Castelo de São Jorge em Lisboa

4 Castles not to miss in Portugal

Portugal has more than 400 castles and fortifications that already have construction marks from the middle of the V century. A land of many wars, with Spanish, Moors, French, and even other older tribes, it has a rich history of fortifications that allow Portugal to be one of the oldest countries in the world. The Portuguese castles extend from north to south and have several stories to tell!



In Guimarães, we can find a castle that has the first records in the second half of the X century. It is seen as the castle of the cradle of Portugal, where we can also visit the “Paço dos Duques de Bragança” which was the manor residence of the Dukes of Bragança. This castle was built when the Portuguese County did not yet exist. It was during the reign of Afonso VII of León and Castile that it gained a new look and became a reference castle for the defense of the County.



Fortaleza de Sagres, also known as Castelo de Sagres, is a fortress of great historical significance for Portugal. Located east of Cape St. Vincent, the fortress stands on a steep promontory 40 meters from the sea. It was a privileged lookout point on the Portuguese coast and was also the starting point for several maritime discoveries. Within the walls of the fort, we can find not only a church, some military buildings but also unique flora and fauna. Beautiful beaches can also be seen in this area of Portugal.


The Moorish castle in Sintra

During the X century, the Moors were ruling the Iberian Peninsula, and Sintra was one of their strategic defensive points. In 1147, the Moors transferred the castle and Sintra to Afonso Henriques, king of Portugal. With its strategic overlook of the ocean and all the plain lands from Sintra to Lisbon, this was a stronghold for military reasons. The Moorish castle is one of the must-see places in the Lisbon area. A visit to this castle is also a great opportunity to visit Palácio da Pena, a palace full of colors that make Sintra an even more magical place!


Castle of São Jorge in Lisbon

This is one of the iconic castles that make Lisbon a unique city in the world. Castle of São Jorge, as it’s named, is located on the top of one of the seven hills of Lisbon. Its location gave the city a strong fortification for several centuries. Before the castle was built, there was a fortified city under Islamic rule during the XIII century, and later, the castle was built as we know it by the Portuguese Kings during several years after Lisbon was conquered. This castle is today a landmark and a nacional building preserved for all the world to see Lisbon in a new set of eyes.

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