Sines is a county of the Setúbal region located 150 km south of Lisbon at the very centre of South-western Portuguese coast. Bordering the sea and the countryside, Porto Covo is a picturesque village with some of the most beautiful and preserved Portuguese beaches, protected by the natural park of Sudoeste Alentejano & Costa Vicentina.
The town's history dates back to Roman times when it was called Sinus. Over the years t established good tradition relations with some of the Mediterranean nations and thrived.
Sines is the birthplace of explorer Vasco da Gama (1469-1524), discoverer of the sea route to India in 1497/98. The house where he was born has been recostructed as a museum.
What do do in Sines?
- Historic centre: Sines’ historic centre goes along the cliff, from the Castle to the Fortress of Revelim, and remains charming, in spite of all the changes in the land. Besides the magnificent views to the Atlantic, in all its length, we must highlight, among the points of interest, the shopping streets, around the ancient medieval axis (Rua Cândido dos Reis and Rua Teófilo Braga), the Largo dos Penedos (with the ancient watch-tower, where fishermen watched the sea) and Rua Vasco da Gama, where the manor house that caused his expulsion from Sines was supposed to be.
- Fishing Harbour: The history of Sines was, until 35 years ago, the history of a fishing village. Nowadays, in spite of not having the importance of times past, fishing continues to employ hundreds of men and to give the bay of Sines a charm and colouring unique in Alentejo. Before or after your meal, in summer or in winter, a visit to the fishing harbour and to the marginal avenue of Beach Vasco da Gama may be an incursion to the emotional centre of the city.
- Porto Covo: Porto Covo is one of the most beautiful villages of the country, and, for certain, one of the most beautiful coasts, also a jewel of popular architecture. Visit the Ilha do Pessegueiro, the channel of Pessegueiro Island was used as a harbour of refuge by the Carthaginians and the Romans in the difficult climb of the coast of Alentejo.
- Beaches: In Sines you have many different types of beaches to chose from.
- Family beaches: The Beaches of Morgavel, Vale Figueiros, Grande of Porto Covo, Ilha do Pessegueiro and S. Torpes, which, in the last few years, were rewarded with the Blue Flag of Europe, are excellent due to their natural characteristics, and due to the possibility of receiving the whole population, from the children to the elders.
- Naturist beaches : Praia do Salto (Beach of Salto). Located between Cerro da Águia and Cerca Nova, with a private and peaceful environment, it is part, since 2002, of the restricted group of naturist beaches officially recognised in Portugal.
- Historic beaches: Praia Vasco da Gama (Vasco da Gama Beach): Integrated in the urban tissue of the city of Sines and testimony of the main events of its history - from the pirates attacks to the embarkation of D. Miguel to Brazil -, it is part of the face of Sines and of the heart of its people. Adjoining the Fishing Harbour, it remains charming and deserves to be visited, both in the summer and in the winter. Its marginal avenue is much used for walks and jogging.
- World Music Festival: The Festival Músicas do Mundo (FMM), organised by the City Council of Sines, since 1999, is the most important event of the cultural year in Sines and the biggest of the kind in the country. Held, every year, in the last week of July, in the historic scenery of the Castle, FMM gathers the most important names of the world circuit in world music, jazz and blues.
- Art Centre: An architecturally innovative space (the Aires Mateus architects’ project was awarded the AICA/MC 2005 prize), are held exhibits, concerts, theatre plays, book presentations, and so on. Guided visits available.
- Archaeological museum and Sala's Treasure: It can be visited within the walls of Misericórdia Chapel, a building immediately next to the Mother Church and the Castle. It’s an historical church, rebuilt in 1585 by D. Felipe I and reconverted to cultural functions in the 1990’s. The museum includes pieces from the Palaeolithic to the Baroque period.