Best Castles in Portugal

The magnificent country of Portugal has a rich and fascinating past; it offers a unique mix of cultures and architectural styles, which makes it the perfect location for visitors with an interest in history, amazing food and drink, as well as castles; Portugal is full to the brim of wonderful castles, ranging from the Moorish style, Renaissance marvels, all the way to contemporary renovations that merge the past and the present in a seamless fashion.

This list will present the best castles in Portugal, their key highlights, as well as practical information, such as location and opening times; we guarantee that after reading this article, you will be considering booking a trip to Portugal!

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41 Portuguese Castles you Need to Visit

1. Castle of Abrantes

Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Abrantes

Overlooking the beautiful city of Abrantes, the Castle of Abrantes, or as it is known locally, Fortaleza de Abrantes, was part of a series of castles known as the Linha do Tejo, which was constructed in the middle ages.

Both the castle and the surrounding area have a long and extensive history, ranging from Roman invasion in 130 BC to Moorish settlement in 716, all the way to becoming a military presidio in the 19th century.

Today, visitors flock to the castle in order to uncover its rich and exciting history; it is also fascinating to look at, as it captures an essence of Medieval charm.

Where: Abrantes
When: No exact date is known, but the castle visible today is from the 15th century.
Open for visit: Yes

2. Castle of Algoso

Best castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Algoso

The Castle of Algoso is a visually striking Medieval fortress, situated on the top of a rocky, jarring hill, which gives it an aura of mystery and intrigue.

It is one of the most important fortifications in the eastern Tras-os-montes, as it has always been a centre for Portuguese political, monarchical, and social power.

Despite little remaining of the original construction, the castle is very much assumed to have been built upon Romanesque principles, which mean that it must have had a keep tower and walled fortifications for protection and defence.

Today, visitors are amazed by the idyllic presence of the castle, and its gorgeous, surrounding areas.

Where: Algoso
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

3. Castle of Aljezur

Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Aljezur

This astonishing Medieval castle is located in the parish of Aljezur, and is situated near the Aljezur river; in recent years, it has been discovered that the location of the current castle has evidence of occupation dating way back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, before being built into the structured castle during the 12th and 13th.

The Medieval castle was part of the Moorish defensive line of Silves and has a rich history of military action; today, the castle is largely ruins, but it is nonetheless a perfect place to wander around and take in some local history.

Where: Aljezur
When: 12th century
Open for visit: Yes

4. Castle of Almourol

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Almourol

Picturesquely perched upon a rocky island in the centre of the Tagus River, the Castle of Almourol is one of Portugal’s most stunning and popular castles.

The origins of the castle are not entirely clear, but it is often thought to be built in the year 1129, before being rebuilt again in 1171 by the Knights Templar, whereby it became a centre for military action.

The castle was abandoned for centuries, before being renovated during the 19th century, when a resurgence took over for the revival of Medieval charm and romance.

Where: Tagus River
When: 12th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

5. Castle of Braga

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Braga

This historic castle, which encircles the Portuguese city of Braga, today only exists in ruins and old, abandoned remnants of the dominant fortification that it used to be in the middle ages.

The history of the site dates back way back to the 2nd Century, whereby the Greek astronomer, Ptolemy, wrote that the original land had been ruled by the Roman Empire.

The Medieval castle began life in the 11th century, although little is known about any exact dates and owners etc. Today, visitors enjoy viewing the remains of the ancient city walls, and the Medieval charm of the remaining towers.

Where: Braga
When: 11th century
Open for visit: Yes

6. Castle of Braganca

Situated in the city centre of Santa Maria, in the Braganca district of Portugal, is the Castle of Braganca, which has a long, rich history of military actions and religious importance, and remains today as one of the most well-preserved castles in the whole of Portugal.

Construction began in the 13th century, and was inaugurated by King Sancho II; today, in more recent times, the castle was classified as a National Monument by Decree in 1910, before being renovated into a historic military museum in 1936, which still exists today.

Where: Santa Maria
When: 11th century
Open for visit: Yes

7. Castle of Campo Maior

Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Campo-Maior

This astonishing Medieval fortification situated in the civil parish of Sao Joao Baptista has been listed as a national monument since 1911.

Its history is vast and extensive, and dates way back to the occupation of Celtic tribes, Romans and Muslin settlers, before eventually being conquered by the Portuguese between 1295 and 1296.

Today, visitors can still recognise original Medieval features, such as in its archways and walls, which gives it a fascinating, and enticing charm.

