Must See Museums, Churches & Castles in the Algarve
The Portuguese love history. Every school child learns the history of the Discoveries and their colonial past. Portugal at one time ruled Angola, Mozambique, Goa (India) Macau (an island, now part of China) (and all the relevant Kings and Queens and battles from middle ages on)., parts of Indonesia, including Timor, Brazil, and Portuguese populate all these countries with explorers, adventurers and goldseekers.To this day these countries still speak Portuguese as their first or second language.
Museu Arqueologia, Silves
Partly set in the old town walls, Silves archaeological museum explores Portugal's history back to the Roman days & before with a diverse range of exhibits. Silves itself was the capital of the region when it was under Moorish rule for 600 years.
Museu Cerro da Vila,Cerro da Vila.
A modern museum and historic Roman site houses a superb display of Roman, Visigoth and Moorish artifacts.
Museu Etnografico do Trajo Algarvio, So Bras de Alportel
Neatly preserved agricultural equipment, and historical costumes can be found in one of the Algarve's most engaging culturalmuseums
Museu Maritimo, Faro
A spirited exhibition of nautical artifacts including scale models of caravells, galleons and steamboats.
Museu Arqueologia, Loule
Set within the town's castle, this tiny museum boosts foundations of a Moorish house and allows visitors access to the castle walls. Loule.
The view from this modern, but modest museum looks out to the ocean. Inside is a fascinating collection of Stone Age, Roman and Moorish artifacts. English and Portuguese translations provide a rich information about each exhibit. .
A treasure store shop of a museum, with a little bit of everything. Lagos.
Museu da Cortica,Silves Temporarily closed due to lack of funding.
Cork Museum and factory highlights the abundant and versatile bark has had on the town through photographic panels, themed exhibitions and displays of early 20th-century machinery housed in converted workshops. Silves.
Museu Arqueologia, Faro
Housed in an ancient convent, Faro's main museum displays Moorish lamps, Roman mosaics and some fine modern paintings.
Museu Manuel Cabanas
A museum showcasing the work of Portugal's greatest wood engraver of the 20th century, Manuel Cabanas. A truly dynamic volume of work is exhibited. Vila Real de Santo Antonio.
Roman Ruins inside the Silves Castle[/caption]
Apart from the nearby highway, Paderne's ruined Moorish castle sits in splendid rural isolation. This is really like being back in the Moorish days!.
Alcoutim,Lago do Castelo
This castle commands gorgeous views across the River Guadiana and the Spanish town of Sanlucar. Built in the 14th century, it was here that the short-lived treaty between Fernado I and Henrique of Castile was signed in 1371.
Although not open to the public,as it is privately owned, this sixteenth century Castelo de Sao Joao do Arade is situated on the beach and can make a gorgeous photograph.
These immaculately restoredbattlementsare an integral part of the town's historical make up and a wondeful little museum has been built into the castle walls. Go to see this early Saturday, and then make it to the Loule Centre in time to see the lively Market, (before 1:30)
Moorish Castle, Aljezur
The remains of a tenth-century Moorish castle sit on a hilltop overlooking this pretty town. Aljezur.
Fortaleza de Sagres/Sagres Fort
Huge walls and bastions date from 1793 and an 18th centry sundial is fashioned into the wall aligned with the famous wind compass.They say that it is from Sagres that the explorers left to discover the world.
Castle, Castro Marim, on the outskirts of Vila Real
Facing the Spanish border, this thirteenth-century castle was the former headquarters of the Order of Christ, an order who protected Portuga's remote areas for the Church and King. Vila Real.
Silves One of the most impressive fortifications in the region. Silves.
Igreja Matriz, Alvor
A sixteenth-century church embellished with the distinctive Manueline architectural style, all twisted pillars and ornate carved doors.
Se Velha, Faro
Faro's cathedral is the most important church in the Algarve, much of it dating from the thirteenth century. Faro.
Nossa Senhora de Piedade, Loule
One of the most distinctive of the region's modern churches, majestically set on a hill overlooking the region..
Igreja de Santo Antonio
This fantastically embellished, barrel-vaulted, eighteenth-century church is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture.
Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe
Local folklore maintains that Henry the Navigator was a frequent visitor to this thirteenth-century church set in a lonely field.
Other Must-See Sights
The area's most important Roman site, complete with fish mosaics, a bath house and the remains of one of the earliest Christian churches in the world.
Rosa dos Ventos; Sagres
An extraordinary wind compass dating back to the time of Henry the Navigator. .
Capela dos Ossos, Bone Chapel, Faro
A bizarre chapel completely decorated with human bones. Faro.