Review of Silves Medieval Festival
If you are trying to decide which of the many fantastic things to do in the Algarve is the best, then you should certainly consider visiting one of the many festivals.
Silves Medieval Festival is an annual event taking place in the Algarve every August in the city of Silves and is an event that the entire family can get involved in.
Silves is an inland city in the Algarve, although by most standards you would probably consider it to be more of a town in size. The city has a rich history and a proud past, as it once used to be the capital of the Algarve and a city of major importance, nowadays most people know of Silves either because of its castle or because of the Silves Medieval Festival.
If you are only able to get to one big event in the Algarve during your stay, then the Silves Medieval Festival really should be at the top of your list. This is an event that not only provides entertainment for all ages but also includes a fair smattering of Portuguese history and culture and even the chance to get dressed up and take part yourself!
Over the years the Silves Medieval Festival has evolved, grown and adapted to the needs of the visitors in the Algarve and it has gone from being a small scale event to one that attracts thousands of people every year of all nationalities.
If you plan to get to the festival under your own steam then it is a good idea to get down to Silves as early as possible, the event itself takes place usually from around 6pm but getting there early means you can find a good parking space without the need to resort to dubious car abandonment while also avoiding the inevitable traffic queue to get into the city at peak times.
There is a small fee payable to enter the main festival and then extra payments required if you want to see specific shows or features but there are discounts for families, children and OAP’s available to keep prices down.
The jousting show takes place near to the entrance to the festival and is well worth buying tickets for if you have never seen anything like this before and the booing and heckling of the bad knight and cheering for the good one will help you all get into the mood. If you really want to get into the spirit of the event then head for the robes area where you can switch your modern clothes for medieval ones and blend in with the surroundings!
The main festival itself takes place through the cobbled streets of the city which wind their way up to the castle. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because the climb in some areas is steep and the cobbles make it more of a challenge in places but if you take your time and stop to see the stalls or some live belly dancing on the way up you will be able to catch your breath.
There are few events in the Algarve that are so well organised and you will find the entire city decked out flags, with bales of straw for seats and hundreds of stalls selling everything from dried fruits and nuts, to hand made swords and lucky stones which you can buy either with euros (boring!) or with the xelb, the currency used at the festival which can exchanged throughout the event.
There are plenty of food options available with the main focus being near to the Silves Câmara building where you will find hog roasts and beer and sangria served in terracotta mugs which you pay for initially or can return them for a refund.
Silves Medieval Festival is an event that needs to be seen to be believed and with entertainment taking place throughout the streets, a good choice of stalls and plenty and food and drink for everyone, it is an event that many in the Algarve return to year after year.