Algarve / March 20, 2018. By Paulo Tavares
Experience a different Algarve away from the beach, visit the fortress of Prince Henry the navigator, the ancient Moorish capital of the Algarve or explore ancient Roman ruins. Here are three day trips in the Algarve, sure to leave a lasting impression.
Silves is a great place to visit at any time of the year. It used to be the ancient Moorish capital of the Algarve. An an inland town, 15km northeast of Portimão, on the banks of the river Arade. It is a short journey by public transport from the main tourist areas.
Take a step back in time and visit the pretty rural town of Silves. It is a great place to get away from the bustle of the coast. Things are much slower here small narrow streets not many shops, but lots of cafés and restaurants. Visit the mighty red sandstone castle of Silves visible for many miles around. There is parking near the castle, but if you park downtown you face a steep uphill climb.
One of the best kept examples of Moorish castles in Portugal. It offers nice views over the town and the surrounding countryside and onwards to the Monchique mountains. The entrance fee is not expensive and the views are amazing. There are lots of steps, but it is very enjoyable to walk around. There are pleasant gardens with modern sculpture and a trendy bar/café very reasonable with good food for lunch. You should also visit Silves Cathedral beside the castle.
During the medieval festival in the middle of August for ten days the town is buzzing with the locals dressed in medieval dress. There is a street market, food stalls and a variety of good food to try. The festival comes alive at night with snake charmers and camels. It is one of the biggest summertime events. We’d highly recommend it to all.
Sagres is the most western point in Europe and not to be missed. It is about an hours drive from Faro, the capital of the Algarve and a 35 minute drive from Portimão. An area of great natural beauty.
The mighty Sagres Fort was the headquarters of Prince Henry the Navigator. Prince Henry was a leading figure in the 15th century Portuguese empire. He created the first global explorers. Ships set sail from Sagres to Africa discovering India and Brazil.
The fortress is impressive, built in preserved sandstone form the 15th century. Inside the fort you can see the large wind compass that was used for navigation many years ago. The views from the cliffs are spectacular you get dramatic views of the cliffs, fishermen and surfers. The perfect location to watch the sunset.
A favourite day trip from Faro is to visit the pretty village of Estói. A walk downhill from the main square leads to the Roman ruins at Milreu just outside the town with mosaics and a basilica from the 4th century. Estói palace, built in the 18th century and with later additions has magnificent tiles (azulejos) dating from the 19th century.
We hope you get a chance to experience a different Algarve away from the beach, and if you do be sure to come back and tell us about it in the comments below.