Alcantarilha is a small village situated in the Silves lovely department on a small hill, at about 3km distance inland from the much developed and frequented beach resort of Armação de Pêra.
This village presents vestiges of remote human occupancy and its location on the top of a hill made a perfect strategic defensive place, as it is visible by the 17th century walls and what is left of the Castle.
Alcantarilha has a Moorish origin, as it was first named as “Al-Qântara“, meaning “bridge“ and it was later changed to Alcantarilha, an abbreviation for 'Little Bridge'. The stones for the bridge came from the battlements that were built in the 16th century as a protection against pirate attacks.
The village is characterized by its charming typical white houses with a coloured bar around windows and doors, with the traditional Algarve’s chimneys, showing off the big Moorish influence, not only because of the proximity with the North of Africa, but also by the many years of Moorish occupancy of the territory.
Although farming continues to be the main source of income for the town an overspill of visitors from the coast during the summer months bring in a welcome supplement, having nowadays a crescent tourist, commerce and service offer.
Alcantarilha is proud of its heritage with monuments such as what is still left of the ancient Castle, the Parish Church Nossa Senhora da Conceição (16th Century) that is famous for its 'Capela dos Ossos' (Bones Chapel) a grim display of human skulls and bones sealed into the walls of the chapel, the Misericórdia Church or the Nossa Senhora do Carmo Church, as well as the Manor Houses like the lovely Mascarenhas Marreiros Leite Mansion or the much interesting agricultural set of Rogel Estate, nowadays transformed into a luxury hotel and conference centre known as Capela das Artes.
GPS:N 37º 7' 48.89'' , W 8º 20' 47.16''
Where to sleep