The Silves Medieval Festival is a must do if you are in the Algarve in August. A fabulous festival of colours, sounds, costumes, entertainment and food – all medieval in tone and set in the amazing historical town of Silves. This is living history and fun in one mesmerising combination, which the whole family will love!
Silves is the ancient Moorish capital of the Algarve. The red hued town nestles among gentle hills, with a beautiful castle perched on high ground overlooking the town. Next to the castle is the imposing cathedral and then a warren of ancient cobbled alleyways that sweep down to the banks of the River Arade and the picturesque roman bridge. This is the setting for what is arguably the most popular Algarve summer festival – the .
For 10 days in August, 12th – 21st August 2016, the town turns off its neon signs, hides the cutlery and dons medieval garb to complete the illusion of a medieval town celebrating summer. Bands of wandering minstrels entertain the crowds, exotic belly dances dance upon the cathedral steps, knights Templar parade through the streets on horseback, there is even a leprous beggar seeking alms. Traditional food is on offer – whole pigs roasted on the spit in the town square, ceramic roof tiles serving as plates and mugs of strong wine to wash it down. There are spices and exotic foods from far away lands, brought by the Moors to Portugal.
The Festival isn’t just a spectacle – it’s an experience, and one you should embrace to the full. There are several wardrobe areas where you can hire out Medieval costumes – you get to choose to be prince or pauper. Indulge in some tasty food, eaten with your fingers of course, and paid for in the Xelb – the currency of the time. You can exchange your euros when entering the festival grounds. There is a parade each day through the town, re-enacting important events in Silves’ history and there is a jousting tournament each evening, with evil knights battling the heroes….all great fun. Within the grounds of the ancient castle, you can opt to partake in a special medieval feast for lords and ladies, with entertainment.
A fabulous evening, the festival begins each evening at 6pm and ends at 1am.
Entrance tickets can be bought on the day - €2 per person (children under 6 go free)
Costume hire €3 for adults, €2 for children
Medieval Feast within the castle grounds : €50 per adults, children 6 – 10 years €25
Jousting tournament : €5 per person – includes entrance to the festival.
The Silves Medieval Festival is very popular so expect it to be quite busy. It gets particularly busy from 9pm onwards. Parking is on the outer streets of the town. Silves is a hilly town and the cobbled streets can be tricky underfoot – runners or low sandals are the best footwear.