Where: Sao Joao Baptista
When: 11th century
Open for visit: Yes

8. Castle of Castelo Melhor

Unlike many of the other castles on this list, Castelo Melhor is truly unique; it is built in an unusual way, as it traces a hilltop in a zig-zag format, which gives it a truly enticing feel, and attracts visitors from across Europe.

The castle is incredibly rural, and towers an enormous 450 meters above sea-level, giving it a very dominating façade.

Aside from the castle itself offering a fascinating history, rich with military heritage, many visitors are attracted to the wonderful scenery and views available from the top of the castle.

Where: Civil parish of Castelo Melhor, Portugal
When: 11th century
Open for visit: Yes

9. Castle of Castro Marim

Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Castro-Marim

Built in the 13th century by the will of D. Alfonso III, the castle of Castro Marim was constructed as a means of spying on the nearby Spanish border.

In 1319, the castle became the first headquarters of the Order of the Christ, thus demonstrating both the historic religious and military significance of the castle throughout time.

The majority of the ruins that can be seen today date back to the 17th century, and much of the old Medieval castle is long gone; however, visitors are still charmed by its enchanting history and cultural importance.

Where: Castro Marim
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

10. Castle of Lindoso

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Lindoso

Locally known as Castelo de Lindoso, this castle was built at the beginning of the 13th century, and primarily served a military and defensive purpose during the conflict with the Kingdom of Castilla.

This military role extended into the 17th century where the castle took on an incredibly important role in the frontier with Spain.

Today, many of the castle’s original walls still exist, and the interior of the castle has been converted into a museum, which features a vast collection of weapons from the 14th to the 19th century

Where: Ponte da Barca
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

11. Castle of Loule

Best Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Loule

Situated in the scenic region of the Algarve in the south of Portugal lies the Castle of Loule; it was built after the town of Loule was assumed by D. Paio Peres Correia during the Reconquest in the year 1249, yet the city walls date back to the year 1280, during the Almoravid period.

However, the castle was heavily impacted during a large earthquake in 1755, whereby many parts of it were destroyed and were not restored until the 20th Despite there being little left of this castle, it is still fascinating to explore.

Where: Loule, Portugal
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

12. Castle of Mertola

Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Mertola

Situated in the peaceful village of Mertola in the Alentejo province of Portugal, the Castle of Mertola is built on the highest part of a sharp, and dramatic outcrop, giving it dramatic and domineering presence.

Its history dates back to 7th century, where the Moors built the first castle on Roman foundations; however, there is little known information of the role of the castle during the Medieval period, aside from the fact that in 1238, it was taken from the Moors by King Sancho II, and ultimately changed its style and appearance.

Where: Mertola
When: 7th century
Open for visit: Yes

13. Castle of Penedono

Best castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Penedono

Also known as Castelo do Magrico, the Castle of Penedono is located on the top of a rocky crest, at a massive 947 meters high, providing it with a sense of grandeur and Medieval charm.

Since the 14th century, the castle has been central to Portuguese nobility, famously housing the Coutinho family during the Portuguese dynamic crisis of 1383-1385.

Though little is known of the castle’s early history, it is known that it was first documented in the 10th century, and that its current building dates back to the 16th

Where: Penedono
When: 10th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

14. Fernandina Wall

Portugal Castles-Fernandina-Wall

This line of walls originated from a Medieval Castle located in Porto, one of Portugal’s most famous and beautiful cities.

What makes this set of walls so unique and charming, is that contemporary and historic buildings have merged with the walls, which provides a true feeling of interconnectedness and unity.

There are also a series of towers, which still feature many original structures and designs; today, many visitors enjoy strolling parallel to the walls, to see where they take them!

Where: Porto
When: 14th century
Open for visit: Always accessible

15. Montalegre Castle

Famous Castles in Portugal-Montalegre-Castle

Nestled proudly upon a hill over the sleepy village of Montalegre is the domineering castle of Montalegre, which dates back to the 13th century, and still, to this day, exudes a Medieval charm and intrigue.

In 1910, the castle was classified as a Portuguese National Monument, and it features a Special Protection Zone. Since 1990, a museum has existed inside the castle, which attracts many visitors both from Portugal itself and further afield.

Where: Montalegre
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

16. Sabugal Castle

Best Portugal Castles-Sabugal-Castle

Hailed as one of Portugal’s most best-preserved castles, Sabugal Castle rises proudly at the top of a hill, surrounded by the beautiful River Coa.

