Birthplace of the great Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, who “discovered” the peppery treasures of India, Sines is a fishing town in Alentejo, where you can indulge in Portugal’s briny charm and take pleasure in its unique architecture and cultural traditions. What is more, here you can explore not only the region’s unique cultural heritage but also have a nice swim on Sines’s alluring beaches or munch on the delectable Alentejano food.
8 Best Things to Do in Sines
1. Head to the Sines castle
One of the best places to go in Sines is the 15th century Sines Castle perched on a hilltop. From its fortified walls, you can see the gob-smacking panorama of the Atlantic, and sense the allure of far-off lands beyond the horizon. The fortress’ prime function was to defend the scenic Sines harbor, emphasizing the utmost significance of sea and sea trade for Portugal.
2. Go to the Vasco da Gama Statue
Travel to Sines to pay homage to its most famous inhabitant and explorer, Vasco de Gama. Here you can find a somewhat squarish sculpture of his, facing the sea next to the western tower of the castle. Take a selfie with the intrepid traveler who pioneered the expansion to the East, first commercially then territorially, making himself a de-facto father of the cosmopolitan highly globalized present, we are all finding ourselves in.
3. Pay a visit to the Sinese Museum
Housed in the ancient Sines castle, right in the downtown, the Sines Museum is a must-visit to sense the soul of the place. Make your way to the Museum of Sines for you to participate in the multimedia experience narrating the unique trajectory of Vasco de Gama’s life. The art-house’s stunning exhibits feature a necklace and earrings of a woman buried as long back as in the 3rd century BC and the Visigothic masonry unearthed at the site.
4. Visit the Porto of Sines
One of the best places to go to see in Sines is Sines Fishing Port. Known for their abundant catch, the fishermen of Sines are veritable local heroes. It is thanks to them that your mouth-watering dourada at a cozy local restaurant tastes so well.
5. Head to Porto Covo
Sines is located not far away from Porto Covo, a picture-perfect small seaside town known for its tranquil ambiance and cheerful locals. Here you can find a pretty city square, surrounded by gridded streets of whitewashed one-storeyed houses. The locale also boasts some of Alentejo’s best beaches like Praia Grande de Porto Covo.
6. Go to Praia do Buizinhos
One of the best places to go in Sines is Praia de Buizinhos, a great place to bask in the sun and splash in the water. The beautiful cove, known for its pellucid waters is hemmed by cliffs and is one of the most snap-worthy locales in Portugal. It is a great place to take delight in sunsets with your significant other.
7. Make a trip to Forte do Pessegueiro
Forte de Pessegueiro is a great spot to see what ancient Sines and its environs were like. The ramshackle fortifications date back to the rule of the Philippine dynasty when Portugal was under Spanish control. Surrounded by a moat, you need to get through a tunnel to arrive here. Below, is a sun-lit beach while across the channel can be found the ruins of Forte do Santo Alberto, put up in the same period. Head here for a unique Medievalish vibe and delight in the tangy sea breeze of the Atlantic.
8. Swim on the Praia de São Torpes
Head to Praia de São Torpes, where you can splash around in the Atlantic without feeling the chill of it. Close by the beach’s sun-lit sand, and rolling waves are the lush foliage of the South-West Alentejo Natural Park, one of the best places in Alentejo for hiking.
What Makes Sines Special
Apart from its maritime heritage, Sines is one of the best towns in Portugal to take a stroll. The town is split into two parts. In its upper part, you can walk around the beautiful Sines castle and lose yourself in the maze of scenic narrow lanes lined with white-washed uniquely Alentejano buildings. In the lower part lies the town’s beauteous harbor known as Praia de Vasco de Gama, and the embankment where you can see the mind-blowing panorama. Look around the fishing port of Sines to gaze at the vessels soon heading for a new catch, bobbing serenely on the waves.
Best Time to Visit Sines
The best time to visit Sines is between March-April and August-September. In late spring Sines is one of the best places to go on a hiking trip, for example in South-West Alentejo National Park. You can also walk around the town itself to marvel at its beautiful edifices. If you’re a swimming lover, head to Sines in late summer and early autumn. August to September is the nicest for swimming and profiting from the never-ending sunshine and the town’s unique siestas.
Where to Eat in Sines
One of the best places to eat in Sines is the hillside part of the town where the warren of narrow lanes harbors some of the town’s best eateries. Head here for a non-pareil dinner in Restaurante O Castelo, or go down to the ocean board to eat the delectable Portuguese fare at O Bejinha, one of the best places in Alentejo to delight in its mouth-watering seafood.
3 Best Hotels in Sines: Where to Stay in Sines
The scenic downtown of Sines offers quality and affordable accommodation to all kinds of travelers. Keep in mind that if you opt for the properties located close to the harbor you can always walk to the ocean and take not only its gob-smacking vistas but also the luring smell of briny. Here are the three best hotels in Sines, only a few minutes away from the beach.
1. Hotel Veleiro
A two-minute walk from the beach, Hotel Veleiro overlooks the bay of Sines. Most rooms have a balcony so that guests can enjoy the views, as well as private bathrooms. You can also enjoy the breakfast buffet overlooking the bay. Hotel Veleiro offers a 24-hour front desk, as well as laundry and cleaning services.
2. Casa do Medico
A one-minute walk from the beach, Casa do Medico has a restaurant, a bar, a shared lounge, and even private parking. Guests can enjoy a well-rated buffet breakfast from the terrace, as well as a 24-front desk and room service.
3. Hotel Dom Vasco
A seven-minute walk from the beach in a residential area of Sines, Hotel Dom Vasco features a large swimming pool, a gym, and a green garden. Each room has a video games console, satellite TV, and a private balcony. You can enjoy a daily breakfast buffet with a complimentary drink.
Sines is one of the best places to indulge in the maritime charm of Portugal and fall in love with the Portuguese beaches, architecture, and people. Head to the birthplace of Vasco de Gama and prepare for your own adventure of a lifetime.