Silves Castelo & Odeceixe beachFebruary 10 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C
Silves is an attractive town, 15km inland from the coast, built above the banks of the Rio Arade, once an important trading route into the interior for the Phoenicians, Greeks and Carthaginians, who wanted the copper and iron minerals found in this part of the country.
The cathedral, with its Gothic interior and tombs, and castle are its main tourist attractions today. From the castle ramparts the views take in the town, surrounding countryside and hills in the distance. The castle today dates mostly from the Moorish era and lots of excavating is currently going on unearthing treasures from times past. A lot of restoration took place during the 20th century when the castle was beginning to look very unloved. One of the most recent, modern additions was to incorporate a cafe into the castle grounds. Here we sat in the sunshine, surrounded by history, for a bite to eat. The 12th century water cisterns, 5m deep, are host temporary exhibitions. It was here that we learnt about the Iberian Lynx and how it is close to extinction despite large numbers found in Portugal only 80 years ago. People are working hard to reintroduce this beautiful wild cat and build the numbers back up. There is a long way to go.
On the west coast we visited Praia Odexeice, a beautiful, horseshoe shaped beach at the head of an estuary that carved its way through the valley floor. With the Atlantic surf pounding the outlying rocks, we sat on the clifftop looking down onto the fine, golden sands below where a few brave people were dipping their toes into the cold waters below.Read more