Thursday, 30 June 2011

Palaces in the Algarve and the South of Portugal

Just got back from a business trip to Coimbra! (Cubsur...Rede Expressos up - 6hrs 45 mins / Rede Expressos back to Sete Rios, Lisbon and then EVA to Lagos - 6hrs 45. Round trip cost - +- € 60.00)

If you want three days of history in Portugal, Coimbra and environs are a good place to start.

Viz Lagos and history:

While there may not be castles on the scale of Pena, Obidos, Alcobaça and Batalha in the Western Algarve there is plenty of history.

Recent archaelogical research suggests that the region of Portimão and Lagos was inhabited by he Phoenicians +- 2600 years ago.

There are Roman ruins in Lagos and Praia da Luz.

Lagos evolved as a town during Moorish and early Portuguese history and it was from Lagos, Sagres, Sines and Lisbon that the first Portuguese voyages that opened up the route to India around the Cape of Good Hope and to Brazil.

Much of the town was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, at which time, the Capital of the Algarve was transferred to Faro. Although the city walls remain, as do certain key churches and other buildings, much of the old town was destroyed at that time.

None less, together with Tavira, Lagos is still one of the two towns in the Algarve that retains their "Portuguese Feel" and atmosphere.

The nearest castles are at Silves(Moorish) and Loulé. There are no palaces in the Algarve. Prior to the arrival of rail, the Algarve was still considered not part of Portugal and, in fact, treated more like a colony.

Until the end of the monarchy in 1910, the monarch was known officially as the "king/Queen" of Portugal and the Algarve. Despite this, the monarch's rarely if ever visited the Algarve, hence, no Palaces in the regal sense.

Indeed, from memory there are few "Palaces" per se South of a line running from Setubal to Evora.

Plenty of large and small castles but Palaces no!

List of Palaces in Portugal from Wikipedia (in Portuguese) here:

Also, see:,_Portugal

A final thought, if you have a car and are coming in October, (and, if cost is an issue, depending on whether tolls will have then been implemented on the A22), you could take your friend to Sevilla for the day (Albeit a long one!). 3hrs each way on good motorway. Park at either Estacion das Armas or Colon Underground car park and visit the Alcazar Palace.


Also pop into the Cathedral next door and see Christopher Columbus' tomb!