 1 day tour of Silves that will include all of the major sights of the town.
Southern Side of Silves
One of the first sights visitors view as they enter Silves is the Rio Arade, which runs along the southern side of the city. The fortunes of Silves have been closely tied to the river, during the Moorish era the river was significantly wider allowing boats to navigate along its length to Portimão and the sea. As the river silted up the prosperity of Silves dwindled and the town was reduced to a population of less than 500 people.
The Arade River and the Ponte Romana in Silves
Historically, the only river crossing was the Ponte Romana bridge and there has been a bridge at this location since the Roman era, hence the name. There are no remains of the Roman bridge or subsequent Moorish bridge and the current pedestrian only walk way dates from the 15th century. From the southern side of the river, close to the N124 road there are wonderful views (and photographs) of the town.
The view over Silves from the N124-1
Visitors who wander around Silves will notice that many of the historic houses are covered in beautiful decorated tiles. This feature is not purely decorative and serves a particle purpose, the glazed tiles offer more protection against the elements than the painted plaster found in other Portuguese towns. The other distinctive feature of Silves is the locally quarried red sand sandstone that is most prominent in the castle but is also found in many historic or restored buildings.
Central Silves - 1 Day Tour
The heart of Silves is located around the pretty Largo do Municipio and this is the suggested first destination for visitors to Silves. The main square is dominated by the massive stone tower that acted as the main city gate, Porta de Loule. This solid structure is unique due to the high arches but comparative narrow width of the main gate while the secondary door is significantly smaller. Today the Porta de Loule is the city library.
The Porta de Loule main gate in Silves
In the centre of the plaza is the only Pillory found in the Algarve, though these are common through Portugal. The use of the pillory was to hang criminals in a visible location and act as a deterrent to others. The Largo do Municipio is over looked by the charming town hall.
Close to the town hall is the Silves museum which houses the Moorish cistern and a good collection of ceramics dating from the Moorish era. The cistern is a notable feature as it was used to collect and store the city’s water, reputably enough to withstand a siege of one year.
The town hall of Silves
The 10 meter deep chamber has a spiral staircase winding down to the base and was protected for many generations as a house was constructed over it. The museum’s collection of ceramics are regarded as one of the finest collections in Portugal. The museum is open Monday to Sunday 9:00-17:30 and admission is €2.00.