We are on the Silves 2 day tour - day 2 and day 12 of our Algarve tour. From the coast of Armação de Pêra to the mountain ranges of Serra do Caldeirão in the north, there is a lot to explore in Silves.
Having seen the beaches, I was excited to discover the other end of the town. The Arade Dam was the first stop of the day. More than a water reservoir, the dam is also a great viewpoint where you can admire the rural landscape around you.
Next, I continued on to São Bartolomeu de Messines, a small village in the Northeast of Silves, that borders with the Alentejo region. It’s hard to imagine that the vast green scenery of Messines is only half an hour away from the ocean. As I approached the town, I noticed a series of small chapels, one after the other, displaying the same kind of façade as the Silves Cathedral with its red and white walls. I started my tour at the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Saúde, then, I walked to the chapel of São Sebastião and finished near the square with the main church of São Bartolomeu de Messines.
Near the church, there are some cafés and restaurants, although most of them didn’t seem to be open on a Sunday. I walked a bit further and stumbled upon Restaurante João de Deus, where I ended up having lunch.
After lunch, I got back on the road and headed to another village called São Marcos da Serra. On the way, I stopped by the Funcho Dam, once again taking in the views of the nearby mountains. I arrived at São Marcos da Serra just before sunset. The streets were empty and I only passed by one or two people before reaching the church. Unlike the chapels of São Bartolomeu de Messines, the church of São Marcos da Serra was fully painted in white with only a few grey details. The clock outside marked the time and the bell above it was about to chime 6 o’clock when I got to the entrance.
Throughout the village, I spotted many ornamented chimneys sitting above the terracotta roofs, but it was near the church that I saw the largest of them all. The chimney is a memory of the Moorish occupation in the Algarve and a remarkable piece of architecture that deserves to be captured.
I found myself surrounded by hills filled with cork trees and medronheiros, the tree that gives the medronho fruit used in the traditional Algarve moonshine, a sight that I would never have expected to find in a region known for its beaches.
Just opposite the church, I came across a beautiful dark red building that houses one of the few restaurants in town, “Os Duartes”. I had a quick meal there before driving down to the coast again.
By the time I got to Vila Vita Parc, the hills were long gone, replaced by rocky cliffs and the ocean breeze.
I started packing my bags once more and prepared for the next trip to Lagoa.