We scoped out many landscapes and scenic points on this trip, but on our last day, we delved into some history at Silves. Silves is a small medieval town, once ruled by the Romans for 600 years. Then in the year 711, the Moors invaded the southern coast of Portugal. And under the Moors, Silves became the capital and was part of the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba.
After being under different rulers, including the famous poet Al-Mu’tamid in 1091, Silves was taken from the last Muslim King Ibn Afan by Paio Peres Correia in 1242. Silves soon declined in importance and became part of the Faro region during the colonial period. In 1491, the town was given to Queen Eleanora by her husband, King John II of Portugal.
The remnants of Moors’ influence over Silves are left behind. The town is old, and the main attractions are the Silves Castle and Silves Cathedral.
Silves Bridge is known as the Roman Bridge and is of archaeological interest and is integral to Silves’ cultural and past. It is archaic, so much so that it was falling down and had to be closed off to pedestrians last year for restoration. We visited the bridge and walked on it, questioning its stability and safety.
The castle was first built by the Romans and then expanded by the Moors between the 8th and 12th century. Although it looks like it could crumble down, it is one of the best preserved Moorish fortifications in Portugal. As of 1910, it is considered a National Monument.
While exploring the grounds of the castle, a belly dancer came out and performed. Check out the video below to check out her performance. Sorry, it ends abruptly because someone walked right in front of the camera and interrupted my filming.
After the downfall of the Moors’ ruling, the great mosque was changed into Silves Cathedral (Sé Catedral). The cathedral is old and not in the best shape, but it is worth seeing because of the history.
Visiting the bigger city of Albufeira was not part of our original plan, but we had extra time and needed food, so we made a stop for lunch and visited Albufeira’s renown beach.
Zest Pine Cliffs Resort
Albufeira is known for their resorts, and Pine Cliffs Resort is on the top five list for best luxury resorts. The resort has many dining options, with their latest restaurant Zest having mostly vegetarian dishes and being organic-based. We spoke with the chef, who is vegan himself, and he said that any dish that is not vegan can be veganized.
By the chef’s recommendation, we started out with the lukewarm pumpkin soup, paired with the most unique tasting bread made with carob. We thought the soup was decent, a little bland and the addition of oil was not necessary. However, the carob bread was scrumptious. 5 stars for the bread, and 3 stars for the soup.
Nick’s lunch was Zest’s Veggie Club Tartine. He thought it delicious, giving it a 4-star rating.
I had the Tofu Grelhado, which was tofu and veggies in a chia wrap. It was a cold wrap, so perfect for the hot climate. I gave it 3.5 stars.
Praia da Falésia
Lucky for us the beach we wanted to visit happened to be accessible from the resort. Not too far away from Zest, down some steps and through a pathway of orange cliffs, we walked bare feet onto the golden sands of Praia da Falésia.
Praia da Falésia is renowned for its amber-red sandstone cliffs. We spent some time walking around and goofing off before ending our last moment in Algarve.
I hope my recap of Algarve has piqued your interest in exploring the region if you haven’t already. I can’t express how beautiful this visit was. We had a blast and were happy with the itinerary of our trip.