There are many interesting towns and villages and even roman ruins in the Algarve. Here is a just a small selection of what is available.

Silves

Just down the road from Casa Alegre, is the historic and enchanting town of Silves. It was the former Moorish capital of the Algarve and sits on the banks of the Arade River ("Rio Arade"). The most prominent monument is Castelo de Silves, which is now the best preserved castle in the Algarve. The castle is open to visitors and offers spectacular views from the battlements. Next to the castle is the Cathedral, one of the Algarves few remaining gothic monuments with ancient tombs. Silves also offers shops, restaurants and a fruit, vegetable and fish market.

Sagres

At Sagres in the south-west of the Algarve, visitors can see the place where Prince Henry the Navigator, son of King João I, built his famous school of navigation. The school earned Sagres a significant place in history because it was where Henry bought together great mariners, astronomers, ship-builders and cartographers to build and navigate great ships in the period of the Age of Discoveries.

Sagres is also home to Henrys fortress, Fortaleza de Sagres, which was originally built in the 15th century and rebuilt in 1793 after it was destroyed by Sir Francis Drake in 1587. Inside the fortress is a former monastery founded in the 16th century and a 14th century chapel.

Further along from the fort, is the headland, Cabo de São Vincente (Cape St. Vincent) which has a lovely lighthouse (claimed to be one of Europes most powerful lighthouses) and which offers spectacular views.

Monchique

Monchique is a market town up in the Serra de Monchique, which is a thickly wooded mountain range separating the Algarve from Alentejo. The journey to Monchique offers spectacular views and the chance to stop at one of the many restaurants, famous for serving chicken piri-piri. Stop at the spa of Caldas de Monchique to see where the Romans built baths to use the natural spring waters. The springs are still in use today with a thermal treatment centre, and can also be tasted.

The centre of Monchique is characterised by lots of narrow cobbled streets criss-crossing up the hillside. There is a nice central square with shops, restaurants and a lovely water feature, including an example of a Moorish water wheel. Monchique is a very quiet and relaxed place, offering a totally different experience to the coast.

On a clear day carry on your journey to the highest point in the Algarve, Foia, which is 902 metres high. There are great views to Cape St. Vincent in the west, to Faro in the east and to the Serra da Arrabida, near Lisbon, to the north.

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