The most authentic and beautiful castles in Portugal

Castles are beautiful constructions that keep alive a changing and imposing past. They were inhabited by kings and queens, princes and princesses, knights and ladies and surely more than one commoner; all with feelings and experiences very similar to ours. Time doesn’t care whether you are a nobleman or a commoner; time simply goes by, and if you make the most of it, you create and leave memories. And now, where do the most authentic and beautiful castles in Portugal take us? Let’s have a look at the routes.

Castles in Portugal were built mainly to protect and keep the Lusitanian territory unified. These fortifications were spread all over the country, especially during the Muslim invasion, the Reconquista and the crusades for the foundation of Christian kingdoms. At the end of so many struggles, conflicts and wars, the castles remained as a beautiful historical legacy. Today the castles in Portugal are more than silent witnesses of an unforgettable past; let’s see why.

Castle of Almourol

Situated on a small islet in the Tagus River, the castle of Almourol looks imposing. And to this day it holds the secrets of the order of the Knights Templar, who inhabited it for some 140 years. This castle has a pre-Roman and Roman construction legacy; it was later remodelled by the Muslims, who called it al-Morolan or the High Stone. Today it is considered an emblematic building of the Reconquista, and in 1910 it was classified as a national monument.

Moorish castle

Dating back to the Muslim rule over Sintra in the 12th century, its beautiful architecture and location will dazzle you. This Moorish fortress has beautiful walls and invites you to walk around it using its amazing hiking trails. Moreover, the surroundings and the view from this marvellous fortress are breathtaking; worthy of being preserved in selfies and postcard-like photos. In 1995 the area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Castle of Silves

The structure of this castle clearly defines the Arab military architectural concept of the time. This fortress, which has a beautiful reddish hue, is located on the top of the Silves hill and has been besieged many times. Today this beautiful construction is considered one of the largest and best preserved castles in Portugal. So you can safely walk around its treasured walls and surroundings and take in stunning views of the city.

Castle of Óbidos

During the Reconquista, D. Sancho I conquered and secured this fortress which is located in the west of Portugal. The medieval castle of Óbidos, with its entrance arch and beautiful windows, stands imposing and majestic on a mound, commanding spectacular views of the Arnoya River and the beautiful surrounding plain. Today, the castle is home to a luxurious and beautiful inn with 6 rooms and 2 spectacular suites. And you can enjoy them.

Castle of Guimarães

This fortress, which is located in the District of Braga, was under the rule of the Comarca Portucalense. Over time the castle was inhabited by Count Henrique de Borgoña and Lady Teresa de Leão. It was there that their son, Afonso Henriques, was born, who took by force the lands dominated by his parents and established the Portuguese nation. For this reason, tradition never tires of repeating that Portugal was founded on these lands

This castle is a mausoleum of brave and illustrious Portuguese warriors; it was declared a National Monument and is considered one of the 7 wonders of the country. 

Castle of Santa Maria da Feira

Located in the district of Aveiro, in central Portugal, the Castle of Santa Maria da Feira is a spectacular historical fortress. Here you can admire the medieval military architecture, as it was built using various defensive foundation techniques mastered for centuries. This fortress was the main protagonist of many struggles for the independence of the Lusitanian country. Among them was that of D Afonso Henriques, who opposed the political methods of his mother Teresa de Leão.

Castle of Tomar

It is intrinsically related to the Convent of Christ and is recognised as having been built by the order of the Templars. A fortress to be used as a defence against war and whose style mixes Roman, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. It was declared a National Monument in 1918. Although several restorations have been carried out on the castle, elements of a past worthy and impossible to forget can still be seen in some areas, such as the keep.

Castle of Lisbon

The residence and administrative centre of the first Lusitanian king and his successors until the 16th century. This fortification can be admired from one of the hills overlooking the beautiful city of Lisbon,  offering spectacular views worthy of postcards and panoramas. The castle is also known as the fortress of St. George. It was declared a national monument in 1910 and underwent major reconstruction in 1940. Today, it is considered the most famous of all Portuguese castles.

Castle of Marvão

This impressive fortification stands some 800 metres above sea level and is noted for its privileged view. Its importance as a medieval defensive centre was therefore strategic. This castle was conquered, expanded and transformed by the Portuguese over the centuries. Today, it can be seen to retain the beautiful architecture and military-style elements that it exhibited during the Restoration war between Portugal and Spain. Be sure to visit it this summer.

Castle of Monsaraz

Built in the village of the same name, it was a front-line defensive bastion to protect the border region with the kingdom of Castile. The castle of Monsaraz maintains a privileged location on top of a hill, displaying a wonderful view of the Alqueva reservoir. The town of Mosaraz was formerly the domain of the Muslims. In time, this attractive construction was ceded to the Order of the Knights Templar when D Sancho II conquered it.

Since you already have visualised the route of the most authentic and beautiful castles in Portugal, pack your bags and take advantage of the summer to travel to Portugal and be happy.

Posted in Europe, Portugal.