top of page

Arade River

The waters of the Arade River are full of history, from prehistoric times.

The Arade River once had great importance in connecting Silves (the Islamic capital of the Algarve between the 8th and 13th centuries) to the sea and was the scene of many battles.

In the 15th century, after the Christian conquest, the Arade River played an active role on the sea voyages of Portuguese discoveries.

For centuries, the Arade River was the scene of important exchanges of goods and navigated by many cultures: Phoenicians, Romans, Vikings, Moors, among others. Ships came to transport minerals, oranges, cork, wood, figs, carob, almonds, fish, salt, among other riches in the region. The Arade River is rich in history, nature and culture and coming with us on a tour is a discovery of a forgotten Algarve that will surprise you.

Photos: Algarve SUN BOAT Trips

Come with us on an incredible trip on our Electro-Solar boat and discover the wonders of the Arade River, where the past meets the future!


Photos: Algarve SUN BOAT Trips


The watercourse of the Arade River formed by the junction of the waters of the Odelouca and Silves rivers, which descend from the Serra do Caldeirão. After the Guadiana, it is the Algarve river with the highest flow. The Arade River aligns in the contact between the shale mountains and the limestone barrocal, in the region of Silves. It flows into Portimão, between Fortaleza de Santa Catarina and Forte de S. João, east of Praia da Rocha. At the time of the Portuguese discoveries, it was navigable to Silves, where there was an important port. Today, due to the huge silting up, only small boats can reach it. It is navigable to Silves, only at high tide, and is currently very silted. It also has great environmental value, with extensive areas of marshland of landscape and ecological interest. Its reservoir provides water for irrigation and industrial purposes and its hydrographic basin has a surface area of ​​980 km².

Old Pictures from Silves e the Arade River: Google Search

The Arade River in the Conquest of Silves

One of the factors that had a high impact on the development of the city of Silves during the period of Arab rule was undoubtedly its proximity to the River Arade, then navigable to the castle walls.

At the request of D. Sancho I, in 1189, a fleet of crusaders on their way to the Holy Land went up the Arade River, joining the Portuguese troops who had come by land in order to conquer Silves, which came to pass , after a prolonged siege, on September 3rd of that year.

In the 15th century, a bridge was built in Silves over the Arade, which today is one of the city's monuments (despite being called the Roman Bridge, due to its typically medieval appearance).

Sources: Inforpedia | Wikipédia

bottom of page