The best independent guide to Lagos
Silves is a charming and traditional Portuguese town that is a popular day trip from the resort town of Lagos. During the 11th century Silves was the capital of the Algarve and the town was an important port and defensive stronghold. Since the Moors era the Arade River’s flow has lessened but there are still remnants of the glorious past, which include the massive castle, the town walls and the gothic Se Cathedral.
The view over Silves and the Rio Arade river
There is a lot to see in Silves, and the town has a pleasant unhurried atmosphere, which is very different from the bustling and hectic Lagos. Lagos is connected to Silves by an inexpensive but infrequent train service, and this guide will detail how to travel between the two destinations using public transport or by car.
Silves is 23km to northeast of Lagos and is situated 11km inland from the coastline. The town is 4km north from the A22, the main expressway of the Algarve, and driving is the easiest means of travel to Silves.
The Silves castle and Se Cathedral
For tourists who are reliant on public transport, both Silves and Lagos are connected to the Algarve regional railway. The issues with train travel are the limited departures and the poor location of Silves train station, which lies 2km south of the historic centre. This route from the station follows a busy road and descends a steep hill and is one of the least scenic walks in the Algarve…..
Bus travel between Lagos and Silves is far worse, as there is no direct service and a connection is required in Portimão. The only advantage of traveling by bus is that the final stop is located in the centre of Silves.
The train between Lagos and Silves takes 35 minutes and a single ticket costs €2.90. There are seven daily services, with more Monday to Friday. The latest timetable can be seen on the Comboios de Portugal (CP) website:
The Algarve train departure from Lagos station
Silves train station is 2km south of the historic centre in a small village called Silves Gare. The walk from the station involves a steep climb and follows a busy road and is not an enjoyable walk, especially in the heat of summer. If there is a taxi waiting at the station grab it for the €5.00 fare. There is a local bus service but is very intermittent and departures do not align with train arrivals.
Lagos train station is on the eastern side of the marina and only a short walk. The train service is clean and safe to use even on the later services. The number of train service make it possible to visit Silves as a day trip from Lagos.
Bus travel from Lagos to Silves is not as convenient as train travel as a connection is required at Portimão. Including bus connections the journey takes 1-1.5 hours. The bus services are operated by Eva who offer a good value three day unlimited pass.
Silves bus stop near the tourist information office
There is no bus station in Silves, buses depart from the south side of the town close to the tourist information office and the Rio Arade. To find the bus stops follow the main road to the south of the town which follows the river. Bus tickets are purchased from the bus driver.
The easiest method to travel from Lagos to Silves is by rental car. The journey takes around 30 minutes and follows the express A22 toll road to junction 6 and then N124 the north to Silves. The longer non-toll route follows the N125 into Lagoa and then the N124 north to Silves. Tourists often choose the non-express route due to the over complicated method to pay for tolls, as there are few coin or manned toll booths along the route. If your rental car has a transponder then the fee is automatically charged to you, but if no transponder is fitted then the toll must be paid at a limited number of shops or a large fine is imposed.
Once at Silves there is plenty of parking on the southern outskirts of the town, close to the campsite. Parking in the centre of Silves is very limited and there are many restrictions; it is easy park a little further out and walk in.