Castelo de Almourol, Vila Nova da Barquinha

Portugal is a country with a rich, colorful history that mostly involved conflicts and conquests, which explains why the country has many castles.

Dating as far back as the 9th century, these castles were primarily built for fortification before they became official royal residences, hotels, heritage centers or museums.

With most of them either close to or surrounded by nature, Portugal is a definite must if you want to see castles that are quite unique and fascinating. Here are some of the best castles in Portugal. 

Map of Castles In Portugal 

9 Must-See and Best Castles in Portugal 

1. Castelo de Almourol, Vila Nova da Barquinha

Castelo de Almourol, Vila Nova da Barquinha

Regarded as the most evacuative of all the castles in Portugal, Castelo de Almourol is most famous for its spectacular location on a tiny island in the Tagus River. It was built over the foundations of a Roman fortress in the 12th century, and to this day has been quite well-kept.

It is regarded as a true embodiment of medieval Portugal, with its narrow keep and ramparts, as well as the towers. The castle can be accessed by a tour boat and visitors can wander around within its walls.

However, this picturesque castle is still best seen from the opposite side of the river and even more beautiful during sunset. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

Admission Fee

free

Contact Information

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +351 249 720 358

Address:  Ilhota do Rio Tejo Praia do Ribatejo – Vila Nova da Barquinha

2. Castelo de Alcoutim, Alcoutim

Castelo de Alcoutim, Alcoutim

Located in the charming riverside village of Alcoutim, by the banks of the Guadiana River, is the Alcoutim castle. It was constructed in the 14th century to replace an abandoned fortress which is located further north of the river.

The castle served as a defense structure against Portugal’s old rival Spain, and also controlled and monitored the flow of trade in the waterways.

Nowadays, aside from the scenic views of the river and Spain on the other side, the castle also has an archeological museum within the keep. It has exhibits that detail the history of the region.

A ferry can also take guests to the Spanish town of Sanlúcar across the river, and if one is extra adventurous, a return trip to Portugal can be done through a zipline. 

Opening Hours

open every day except (January 1, December 24, 25 and 31)
October 1 to March 31 – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
April 1 to September 30 – 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Admission Fee

€2.5 per person which includes entrance to other museums as well.

Contact Information

Email: [email protected]

Address: Alcoutim, Portugal

3. Castelo de Bragança, Bragança

Castelo de Bragança, Bragança

Located northeast in a historic town is the Castelo de Bragança, said to be named after the last royal dynasty of Portugal. It is situated in the Trás-os-Montes region, perched on a hilltop.

Constructed through the order of King Sancho I, this was completed in 1187. Its appearance was deliberately austere, as one of its watchtowers was a former prison.

This tower now houses a military museum, said to be one of the best in Portugal. Visitors can also access the top floor of the museum to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

From there, one can also see the rest of the castle, which includes fifteen towers and three gateways, all within sturdy impenetrable walls that are well-preserved up to this day. 

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Admission Fee

free

Contact Information

Phone: +351 273 322 378

Address: Rua de Santo Condestavel, Braganca 5300-046, Portugal

4. Castelo de Tomar ou dos Templários, Tomar

Castelo de Tomar ou dos Templários, Tomar

A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Castle of Tomar dates back to the 12th century. It once belongs to the Order of the Knights Templar, Portugal’s militant monk-knights.

This castle is characterized by unusually rounded towers and was originally built as a defensive system against the invasion of Arabs.

After the Templars, this castle became the residence of King Manuel of Portugal. He would eventually be associated with the most memorable changes in the design of the castle, which included graceful decorations in the Manueline style.

These decorative changes he made are now recognized as one of the greatest examples of the Manueline architectural style, which is essentially Portuguese late Gothic. 

Opening Hours

October to May from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM 
June to September from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Closed on January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st, and December 25th.

Admission Fee

6€

15€ – (World Heritage Route: Alcobaça, Batalha, and Convent of Christ)

Contact Information

Phone: +351 249 313 481

Address: Igreja do Castelo Templário, 2300-000 Tomar, Portugal

5. Castelo de Leiria, Leiria

Castelo de Leiria, Leiria

This castle is located off off the beaten path in the picturesque town of Leiria, but a worthwhile detour nonetheless in the Estremadura region. Set on a hilltop in the city center, the castle dates back to the 12th century.

The castle has a colorful history and was a witness to wars and invasions before it became a favorite royal retreat. 

