Castelo de Alferce / Cerro do Castelo de Alferce / Castelo da Pedra Branca

Fortified Settlement - Bronze Age, Late Roman Empire e Medieval Islamic Period (1283)
This castle is located a top of a hill, in the eastern border of the Serra de Monchique, at about 488m of altitude, presenting a good defensive position and a wide field of view over the surrounding terrain. The archaeological works developed in this site have identified a long occupation sequence, the oldest being framed within the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC) and the most recent in the Islamic Medieval Period (8th to 10th century AD). The material vestiges that were identified in the top west side of the hill are framed within the Late Antiquity and the Visigothic period (centuries 5 to 8), but these vestiges are scarce. The Islamic Medieval settling of this Castle (8th to 10th century AD) has one of the highest degrees of preservation, presenting a fortified settlement with a military garrison (hisn), and three walled baileys, which were integrated in an advanced defence and territorial control system, including the support to Silves' Castle. The top fortress (alcácer) has a sub-quadrangular blueprint, with walls and a cistern. The middle bailey sets a habitation area, north of the castle and has a pentagonal shape. The outer bailey that may have had its origin during the Bronze Age was later reused during the Islamic period, also setting a habitation area.


This archaeological site is integrated in the "Rota Omíada" - Umayyad Route - Algarve.

Visit conditions

Free entrance



    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


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