Sines Information

During your holiday at Monte Horizonte you will stay near the historic town of Sines. Here some vacation information about this lovely town.

An old fishing town, Sines has been gradually transformed by tourism and industry. Nowadays, it is a major port and oil-tanker terminal of great importance to the Portuguese economy. Overlooking the bay are the ruins of a mediaeval castle, which was restored in the sixteenth century.

Vasco da Gama (1468-1524) is said to have been born here, being the son of the governor general of Sines. One of the castle towers houses a small museum collection dedicated to this famous navigator.

The surviving remains of the original mediaeval structure of Sines Castle include the walls crowned by battlements and the keep.

The walls include Visigoth architectural elements that formed part of a church built before the seventh century. 

The interior of the castle includes two painted wooden ceilings.

Legend has it that D. Vetaca, the granddaughter of Theodore Laskaris the Younger, emperor of Nicaea, founded the chapel of Nossa Senhora das Salas.

She was lady-in-waiting to Queen Saint Isabel and had married a Portuguese, though she was soon widowed and donated a large sum of money to the Order of Santiago. 

The festival that is now held every year on August 14th and 15th, dedicated to the lady of Salas, begins with a candlelit procession by night from the parish church to the chapel. 

On the 15th, an outdoor mass is said and, in the after- noon, there is a procession to the dock where bedecked boats carry the image around the bay of Sines.

On vacation and  during the last weekend in July, the largest Portuguese event in the area of world music is held, the Festival Músicas do Mundo – the World Music Festival.  One of the festival’s venues is Sines Castle, a setting and space that shows the great range and wealth of the world’s different cultural expressions, in what is considered to be one of the country’s most democratic cultural events.The sea makes its mark and is almost predominant, for this is the land that saw the birth of Vasco da Gama, the discoverer of the maritime route to India.

The big fishing harbour is always busy with its colourful trawlers laden with fresh fish and shellfish. As a result of this abundance, the local food is famous for its fish stews, whelk and beans, and the many ways of preparing the delicious seafood. 

During holiday, at the beginning of summer the municipality holds a food festival at the Fishing Port in Sines, where local and regional restaurants and eateries set up stalls. 

A visit to the town can be based on the monuments linked to the life of its most important son, Vasco da Gama. The route begins at the Castle, where he spent his child- hood, and where many historians suggest he was born.

Standing by the castle is the Parish Church where he was ordained. It is an elegant church, rebuilt during the 18th century, with beautiful altars and good Baroque painting. To the south of the church is the statue of the navigator, staring out over the best view of the bay. 

From here, set off to the west, through the bright streets, with their fine miradors overlooking the sea and the historic centre, till you reach the Nossa Senhora das Salas Chapel.

Vasco da Gama caused it to be rebuilt -as attested by two tablets next to the Manueline door -it was the place of worship favoured by him and his family.

Holiday in Portugal, vacation in the Alentejo