Castles

Castles

Castles and Palaces in Portugal

Castelo de Palmela
Castelo de Palmela
Roman Danylych | BY-SA

Palmela Castle stands at an altitude of 1,200 metres and provides panoramic views of the Serra da Arrabida, the vineyards below and the Tagus and Sado Rivers.  In good weather it is even possible to see Lisbon around 40km to the north.

It is thought that the Romans had a settlement here and then the Moors who later occupied this region built a fortress here around the 8th century.  By the 12th century the Islamic forces had been driven out and from then until 15th century the castle served as an important Portuguese military stronghold.  It was later...

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Fortaleza de São Filipe
Fortaleza de São Filipe
Filipe Rocha | BY-SA

The Fortaleza de São Filipe (Fort of St Philip) dominates the skyline above Setubal.  It can be reached from the town below by an exhilarating 30-minute hike or by road. 

Today the fort is home to an upmarket 16-room Pousada hotel, but because this means the building is open to the public, casual visitors are free to explore the ramparts, grounds and battlements to take in the panoramic views of Setubal, the shimmering Atlantic and the Troia Peninsula. Why not book an evening meal in the hotel's restaurant...

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Castelo de Elvas - Main portico
Main portico
Nmmacedo | BY-SA

The Castle of Elvas (Castelo de Elvas) in Eastern Portugal has an interesting history.  It was never a royal residence, but was a frontier garrison which witnessed battles and sieges over its long history. There was once a Roman garrison here and later the Muslim forces who occupied the region until the 12th century built a fortress on the site of the present day fortifications. They left in 1230 and from then onwards, this strategically important fortress, close to the Spanish border, was fought over heavily during the 12th and 13th centuries and subject to significant...

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Cidadela de Cascais
Cidadela de Cascais

This 15th century citadel, overlooking Cascais marina at the mouth of the Tejo Estuary, has played a crucial role in the history of Portugal, having witnessed fights against pirates as well as battles against Spanish and French forces.

The original fort and tower, Torre de Santo Antonio de Cascais was built on the orders of King John II of Portugal and completed in 1490, as part of a series of defensive positions to protect the city of Lisbon from invasion by sea. But in 1580 the defences proved inadequate to resist invasion by the Duke of Alba, who...

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Fortaleza de Sagres and wind rose
Fortaleza de Sagres

The Fort of Sagres is located on a dramatic, narrow headland that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean to form Portugal's most south-westerly point. It dates back to the 15th Century, a time when the Portuguese coast was often the target of raids from the Barbary pirates who heralded from the nearby North African shores.

The Fortaleza de Sagres was built on the orders of Henry the Navigator (Infante D. Henrique), one of the chief drivers in what became known as the...

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Loulé Castle
Loulé Castle
Sven Grüne / Dreamstime

The castle at Loulé formed what would have been the northwestern corner of the city walls. What remains of the original castle are the gate tower and three further towers along with the walls that connect them. All seem in remarkably good condition, and this is largely due to the extensive restoration work during the 19th century.

Loulé Castle suffered extensive damage during the 1755 great earthquake and was again damaged by a much lesser earthquake in 1969.

Along with many of the Algarve's other castles, Loulé's dates back to...

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Standing guard at the mouth of Peniche's harbour is the sixteenth century Fortaleza de Peniche (Peniche Fortress). Commissioned during the reign of King João III when this little port was of great strategic importance to Portugal and its empire.

The fortress is built in the typical star shaped form and houses the Santa Bárbara Chapel along with the Sentinel Tower - the first fortification built in the Peniche peninsula.

After serving its purpose for the military up until 1897 Peniche Fortress has had a somewhat chequered history, At various times this austere fort, set on the...

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Rising above Moura's old town on a limestone plateaux are the ruins of a once grand castle. The medieval Castelo de Moura was built by King Dom Dinis in the 13th century on the site of an earlier Moorish citadel. There is evidence that the site is even older than this suggesting there was originally an Iron Age hill fort here.

The medieval castle was a mixture of old and new including the remains of the Moorish castle and a new watchtower, the remains of which can be seen today. One of the original Moorish towers remained; the Salúquia tower, named after princess Salúquia, the...

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Serpa Aqueduct

The towering city walls of Serpa must have been a formidable sight when they were built. The walls incorporate battlements, a keep and a fine 11th century aqueduct and pump house

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Silves Castle

Situated overlooking the town below Silves Castle is considered the best preserved of the Moorish castle in Portugal

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