I’m a sucker for a castle, they’ve fascinated me since childhood and I’m so pleased that Monkey seems to share the passion. When we decided to stay in Portugal with my parents and use Silves as our base, I couldn’t really have been any happier. We spent our first full day in the Algarve exploring Castelo de Silves. I’d been itching to climb up to the castle as we had the most fantastic view of it from our hotel balcony. Doesn’t get much better than this does it!
Granny and Gramps have visited the castle before but the 3 of us couldn’t wait to get inside. Exploring Castelo de Silves was on the top of our ‘to do’ list for the holiday. Monkey had free entry and Daddy P and I paid €2.80 each. We could have purchased a combined ticket to include the Municipal Museum of Archaeology (I’m sure I’d have loved this, but we didn’t think Monkey would be so interested.
You can’t help but notice the red sandstone in this part of the Algarve, it really is stunning. The entrance is guarded by King Sancho I, who ruled Portugal from 1185, and ordered the building of Castelo de Silves in 1191. Monkey was certainly impressed by his stature.
The site is very accessible for all age groups, with metal steps and railings in some areas to help you reach the ramparts. It is worth noting if you are travelling with younger children that the ramparts aren’t totally railed in. A 6 year Monkey was fine though.
He was eager to explore and see if any soldiers remained.
As you walk along the ramparts you look down over the ruins of what is believed to have been the house of Prince Henry. There was a walkway through the ruins, but for some reason it was cordoned off when we were there.
Sitting high on the hill above Silves, the castle has some wonderful views over the town and the surrounding countryside. Monkey was very excited when he spotted our hotel.
There is an underground area within the castle walls that has been turned into an exhibition focussing on the Iberian Lynx which can still be found in small numbers in Portugal and Spain apparently. We sadly didn’t meet one on our travels.
It was so refreshing to visit a castle without all the ‘glitz’ we seem to have gone for in England. No mimics, no add on’s to pay once inside. Just a castle, hence the price I guess. But we were certainly happy enough with that.
We didn’t try it ourselves but there is a floating cafe within the walls, the prices looked reasonable too. We spent time wandering around the exhibition of sculptures and Monkey enjoyed the modern water garden area.
We all enjoyed exploring Castelo de Silves, and admiring its vista each day from our hotel. It’s well worth a visit, Silves is only half hour inland from Portimão, on the A22.
Might be worth pinning for later if you are visiting the Algarve in future.
Have you visited a castle recently? I have so many in this country still on my ‘to do’ list!