From prehistory to the present day it was the sea and its resources that defined the economy, culture, composition and even the character of the people of Sines.
There are traces of the existence of human populations in Sines since Prehistory, especially the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Even today it is possible to see these distant marks of the “first Sinienses” in archaeological stations such as Palmeirinha, Quiteria and Pessegueiro (“Moorish Cemetery”), in the south of the county.
From the Iron Age period, the Celtic presence is a hypothesis put by the historian Arnaldo Soledade, who in his book “Sines Terra de Vasco da Gama” elaborates on the possibility that there was a castro where today is the Castle and the toponym of Sines originate from the “kineto” people. Clearer is the mark left by the Carthaginians, which points to the commercial relevance of this area even before the arrival of the Romans. In 1966, the most spectacular remnant of the Punic colony in Sines is found on a county estate: the Jay Treasure, which can now be seen at the Sines Museum.
The stable settlement of the heart of Sines – the castle zone – begins with the Romans. The qualities of the bay – protected from the north – on an Alentejo coast with little natural shelter make it the port of the city of Miróbriga, 17km away. One of the hypotheses of origin of the Sines toponym derives, moreover, from the Latin great “sinus”, which means bay or sinus, the configuration of the cape seen from the top of Monte Chãos. In the Roman period, Sines also became a center for the production of fish salting, where it is progressively replaced by Peach Island, whose channel was another rare sheltered spot on the Alentejo coast.
The High Middle Ages is the darkest period in the history of Sines. A remarkable array of stonework found in various monuments of the city, taken from a 17th century basilica, attests to the Visigothic presence here, but the remains of the Arab occupation are diminished, which may mean that Sines is abandoned during this period.
Sines is a small but rich territory that combines the best of the Alentejo Coast with a cosmopolitan vocation symbolized by its most illustrious son, Vasco da Gama, and the strength of its port activity. From the beaches of Porto Covo, among the most beautiful in Portugal, to international reference events such as the World Music Festival, there is no shortage of reasons to visit Sines all year round.
15 reasons to visit Sines and Porto Covo
Thirty kilometers of coast with excellent beaches, many of them in protected landscape
Vasco da Gama
The city of Sines is filled with memories of the great navigator born here.
World Music Festival
World music has in Sines its capital in Portugal and a reference in Europe
Sines Old Town
Sines, the only Alentejo city overlooking the sea, has medieval origins.
Porto Covo Old Town
Around the beautiful Pombaline Square, a village that is an icon of the Alentejo
Learn about the ancient history of Sines and visit the Casa de Vasco da Gama
Sines Arts Center
Sines’ flagship cultural facility is a fine example of contemporary architecture
Surfing in S. Torpes, sailing, diving, fishing, sightseeing…
Live Sines on foot, by bike and on horseback… and “the jungle” so close
One of the oldest and most spectacular carnivals in the country is held in Sines.
The flavors of the sea meet the flavors of the earth in the restaurants of Sines.
In summer, you can enjoy regional cuisine in an enclosure by the bay of Sines.
Church and Treasury of Our Lady of the Rooms
In the church that Vasco da Gama had rebuilt there is a treasure to know
In the heart of Sines there are memories of Vasco da Gama, a museum and a must-see festival
Animation of the historic center of Sines in spring and Christmas.