Sines is a long way off the tourist trail and on first impressions it is easy to see why. Sines is an industrial town dominated by its oil refinery with its towers and pipelines, and the deep sea port with its huge container ships and tankers. Suffice to say the water here is fairly polluted and the air not a great deal better.
Besides the port Sines also has a small marina, although yachts can anchor off the beach which is protected by numerous breakwaters.
However, until the 1970's Sines was just a small Alentejo fishing village and there are still traces of this heritage in what is a reasonably pleasant town centre. The location is quite pleasant too, sitting on a cliff overlooking a small sandy bay.
The town's history dates back to Roman times when it was called Sinus. Over the years it established good trading relations with some of the Mediterranean nations and thrived. The towns crowning glory came in 1460 (or 1469) when Portugal’s legendary explorer Vasco da Gama was born in the castle here. He went on to establish trade routes between Portugal and India. The only trace of da Gama in Sines these days is a statue in front of the Parish church.