Messines

Officially called São Bartolomeu de Messines, the inland town of Messines (that’s what the locals call it) lies between Silves and Alte. It’s the birthplace of poet João de Deus. Nearby you’ll also find hikes and a cool James Bond style dam. Enjoy the Algarve discovers the entire Messines area.

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine April 2017

 

Check out the town

Those expecting a massive old town centre full of azulejo paved lanes and giant statues will be disappointed in Messines. However, some alleyways are worth a stroll. Check out the Largo João de Deus, to see the house where this poet was born, and the surrounding streets for cobbled streets with old people looking out the windows, dogs chasing the neighbourhood cats, and washing hanging out to dry on the streets.

 

Practise your poetry

Next to Messines’ church, there’s a small museum in memory of poet João de Deus (1830-1898). From kitchen to bedroom, the house has been kept in its original state, back when the poet lived here. João de Deus didn’t only write pretty verses, he also fought against the illiteracy in Portugal; his book Cartilha Maternal was used to teach children to read and write.
Opening times: 9-13h & 14-17h, Monday to Friday. Entry free.

 

Walk on the barragem do Funcho

A concrete giant, massively out of place in the green Algarvian hills, the impressive barragem do Funcho looks like something out of a James Bond movie. (At least if you’ve seen the opening scene of Goldeneye). Located a 20 minutes’ drive from Messines and upstream of the Arade dam, the Funcho dam was completed in 1993 and the reservoir is used to irrigate the region’s agricultural land. Walking on the dam isn’t recommended if you’re afraid of heights.

 

See Silves

One of Portugal’s oldest cities, Silves certainly has a medieval feel to it. It’s located about 15km west of Messines and the go-to place if you’re into ancient castles. Planning on visiting ‘Xelb’ (that’s what the Moors called the town back when they ruled the Al’Gharb)? Read our article about what not to miss in Silves first.

 

Go for a walk

Plenty of hiking possibilities in the Messines area, as the Via Algarviana actually runs through town. There are also dozens of other walks, including the percurso arqueológico between Messines and Silves. Alternatively, go for a picnic at the Arade river.

 

Drive a buggy

For those who don’t fancy walking: the hilly countryside region around Messines is also ideal to discover by bike, quad or buggy. Top tip: don’t wear white clothes while driving a buggy like Enjoy the Algarve did. Our experience of buggy touring was full of mud, rocks, sand, dust and water. Still, great fun.

 

Admire Alte

A waterfall (well, if you aren’t visiting in the middle of summer), more local poetry and natural springs full of fluffy ducks. The cute village of Alte, located about 10km east of Messines, is definitely worth a visit. Check out this article about what not to miss in Alte, like the museo regional & original (pictured), that’s filled with everything from sewing machines to old pull showers.

 

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine April 2017

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