Alvor is a stunning resort town in the Algarve popular with those looking for a beach holiday.
Algarve has an interesting history of Moorish occupation, sadly though, there’s not much evidence of this history to be seen throughout Alvor, with most of the buildings being relatively modern. This is due to the major 1755 earthquake which destroyed a lot of this architectural history.
Nestled away within these modern buildings lie the remains of the Castle of Avor.
Below, we will detail some of the history of the castle as well as how easy it is to access etc:
History and Architecture
The Castle of Alvor was a medieval castle and at one time a significant military monument. Alvor was a river community and as such was seen to be in an important position due to the access to the sea. The beginnings of the castle date right back to the 7th century, however, the remains that can be seen on the site today are likely from reconstruction work that took place through the 14th to 16th centuries following the earthquake in 1755.
The archaeological history of the castle is actually a bit of a mystery. It is thought though, that it was rather simplistic in style, being a small square building encased by walls (these sadly have not survived).
You can see within the remains of the walls, how they were built with many different irregular type bricks. The main gate, to the north, was actually built during the Renaissance period and on the Eastern side, there are the remnants of another tower, from which you have stunning views out over the sea!
During the 17th century, there was a strong preoccupation with gathering defences in large complex forts along the Algarve coast, which could explain why this was left to such ruin.
Towards the end of the 20th century, the decision was made to build a children’s playground in the main square of the ruins. This was to commemorate the Christian conquest of the town from the Moors. There has also been a viewing platform placed in the preserved tower, providing some of the most amazing views!
There is also an information board detailing the history of the castle itself and the origins of the surrounding area.
To this day archaeologists are still attempting to make further discoveries about Alvor and its historic defences and the castle. An excavation of the hill upon which the castle stands uncovered remnants of the fortress of the old city, demonstrating Moorish occupation!
Accessibility and Cost
Many have said that the remains of the castle can be a little difficult to find! It’s located in a back street in the centre of town. The easiest way to get there is to walk if you are able!
It is an uphill walk to get to it, but there are plenty of places where you can pause for a break if needed. Upon arrival at the castle, there is a ramp available for wheelchair users to be able to access the remains if it is needed.
There are toilets on-site, should you need them.
There is plenty of fun, play equipment if you have young children and there are also some picnic benches and plenty of trees for shade if you wish to turn it into a lunch spot!
It is free to visit the ruins of the castle and these are open every day. They get closed up night approx 9pm.
I think this may be a site that some will think is a tad underwhelming and yes, it is true, there’s not actually much of a castle left. However, they’ve very tastefully utilised the space, into something that does show a level of respect for the history of the area and what took place there.
Overall, it is a little area of calm within the town. It’s a nice spot to relax for a bit under the shade of the trees and the walls. There are some incredible views to be had looking out to the sea. If you have children, they will love the playground!
Overall, I think if you’re in the area anyway and are having a little wander around and thinking of places to see, it may be worthwhile to give here a little visit.