The Medieval Fair held in the historic town of Silves is our favourite event of the year. In fact, we enjoy it so much it’s always the first social event flagged, in advance, on our Calender. If you live in the Algarve and have never been to the Silves Medieval fair you must go once, to at least savour the experience. And if you are on holiday it’s definitely worth a visit. Our family members from the UK book their annual holiday in August to coincide with the fair so they can enjoy the ambience and festivities.
The steep cobbled streets in Silves are lined with a great variety of stalls selling amazing handcrafted jewellery, wooden toys, wooden masks, unusual clothes and costumes, dried fruit and nuts, armour, candles and liquors to list just a few of the items on offer. There is also a host of street entertainment throughout the evening.
We arrived about 18.00, so we were in good time to see the opening procession.
After the procession we took a leisurely wander round the stalls armed with mugs of Sangria, purchased en route! You are charged for the pottery mug so hang on to it as there are several stalls selling Sangria and you then only buy refils. The rustic terracotta mugs also make a great keepsake – I now have several in my collection.
As you can see from the photographs the best time to look round the stalls is before the crowds arrive. Later, sharp elbows are needed to edge your way through the throng to see the stalls! There are plenty of bargains to be had, so take courage and haggle on price. You may not always be successful, but our son saved over €10 on his purchases.
Several Sangrias later we walked down to the arena to watch the jousting. It was not jousting as we know it in the UK, but was fun nevertheless. The horsemanship was amazing! Here is a short video.
And my favourite photograph!
Hungry after the jousting we walked back up the hill to buy something to eat from one of the food stalls. I personally wanted the comfort of a restaurant rather than sitting on spikey straw bales. However, Mr. Piglet and son wanted hog roast and a more “rustic” ambience. Hmmm nice, not! Next year I choose!
Tip: Never mind dainty fashion shoes, the streets are steep and the calçada (cobbled stone) is like black ice and extremely slippery – wear something flat and practical with a non-slip sole.