Sines, Portugal

Sines is situated on a coastal plain and an escarpment south of Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. Over the centuries, the area was settled by Visigoths, Punic Tribes, and Romans who used it as a commercial trading port. The early settlement was sacked by the Moors in the 7th century. With the return of the Portuguese fishermen in the 8th century, coastal settlements grew larger and a castle was built in the early 15th century to enhance the remnants of the Visigoth defensive wall. It was in this castle that the legendary explorer Vasco da Gama was born in 1469.

Over the next several centuries, the area retained its fishing and economic position along the coast. Entrepreneurial growth spurred development of the area when roads and a rail line were constructed. A cork industry, agriculture, fishing and in recent years, tourism and a petrochemical industry have driven the economy of this once sheltered fishing village. The large, deep water port is home to one of Portugal’s largest maritime industrial complexes.
Ocean View, Sines, Portugal
Despite this modern economic development, Sines still retains many of its historic buildings and landmarks. The historic town center sits on a cliff that overlooks a small bay. Visitors to Sines can enjoy sunbathing and surfing at one of the areas Blue Flag Award winning beaches. On Vasco da Gamma Beach, guests can see vestiges of pirate attacks and the place where King Miguel departed into exile as they walk along the promenade. The list of other beautiful beaches includes Porto Covo, Pessegueiro Island and Sao Torpes. Divers and underwater fishermen are drawn to the area’s underwater caves and rich, abundant fishing grounds.

Sightseers can visit the Sines Museum and the home of Vasco da Gama which is housed in the historic castle. Here they will see displays of Carthaginian, Roman and Visigoth artifacts as well as a biographical depiction of the navigator whose pioneering voyages helped to shape the modern world. You can visit the Treasures of the Salas Church, which are ornaments and jewels that have been donated over the years in honor of the Virgin Mary. Visitors can also enjoy the numerous religious and folk festivals and a tour of the Sines Art Center.

You will find a Mediterranean climate that is moderated by ocean influences as you sample the local cuisine including the regional specialty Vasquinhos, an almond cake named in honor of the city’s favorite son.


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