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Silves

Silves is  small city in the Algarve region of Portugal. It lies on the river Arade and is some kilometres from the coast. Formerly it used to be the capital city of the Algarve region but it lost that position. During the Roman and Moorish occupations of the area it was important because the river was navigable for ships and so gave them access to the interior. But because of the silting of the river it is now no more navigable for bigger ships. What then does it have to offer to the tourist?

It is famous for its orange and lemon trees which line the banks of the river. It has water parks, a zoo,  an aquarium where you can swim with the dolphins and sea lions. It is close to the coast if you want to go there for the day. It is quiter and a great place to relax and take it easy away from the buzz and hustle of other areas.  You can go on interesting walking trips in the mountains and forget everything.  You can go on the golf course and improve your handicap.

Silves Old town

Silves Old town

Probably its most visited site now is the cruciform shaped cathedral which was rebuilt after the huge earthquake in all that area in 1755.  You can walk around inside the castle walls at night and have a meal in the rather expensive restaurant there. Before the arrival of plastic this city was famous for its manufacturing of cork for all kinds of wine bto ottles and you can visit the famous cork factory and see how it functioned.

You have a choice of places where you can say.  There are many hotels all of which have swimming pools. There are houses or chatels which you can take for the duration of your holiday and they can be close to the centre or to the beach or a little further outside and close to the mountains.

Restaurants are plentiful and cheap, especially in the town centre  if you do not want a self-catering chatel where you can do your own cooking.

Ancient castle in Silves

Ancient castle in Silves

Getting around can be done by buses but their timetables are not altogether reliable. You can travel by taxi. There is no train service in the town.

And if you want to drive your car you really are better use a small one because the old streets were in existence long before the car arrived and are rather narrow and restricted, and indeed can suddenly turn into a cul-de-sac or even find yourself at the top of along descending stone stairway.