The castle was built in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and is built in the traditional Medieval fortress style; the castle is built on incredibly important grounds, which have been fought over for centuries by groups such as the Moors, Christians and the Jews, until it was given to Portugal in 1297 by the Alcanicies Treaty.

Today, visitors are charmed by the castle’s wonderful grounds and spectacular views.

Where: Sabugal
When: 13-14th centuries
Open for visit: Yes

17. Belem Tower

Castles in Portugal-Belem-Tower

Belem Tower, or otherwise locally known as Torre de Belem, was built on the bank of the river Tagus between 1514 and 1520 and was part of the Tagus estuary defence system.

When visiting Lisbon, Belem Tower is one of the highlights for many tourists, as it has such a wonderful Gothic charm and unique elegance to it. It is a prime cultural symbol for Portugal and was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

Where: Lisbon
When: Between 1514 and 1520
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

18. Castelo de Palmela

Best castles in Portugal-Best castles in Portugal

Nestled upon the eastern edge of the Serra de Arrabida hills nearby the town of Palmela, the Castelo de Palmela offers visitors utterly astonishing views of the surrounding area, and from such a great height.

The castle played a significant role in the Christian conquest of the Moors in the 12th century, yet, has been very quiet since then.

This castle is located roughly 42km outside of Lisbon, which makes it the perfect place for a day trip, and to experience a more rural side of Portugal.

Where: Palmela
When: 12th century
Open for visit: Yes

19. Castelo de Santiago do Cacem

Portugal Castles-Castelo-de-Santiago-do-Cacem

This castle, which is built on important land dating back to the occupation of Celtic tribes and Romans, has a rich and fascinating history, making it a true symbol of Portuguese pride and heritage.

The Medieval castle was built by the Moors during the Reconquista period, and the castle was taken for the first time in 1157.

Over the years, the castle has witnessed a variety of changes both structurally and physically, and many original Romanesque and Gothic features are still visible to this day, making it a fascinating mix of architectural styles.

Where: Santiago do Cacem
When: Pre-historic roots
Open for visit: Yes

20. Castelo de Porto de Mos

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castelo-de-Porto-de-Mos

This fascinating and unique castle is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the entirety of Portugal. It was built during the 15th century and has a large variety of stylistic features, ranging from Gothic to Renaissance, as well as being built on the grounds of an ancient Roman look outpost.

Like many castles in Portugal, Castelo de Porto de Mos was won by Portugal from the Moors during the Portuguese Reconquest, and thus remains a symbol of contemporary Portuguese heritage.

Where: Leiria, Portugal
When: 15th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

21. Castle of Beja

Best Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Beja

This wonderful Medieval castle, which was built at the end of the 13th century upon the request of King D. Dinis, is also constructed upon ancient Roman foundations, which gives it a rich and varied history.

The castle of Beja is perched upon a hilltop, which gives it spectacular views and a domineering presence.

There are any incredible features, such as the inner walls of the courtyard, which are largely still original, as well as the Governor’s residence.

Where: Beja
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

22. Castle of Belver

The Castle of Belver, or locally known as Castelo de Belver, began construction in the year 1194, and was not completed until 1212; it holds the status of being the first castle to be built by the Hospitalers in Portugal during the Medieval period.

Even today, there still remains a large amount of original Romanesque military motifs that have existed since the 16th century, as well as the beautiful Sao Bras chapel, which is simply exquisite, and unmissable.

Where: Belver
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

23. Castle of Dona Chica

Best castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Dona-Chica

The Castle of Dona Chica is a Neo-Romantic castle in the civil parish of Palmeira; it was originally designed by Ernesto Korrodi in 1915 and features some incredibly intricate and marvellous designs.

The castle is designed to look as though it is older than it is, and it captures the resurgence of Medieval and Gothic charm that flooded the early 20th Today, visitors are captivated by the castle’s mysterious and enchanting presence.

Where: Palmeira
When: 191
Open for visit: Yes, the exterior.

24. Castle of Elvas

Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Elvas

The Castle of Elvas is a medieval military fortification in the civil parish of Alcacova and is part of the first line of defence.

The castle has a rich and varied history, ranging from the occupation of Muslims between the 8th and 12th centuries, before being captured by the Moors, and eventually being taken by Portugal.

The castle is full of unique and exciting features, such as ceiling cross beams, arrowslit windows and underground passageways, making it the perfect place to explore.

