The centre of the Algarve

Set amid the mountains, Salir is located in the centre of the Algarve.

The village belongs to the district of Loulé and has little less than 3,000 residents.

In the 12th century, Salir was occupied by the Moors who built the Castle of Salir to protect the region against the Christian re-conquest. Now left to ruins, the castle acts as a great viewpoint over the green hills of Serra do Caldeirão. Near the ruins, there is a tiny museum that showcases the remains of the castle’s foundations and a few objects that were discovered here during excavations.

Besides the castle, the main landmark of the region is Rocha da Pena, a natural park with an area of 637 hectares that stretches from Salir to the town of Benafim. The park has a maximum height of 479 meters, making it a great spot for climbing and hiking enthusiasts.

Spring is the best season to visit Rocha da Pena as the plants begin to flourish, covering the hills with layers of colour. Wild orchids, narcissus and wild peonies are a few species you can expect to find in this protected area. As for the fauna, the park is home to several birds, like the alpine accentors, the ring ouzels and the Bonelli's Eagle.

Salir is mainly an agricultural settlement famous for producing cork, olives, almonds, figs and carob beans. It is also an area for hunting, which provides local restaurants with delicious game meat dishes. Around the village, there is a trail of fountains worth following, as each one is different from the other.

Every year, Salir hosts two important events, Festa da Espiga, a traditional festival that takes place 40 days after Easter on the Feast of Ascension and the medieval festival, Salir do Tempo, at the end of July.

Festa da Espiga is held near the village’s church and it’s an homage to the countryside. To mark this day, residents collect ears of wheat which symbolize abundance and hang them outside their houses until the following year. The day is celebrated with a parade, music and local food. The medieval festival, on the other hand, tries to recreate the atmosphere in the village when the Algarve was being disputed by Christians and Muslims.

Apart from these lively annual celebrations, Salir is mostly a quiet village and even has its own Buddhist community, who have chosen the hills of Salir as a place of meditation. A trip to Salir can also be combined with a visit to the nearby village of Alte, which is famous for its natural spring waters.

Explore this region by following our Loule 5 day tour. Also read about Loulé, Vilamoura, Quarteira, Almancil, Boliqueime, and Alte.