9 of the Coolest Castles in Portugal

Lisbon aerial view of popular Sao Jorge Castle and Bridge from viewpoint Miradouro da Graca. Alfama Quarter in Lisbon, Portugal, Europe. Panoramic view over center of Lisbon in a sunny day

Portugal is a western European country with a beautiful coastline and pleasant sunny weather. The country has a long history and has served as an important stop along many trade routes.

With a population of 10 million, Portugal is a country with a rich history and culture, which makes it an excellent place for tourists to visit. The country has many interesting cities, castles and museums to explore.

Portugal is home to many castles, 150 in fact, some of which date back hundreds of years. These castles were built as defence fortifications for the country. Today they are popular tourist attractions, drawing people in with their impressive architecture and beautiful landscapes.

The first thing that strikes you about these castles is their sheer size, they are enormous and it is hard to imagine how people would have lived in them.

Most of them are also beautifully decorated with intricate stonework and impressive structures. Portuguese castles are marvellous, the below round-up consists of some of the best castles in Portugal.

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Pena Palace

There are many famous castles in Portugal, one of which is Pena Palace. It is located in Sintra, São Pedro de Penaferrim, near Lisbon and is one of the official residences of the Portuguese Royal Family.

The 19th century complex has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts impressive romanticist architecture.

The palace consists of a series of interconnecting buildings and is surrounded by lush gardens. It is located at the top of a mountain so it offers amazing views of Sintra, Lisbon and its surrounding areas.

The brightly coloured castle is open to the public and an entry ticket costs 14 euros. Experience a guided tour inside the castle walls where you will learn about its history and the fascinating stories behind the palace. Pena Palace is open to the public, the tour guides are very informative and there are plenty of rooms to explore.

The palace is also surrounded by scenic gardens and lavish outdoor areas, if you wish to spend time here there is a separate entry ticket fee of 7.50 euros. The gardens are beautiful, especially in spring when all the flowers bloom.

It is worth visiting even if you only have a couple of hours to spare because it is such an interesting place with so much history behind it.

The castle complex is very remote as it is high up on a mountaintop. There is no parking at Pena Palace so you must walk up the steep path. Alternatively, there is a bus stop a few minutes walk away from the entrance. The stop is called Palacio da Pena.

Accommodation near Pena Palace

Palace of Pena in Sintra. Lisbon, Portugal. Famous landmark. Summer morning landscape with blue sky.

São Jorge Castle

A special castle in Lisbon Portugal is São Jorge Castle, which can be dated back to as early as the 1st century. The castle is a huge feature and tourist attraction of the capital city, Lisbon. It offers incredible views of Lisbon’s skyline and Tagus river, which was an important waterway for trade during medieval times.

The castle is in the centre of Lisbon, so it is easy to get to. You can either walk or take a bus from any stop at St Jorge Metro Station. If you are walking from the station, follow the signs for Castle São Jorge and then make your way up the hill. When you reach the top, you will see the castle.

You can visit this National Monument, where the entry ticket is 10 euros. During your visit, enjoy a guided tour of the historic castle rooms, take a stroll around the São Jorge esplanade and you may even catch a glimpse of the peacocks that roam free in the surrounding area.

There are many viewpoints around the medieval castle walls which look out over Lisbon and the blue waters that surround it. The Jorge castle complex is open 7 days a week and is a must-see if you are visiting Lisbon.

Accommodation near São Jorge Castle

Aerial view of Sao Jorge castle or St. George castle at Lisbon city, Portugal.

Tomar Castle

Next on the beautiful castles list is Tomar Castle or Castelo dos Templarios. Located along the banks of the Nabao River, Tomar Castle was built in the 12th century and is surrounded by a beautiful garden.

The castle was once the headquarters for the Knights Templar, who were infamous for their role in protecting pilgrims during medieval times. The Convento de Cristo is built within the walls of the castle. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Portugal’s most beautiful castles!

The castle is located high up on a hill to the west of the city of Tomar. It is a short walk from the main town and there is a car park there if you wish to drive most of the way.

A ticket to gain entry to the medieval castle is 6 euros. The castle is well worth a visit, with beautiful views from the top.

There are plenty of signs to show you the way and maps available at the entrance. The museum inside contains artifacts from the Knights Templar, including their infamous red cross on white background. It also explains what they did during medieval times in protecting pilgrims on their journeys around Europe.

Accommodation near Tomar Castle

Knights of the Templar (Convents of Christ) castle in Tomar Portugal

Almourol Castle

Not too far away from Tomar, you will find Almourol Castle, located on an island on the Tagus River. The medieval castle was another building associated with the Knights Templar that was used as a stronghold. It is one of the best preserved castles in Portugal and is utterly unique.

The castle is small, but its location allows for some amazing views of the surrounding area. The castle is very remote and situated out in the countryside, the nearest towns that are best to stay in are Constância and Moita do Norte.

If you are interested in visiting Almourol Castle, it is best to take a guided tour. This way, you will get more out of your visit and understand what you are seeing. The guides will also be able to answer any questions that you have about Almourol Castle and how it was used in its prime.

You have to get to the castle by boat so it is recommended to go in fairer weather conditions. Almourol Castle is a beautiful site to visit, and therefore it is very popular with tourists and can get quite busy during peak season.

The site is relatively easy to get to but as it is remote you will need transportation such as a car or public transport. There is a train station close to the site at the train stop named Almourol.

