Discover the ancient city of Silves, the ancient Arab capital of Algarve. You will be able to see the Silves Castle, one of the best well preserved Moorish castles in the country, and the Silves Cathedral, the main Gothic monument in Algarve. Then it’s off to Monchique, considered the Garden of Algarve It is a typical village located in a scenic range of rounded hills and is the perfect place to shop for handicrafts and souvenirs.
Finally, we will head for Fóia, the highest point in Algarve, before we return to our hotel.
Silves is a delightful and traditional Portuguese town that makes for an enjoyable day trip from the coastal resorts of the western Algarve. The peaceful ambience of the town today does not reflect the historical importance of Silves, which during the North African Moor’s rule of the Algarve (700-1200ad) was the capital and defensive stronghold of the entire region.
Remnants of this illustrious era can be discovered throughout Silves, and include the huge red brick castle, the impregnatable city walls and defensive gates. Monchique is a market town up in the Serra de Monchique, which is a thickly wooded mountain range separating the Algarve from Alentejo. The journey up (and down) to Monchique offers spectacular views and is totally different from coastal Algarve.
Going to (or coming from) Monchique, take a small detour into the spa of Caldas de Monchique. This is where the Romans built baths to utilise the natural spring waters which are still in use in the current ‘thermal treatment centre’ for treating rheumatism and respiratory illnesses. In 1495 King João II visited the spa seeking curative treatments. The unique character of Caldas de Monchique is difficult to explain!
The village is set deep in the valley with towering trees, some of them hundreds of years old, and buildings so very different from traditional Algarvean houses. They are late 19th, early 20th century and one of them, with it’s steep roof and spire wouldn’t look out of place in a fairy tale book!