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Portugal Algarve - About Silves

About a 10 minutes drive from Lagoa, with your hire car of Silves car hire  you find the picturesque town of Silves. Silves is a compact town, built on a series of terraces between the River Arade and the massive castle.

Silves was the old Moorish capital of the Algarve, recaptured by Christian forces in 1249. It was an Atlantic port until the River Arade, on which it stands, silted up. The aura of the Moorish lives on, as you will discover if you take a walk around the old, restored castle walls. Silves is most famously remembered as the western capital of the highly civilized Moorish kingdom in southern Iberia, the eastern capital being Córdoba.

One way to approach the town is by sailing upriver from Portimão following the same route taken by Phoenician traders who established their base here in the 1st millennium bc. Their riverside colony grew to become the Roman city of Silbis, and then, from the 18th century, the Moorish city of Xelb. Described by Arabic chroniclers as 10 times more impressive than Lisbon, Xelb was a city of gleaming domes and minarets, of poets, writers and musicians, traders, craftsmen and farmers. Of course you can access Silves also with your hire car of Silves car hire.

Due to the earthquake of 1755, little now survives of the Arabic influence – at least in architectural terms. The city was totally deserted for years. Some of the city walls and part of the cathedral survived, but the remainder had to be rebuilt. Today archaelogical digs are constantly taking place in different parts of the city but always, it seems, delving into the Arabic epoch or later. It is widely said that it is almost impossible to put a spade in the ground here without unearthing a relic.

The most lasting legacy is visible in the almond and citrus groves that you see as you look down from the castle walls across the surrounding countryside. It was the Moors who introduced these crops, along with the irrigation system. Visit the castle; climb onto the mighty red sandstone walls to appreciate the commanding position of this fortress. You can also park your rental car of Silves car hire nearby the castle.

From the castle , narrow cobbled streets descend steeply to the cathedral  and the archaeological museum. The best place to see what has been found so far is in the museum, built around a large, fascinating Arab well. From the museum it is a short stroll through the Torreão das Portas da Cidade, the medieval gate, to the main square, the Praça do Municipio, with the town hall, ancient pillory and pavement cafés. Shop-lined streets lead from here down to the covered market and the embankments of the River Arade, where pavement cafés over views of the town ´s medieval bridge.

The main thoroughfare is pedestrianised  and town centre parking can be a problem. Outside of the city-centre are large parking areas where you can leave your rental car of Silves car hire.

Algarve´s golf courses are among the best of the world. This region is known as a true golf paradise and widely regarded as the foremost golf holiday destination in Europe. At the last count there were 22 golf complexes, 32 separate courses and over 549 widely differing holes to play along the south coast of the Algarve – and another two complexes and 45 holes within easy driving distance just over the Spanish border.

Golf is an all-year around sport but the remain season is from October to May.

There are lessons from professionals available on all Lagos courses. Unlike in Britain, all of the Algarve´s courses are open for visitors. Most of them require a handicap certificate; all insist on a dress code and proper course etiquette.

Famous golf courts in the Silves área are:

The Gramacho Course: Formerly a 9-hole course which has been extended and cleverly redesigned to become a fully fledged 18-hole course. A formidable challenge to its designer! With the addition of the new 9 holes, designed by ex-Open champion Nick Price, it has become a serious rival to its championship neighbours. Built on undulating terrain and with a myriad of tactically positioned bunkers and newly planted olive, almond and carob trees scattered as planted years before by the local farmers, the course is designed for the player to be technically accurate and to know which club to choose before hitting the ball. Anything less will quickly increase his score.

You can leave your hire car of Silves car hire at the large parking area of Gramacho.

Vale da Pinta: Renowned course designer Ronald Fream considers Pinta his finest creation, and it is without doubt one of the best courses in the region.This is a well laid out and interesting course. It takes full advantage of the landscape's natural valleys, Set in a truly Algarve landscape with almond, olive and carob trees decorating the course that rolls through small valleys and hills. Some of the olive trees are reputed to be in the region of 1,500 years old. Two holes that deserve special mention are the par-3 tenth and the par-5 thirteenth. The former has a large bunker defending the green against your shot, the latter, winds through a valley for 541 metres. Fream also took full advantage of the undulation to provide a true test of golf and, with five different sets of tees, can be enjoyed whatever your ability. The course is characterised by large greens protected by strategically placed bunkers, as well as by the ever-present olive trees that decorate the fairways. Vale da Pinta is ranked in Golf World's top 100 European courses.

Vale da Pinta has excellent conditions to leave your hire car of Silves car hire.

Vale do Milho: This is a very friendly par-3 course with nine holes close to the coastal village of Carvoeiro. As 70% of the game of golf is decided with approach and putting, the course has been specifically designed to test and improve a players skills in these areas. There are an adequate number of bunkers and water hazards to keep most players keenly interested. The second hole is a good example of the essence of this course. The greens are built to provide a very consistant putting surface, and are also especially receptive to a well struck shot.

You can leave your hire car of Silves car hire at the large parking area of Vale do Milho.

Silves Golf course:  Silves is a serene spot, but the course is anything but the proverbial walk in the park. This latest course is surrounded by typical Algarve fruit orchards and small farms. Most holes offer a spectacular mountain and valley view, overlooking palm trees and olive groves. It has a natural beauty and an elegant design. The course has been designed to test the golfer's quality in hitting a well directed ball using the correct choice of club. This point is immediately emphasised as you stand on the first tee faced by two water hazards flanking the fairway. A heroic and straight shot will reward the player with an easy uphill approach shot. The course has been described as designed for attacking play whilst the bunkers are well placed to cause possible trouble to the "big hitters".

Silves encourages and rewards attacking play. The excellent condition, all year round, is ideal for low scoring. A relentless test in precision, this course has no peers.

The Silves Golf course has excellent conditions to leave your hire car of Silves car hire.