Accommodation near Almourol Castle

Geese on the background castle of Almourol, an iconic Knights Templar fortress built on a rocky island in the middle of Tagus river. Almourol, Portugal

Leiria Castle

The Leiria Castle is a medieval castle in Leiria, Portugal. The castle was built by Dom Dinis back in the 14th century and is located on a hill overlooking the Lis River.

The castle is centrally located in the city of Leiria meaning it is in an ideal location to be explored. The castle is quite large and has a lot of history behind it. You can visit the site at a very affordable cost of 2 euros. The views from the castle are also fantastic as you can see over the city and out into the countryside.

The castle is open every day and is a great place to visit while in Leiria. The city of Leiria also has much to offer with many bars, restaurants, shops and other tourist attractions in the area.

You can easily spend a few days exploring the area and enjoying everything it has to offer. The castle is one of the main attractions but there are many more things that you can do in Leiria.

Accommodation near Leiria Castle

The Leiria Castle is a castle in the city Leiria in Portugal

Guimarães Castle

Guimarães Castle was built in the 10th century and is also known as the Castle of Guimarães. It has been named one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal and is a huge part of the history of the area and Portugal itself.

It is situated in the built up town of Guimaraes, where the military fortification was used to help defend the city and its inhabitants.

The structure is very strong and impressive. It is made from stone and has been renovated many times over the years.

The castle has now become a museum that houses many artefacts from the time period it was built in. It is open to visitors every day of the week between 10 am and 6 pm with an entry ticket only being 2 euros.

Accommodation near Guimarães Castle

Castelo de Guimaraes Castle. Most famous castle in Portugal. Birth place of the first Portuguese King and the Portuguese nation. Guimaraes, Portugal.

Belém Tower

The Belém Tower stands on the south bank of the Tagus River in Lisbon. It was built back in the 16th century to guard Lisbon’s maritime approaches and defend the city of Lisbon and the ports surrounding the area. It is one of Portugal’s most iconic landmarks and it features heavily in popular culture as a result.

The tower is also known as the Tower of Saint Vincent and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is definitely worth visiting if you have a spare afternoon in Lisbon as there is so much history here.

Accommodation near Belém Tower

Scenic Belem Tower and wooden bridge miroring with low tides on Tagus River. Torre de Belem is Unesco Heritage and icon of Lisbon and the most visited attraction in Lisbon, Belem District, Portugal.

The Castle of the Moors

The Castle of the Moors is situated on the west coast of Portugal, 26 kilometres away from Lisbon, Portugal. It is built high up on a hilltop overlooking towns such as São Pedro de Penaferrim and São Martinho.

The medieval castle was built in 8th century and was once a strategic stronghold of the Moors. As the castle has been built on a remote hilltop there is a steep walk to get to the top. There is no availability for parking but there is a bus stop partway up the hill near the ticket office if you need it.

The Castle of the Moors is open to the public every day from 9 am until 6:30 pm, and you can expect your visit to last around 60 to 90 minutes.

This gives you enough time to explore the castle grounds to their fullest and take in the history and architecture. The castle is a great place to visit if you are looking for something different from the typical beach holiday.

The site has some stunning views of the surrounding area and offers plenty of walking around to do. This is a great way to get some exercise in during your holiday, as well as take in the history of Portugal’s past.

Accommodation near Castle of the Moors

The Castle of the Moors and the Pena Palace in Sintra, Portugal

Castle of Santa Maria da Feira

The Castle of Santa Maria da Feira is another great place to visit in Portugal. It is a castle that was built in the 9th century and has been renovated many times since then. The castle is located on top of a hill, giving it an impressive vantage point over the surrounding area.

This makes it one of the best places to visit if you want to see some stunning views during your holiday in the northern area of Portugal. It is located 30 minute drive away from the city of Porto and has many other major points of interest nearby.

The castle of Santa Maria da Feira is in a built up area meaning it is very accessible and easy to get to, it is only a short walk from the town of Santa Maria da Feira. The complex consists of a chapel and strong battlements like many other castles in Portugal.

However, the design and layout of this particular medieval castle is different to the traditional ones you will find in the country which makes it one of the country’s most remarkable monuments.

Accommodation near Castle of Santa Maria da Feira

Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal - Bailey and keep of the Santa Maria da Feira Castle.

There are many unique castles in Portugal, with many of them still in use today. Others have been abandoned for centuries and now remain as historical ruins of a bygone era. However, they all have one thing in common, they are all fascinating and full of history!

The castles and palaces in Portugal are a testament to the country’s history and culture. Many of them date back hundreds of years, with most having been built during the medieval period. They have also played an important role in Portuguese history, being used as fortresses for military purposes or residences for royalty.

Today, they have become popular tourist destinations, with thousands of people visiting them every year to marvel at their history and architecture.

Hopefully, this list has inspired you to take a trip to Portugal and visit these beautiful castles. If you do, be sure to bring your camera along so that you can capture the beauty of each one!

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9 of the Coolest Castles in Portugal
9 of the Coolest Castles in Portugal
9 of the Coolest Castles in Portugal


  • Samantha King

    Sam, a seasoned traveler across four continents and 49 countries, is a leading authority in travel planning. Her website, Travelling King, offers tailored itineraries and expert guides for seamless trips. Sam's expertise in luxury travel, fast travel, and destination guides keeps her at the forefront of the travel community.

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