Where: Elvas
When: 8th century
Open for visit: Yes

25. Castle of Evoramonte

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Evoramonte

The Castle of Evoramonte began life in the year 1160 and was built in the Gothic architectural style, before being converted into the Manueline style in later centuries.

Throughout history, the castle has played a pivotal military role, for example, on the 26th of May, 1834, on the Castle’s grounds, the Concession of Evoramonte was signed, which ended the liberal wars between the liberal forces of Queen Maria II of Portugal and the Absolutist armies of Miguel of Portugal.

Where: Evoramonte
When: 1160
Open for visit: Yes

26. Castle of Marvao

Best Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Marvao

Perhaps one of Portugal’s most gorgeous castles, the Castle of Marvao was built during the end of the 13th century by the decree of King Dinis and offers absolutely spectacular and unbeatable views of the surrounding landscape.

The Castle has a rich history of settlers, ranging from the Swabians, Visigoths and the Umayyad Arabs during the Medieval period; the Medieval castle that we see today dates back to the year 1299, and many original features are still safely intact.

Where: Alentejo
When: 1299
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

27. Castle of Montemor-o-Velho

Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Montemor-o-Velho

With its domineering presence of the valley which houses the beautiful Mondego River, the Castle of Montemor-o-Velho is a bold castle and is built in the Medieval style.

The foundations in which the Medieval castle is built have been occupied since the Roman times, as well as when the Arabs first settled on it during the 8th century; it has played a pivotal role in the fighting between Muslims and Christians.

Today, visitors are drawn to the castle’s rich history, impressive surroundings and beautiful charm.

Where: Montemor-o-Velho
When: 8th century
Open for visit: Yes

28. Castle of Mourao

Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Mourao

Situated in the Medieval town of Mourao, the Castle of Mourao is more a series of ruins today, rather than a solid castle; there is no confirmation as to when the castle was built, but there is documentation to suggest that it was built at the beginning of 1343, during the reign of D. Afonso IV, yet, some believe that it may have been built earlier, perhaps in the year 1226, during the reign of D. Sancho II.

Today, the castle and its grounds offer a rich insight into life during the middle ages.

Where: Mourao
When: 13th or 14th century
Open for visit: Yes

29. Castle of Obidos

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Obidos

Situated just a stone’s throw away from the bustling city of Lisbon, the walled town of Obidos makes for the perfect day trip; located in this town is a Medieval castle, the Castle of Obidos, which has been a guard for the region for well over 800 years.

Since 1214, the castle has traditionally been given to the queen of Portugal on her wedding day, which gives the castle a regal prominence and importance.

The castle is filled with beautiful features, such as mosaics, archways and turrets, and makes for the perfect place to stroll around on a sunny afternoon.

Where: Obidos
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

30. Castle of Pombal

Best Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Pombal

Perched upon a dominant hill in Portugal’s Leiria district, the Castle of Pombal is part of the Defensive Line of the Mondego and was classified as a National Monument in the year 1910.

The castle was originally erected by Gualdim Pais, Master of the Knights of Templar in the year 1156, and was built in the Medieval fortress style. There are many original features of the castle still in place, such as the coat-of-arms of the Sousa Ribeiro family.

Where: Leiria, Portugal
When: 1156
Open for visit: Yes

31. Castle of Portel

Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Portel

Built in the 13th century during the reign of King Denis, the Castle of Portel still stands tall and proud today, and dominates the skyline of the beautiful town of Portel, in the Evora region of Portugal.

The castle was re-modelled several times throughout its history, most notably in the 15th century, and then in the 16th century, where a barbican was added.

After the 19th century, this castle was largely abandoned, and today, visitors enjoy wandering around the ruins and imagining it in its prime.

Where: Portel, Portugal
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

32. Castle of Santa Maria da Feira

Best castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Santa-Maria-da-Feira-

Built in the traditional, Medieval military architectural that was prominent in the 9th century Portugal, the Castle of Santa Maria da Feira has been listed as a National Monument since the year 1910.

The foundations of the castle are built upon the origins of an indigenous temple that was dedicated to the local divinity Bandeve-Lugo Toiraceco, before being transformed into a Marian temple.

Today, visitors are charmed by the castle’s beautiful exterior and its long, rich heritage.

Where: Santa Maria da Feira
When: 9th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

33. Castle of Santo Estevao

Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Santo-Estevao

Situated just a mere stone’s throw away from the river Tamgea, which borders with Spain, the Castle of Santo Estevao is one of Portugal’s most fascinating.

