6.5km (4 miles) N of Lagoa; 11km (6 3/4 miles) NE of Carvoeiro

When you pass through its Moorish-inspired entrance, you'll quickly realize that Silves is unlike other towns and villages of the Algarve. It lives in the past, recalling its heyday when it was known as Xelb. It was the seat of Muslim culture in the south before it fell to the Crusaders. Christian warriors and earthquakes have been rough on Silves.

The Castle of Silves, crowning the hilltop, has held on, although it has seen better days. Once the blood of the Muslims, staging their last stand in Silves, "flowed like red wine," as one Portuguese historian wrote. The cries and screams of women and children resounded over the walls. Nowadays the only sound you're likely to hear is the loud rock music coming from the gatekeeper's house. Silves is most often visited on a day trip from one of the beach towns to the south.