5 Historical Places to visit in the Algarve
Several have been the people and cultures that, throughout the centuries, have recognized and taken advantage of the Algarve’s natural beauty and richness.
From the Fenitians, the Carthaginians and the Romans, to the Arabs which for 5 centuries occupied the region, leaving behind traces still visible nowadays in its architecture, names of lands and culture. The Algarve is today an open air museum, filled from East to West with several monuments and historical places worthy of including in a visit to this region.
Discover below 5 historical places to visit in the Algarve and start planning now your next trip to the region!
Silves was, for a long time, the capital of the Algarve. From 700 to 1200 a.d., Silves was used as the region’s strategic centre by the Arabs which occupied the region. Today, several traces of the Arab occupation are still visible. Its castle, with over 1000 years old, is strategically located in the top of the highest hill of the city. Although devastated throughout the years by several earthquakes, the castle was subject to rennovation works during the 40’s, which have restored its original characteristics, making it one of the best preserved castles in Portugal nowadays.
Tavira’s Old Town
Located in the shores of the river Gilão, Tavira is one of the Algarve’s most charming cities. Its historical centre is filled with museums, churches, centennial gardens and even traces of the Roman and Arab occupation. Visit the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, built on the 13th century over an old mosk, take a walk in the Public Garden, admire the magnificent views over the city from the top of the castle’s towers, cross the river on the Old Bridge and get lost in its charming cobblestone streets.
Roman Ruins of Milreu (Estói)
Located in Estói, in Faro, the Milreu ruins are one of the most interesting and relevant traces of the Roman occupation in the Algarve. They were discovered in 1877 and named National Heritage in 1910. Here, you’ll be able to see what’s left of an old manor house, a wine press, a bathhouse, agricultural infrastructures and a temple used as a private cult centre. The ruins still feature some of its decorative mosaics.
Located in Paderne, in Albufeira, the Paderne Castle, also known as the Almóada Castle, is one of the 7 castles featured in the Portuguese flag. It was occupied by Romans and Arabs and finally conquered by the Portuguese Crown in 1218. Its ruins feature a characteristic red colour, and on the inside there are several traces of the Arab and Portuguese architecture.
São Lourenço Church (Almancil)
The São Lourenço dos Matos Church is considered to be “one of the Algarve’s biggest artistic treasures”. Located in Almancil, in Loulé, the church dates back to the 18th century and is particularly known for its magnificent interiors decorated with beautiful mosaics in shades of blue which tell the story of Saint Lourenço’s life.