It was reconquered from the Muslims by Rui and Garcia Lopes in 1160, who were both brothers and Knights during the reign of the first Portuguese king, Afonso I.

The castle today is photogenic, idyllic, and captures a true sense of Medieval charm and fascination.

Where: Santo Estevao
When: 1160
Open for visit: Yes

34. Castle of Silves

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Silves

Located in the scenic region of the Algarve in the south of Portugal lies a series of beautiful and astonishing castles, including the wonderful Castle of Silves, a magnificent Medieval fortification that was built during either the Roman or Visigoth period.

However, despite being built during this time, it was not until the occupation of the Moors that the castle really became what it is today; today, the Castle of Silves is one of the best-preserved in the country, and visitors love to roam along its walls and imagine its past.

Where: The Algarve
When: 8th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

35. Castle of the Moors

Best Portugal Castles-Castle-of-the-Moors

This magnificent ruinous castle, situated in the forests of the Serra De Sintra, was first established in the 9th century by the North African Moors, before falling into disrepair after the Christians conquered Portugal.

In the 19th century, the castle was restored by King Ferdinand II in line with Romantic notions of a Medieval past; many people today visit Sintra for the day when staying in Lisbon, as it is just a short train ride, but feels a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Where: Sintra
When: Renovated in the 19th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

36. Castle of Tomar

Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Tomar

The Castle of Tomar is part of a series of castles, under the complex of the Convent of Christ, which is a large, expansive historical and cultural monument in Portugal, that has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983.

It was originally founded by the Templar Knights in 1118 and has had a long history of military action. It is also unique architecturally, as it features a range of different styles, such as Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance.

Where: Tomar
When: 1118
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information

37. Castle of Valongo

Famous Castles in Portugal-Castle-of-Valongo

With its first reference in the year 1238, the Castle of Valongo is located in the town of Nossa Senhora de Machede in the Evora region of Portugal.

Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, several major restorative works were completed on the castle, such as the roof, staircases and windows; in the 19th century, it was obtained from the Marquesses of Valada by its current owners, who continue to renovate the castle.

Where: Nossa Senhora de Machede, Portugal
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes

38. Guimaraes Castle

Best Portugal Castles-Guimaraes-Castle

Guimaraes Castle, which is architecturally exquisite, is located on a hill in the historic centre of the town of Guimaraes in Portugal; it has seven domineering towers and was built in the 11th century with the purpose of defending the monastery and the region.

It is free to visit the surrounding walls, which is the perfect activity to do on a lazy sunny afternoon, but it is equally amazing to climb the stairs to the Medieval tower of the Countess Mumadona.

Where: Guimaraes
When: 11th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

39. Pena Palace

Castles in Portugal-Pena-Palace

The Palacio Nacional da Pena is one of Portugal’s most famous and easily recognisable attractions and symbolises the pinnacle of nineteenth-century Romanticism, and the desire to renovate abandoned castles in an idealised manner, that captures the charm of the Medieval past.

It is an overwhelming range of colours, textures and designs, that though contrasting, work seamlessly together and entice so many tourists a year. When visiting the castle, expect to see wonderful views of the surrounding luscious landscape as well.

Where: Sintra
When: 19th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

40. Sao Jorge Castle

Best castles in Portugal-Sao-Jorge-Castle

Towering powerfully above the comparatively small city of Lisbon lies the Castelo de Sao Jorge Castle, which is one of the city’s finest attractions.

It is one of the city’s oldest attractions as well, having seen the fall of the Romans to the Visigoths, as well as the violent battles between the Arabs and Christians, as well as seeing the birth of Portugal as a nation in and of itself. Many visitors go to the castle for the spectacular views that it offers.

Where: Lisbon
When: 8th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

41. Castle of Leiria

Portugal Castles-Castle-of-Leiria

Situated in the Portuguese city of Leiria lies the Castle of Leiria, which towers above the city below, and is built in a traditional Medieval style. It was conquered by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, in the year 1135; he decreed that a small chapel must be built to honour Our Lady of Mercy.

Over the centuries, the castle has had a variety of different roles and functions, as well as a series of renovations, and visitors are captivated by its heritage.

Where: Leiria
When: 12th century
Open for visit: Closed for repair until April 2021. Check here for updates.

As this list has demonstrated, Portugal is a country rich with history and culture and offers so many castles, each with their own unique story to tell and heritage to uncover.

It makes for the perfect European location for people with a variety of interests, whether you prefer history and culture, or just looking out at some amazing scenery, Portugal has you covered!