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Alternative Algarve

Look beyond its busier beaches and you’ll find southern Portugal has plenty more to offer in historic forts and churches, irresistible villages, dramatic rural landscapes and tasty local food.
The wild beach at Praia da Marinha

Historic architecture

CASTELO DE SILVES

This russet-coloured, Lego-like castle has great views over Silves town from its chunky sandstone parapets. It dates mostly from the 12th-century Moorish era, with significant modern restoration. Just below it is the medieval Sé (cathedral) – one of the Algarve’s most impressive examples, with a substantially unaltered Gothic interior (cm-silves.pt; castle open daily; £2.30).

IGREJA DE SÃO LOURENÇO DE MATOS

A Baroque masterpiece, this church’s inside is wall-to-wall blue-and-white azulejos (painted tiles), with beautiful panels depicting the life of the Roman-era martyr St Lawrence and his grisly death-by-barbecue. The church is off the N125 highway, a mile east of Almancil town centre (Rua da Igreja; 10am–1.30pm & 2.30pm–5.30pm Mon–Fri,Sat morning, Sun afternoon; £1.60).

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - August 2016
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