A visit to Castelo de Leiria is a bit of an adventure. As it is perched on a hill where you enter through the Albacara Gateway before going on a historical stroll. It then takes you through various attractions in and around the castle such as the apartments, the keep, and its archeological museum.

And lastly, the beautiful loggia where you get scenic views over pine forests and across town. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

Ticket to museum – 2.10€

Contact Information

Email:  [email protected]

Phone: +351 244 839 670

Address: Largo de São Pedro, 2400-235 Leiria, Portugal

6. Castelo de Guimarães, Guimarães

Castelo de Guimarães, Guimarães

Nestled in the lush Minho province in northern Portugal, the splendid Castello de Guimarãesis is known for its heavy-set walls and a series of crenelated towers.

Dating as far back as the 10th century, the castle that’s seen today was due to the expansion carried out by Henry of Burgundy. Castelo de Guimarães has a rather simple interior, and its best feature is the Torre de Menagem or central keep.

Visitors to the castle can explore the sturdy medieval ramparts, or climb the keep to enjoy panoramic views of the town and nearby areas. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

Adults – €1.50
Students – €0.75

Contact Information

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +351 253 412 273 / 226 197 080

Address: Rua Conde D. Henrique 4810-412 Guimarães

7. Castelo de Marvão, Marvão

Castelo de Marvão, Marvão

The vast Alentejo region of Portugal is home to some of the country’s most magnificent castles, but only a few get close to the strangely charming Castelo de Marvão.

It was originally built as a fortress in the 13th century, over the remains of Moorish foundations. This was to discourage invasions from then Portugal’s enemy Spain.

Visiting the castle requires a long winding uphill drive — as Marvão is situated on top of a steep granite slope that’s 861 meters above sea level.

It’s worth it though, as you can marvel at amazingly unchanged 14th-century walls, 17th-century buttresses, the battlements that enclose a keep and an impressive still-working cistern. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday – 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Admission Fee

free

Contact Information

Email:  [email protected] 

Phone: 245 909 138

Address: Castelo de Marvão, 7330, Marvão, Portugal

8. Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra

Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra

Some of the best, well-preserved castles in Portugal is Castelo dos Mouros or the Moor Castle. This stunning structure that dates back to the 8th century is perched on a steep slope in the Serra de Sintra hills.

It was a strategically significant fortress for centuries since it was built until the conquest by Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first monarch. Nowadays, the castle is open for visitors but it is a challenging hike to get there. The way up is steep and wooded, but well worth it once you reach Castelo dos Mouros.

The castle tour takes you inside the castle to learn more about its history. Tours usually end at the battlements which have sweeping views over the town, and you can also see the distant Atlantic coast on a clear day. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday – 9:30 AM to 8:00 PM

Admission Fee

Ticket for adults (18 – 64 yrs) – 8 euros
Ticket for youths (6 – 17 yrs) – 6,5 euros
Ticket for seniors (over 65 yrs) – 6,5 euros
Family ticket (2 adults + 2 youths) – 26 euros

Contact Information

Email:  [email protected]

Phone: +351 21 923 73 00

Address: Castelo dos Mouros 2710-609 Sintra

9. Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon

Castelo de São Jorge, Lisbon

Overlooking the city’s busy downtown is Portugal’s most visited castle — the stunning Castelo de São Jorge in Lisbon. This is among the capital city’s most recognizable landmarks and also a known historic monument.

The castle dates back to the late 12th century, but there is evidence that shows there’s been a fortification on that site as early as the Iron Age. Castelo de São Jorge had centuries of battle and conflict before King Afonso Henriques recaptured the castle and built a royal resistance within the castle walls.

Today, Castelo de São Jorge is one of Lisbon’s most important attractions. A good way to really appreciate it and its architecture is to go up the battlements and walk along the ramparts, where you also get to enjoy panoramic views over the Tagus River and Portugal’s beautiful capital city. 

Opening Hours

Monday to Sunday – 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Admission Fee

Adult: €10
Student: €5
Over 65s and disabled guests: €8.50
Children (under 12): free entrance.

Contact Information

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +351 218800620

Address: R. de Santa Cruz do Castelo1100-129 Lisboa


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9 BEST CASTLES IN PORTUGAL | PORTUGAL CASTLES | CASTLES IN EUROPE | PORTUGAL TRAVEL TIPS | PORTUGAL TRAVEL IDEAS | PORTUGAL TRAVEL DESTINATIONS #portugal #europe #travel #castles

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