With blissful beaches, centuries-old cities and castles, scenic nature and award-winning wines and gastronomy, it's no surprise that Portugal is at the top of many people's travel bucket lists. Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe, so it's to be expected that the country boasts rich history and culture as well as amazing architecture and historic landmarks. Even though the major draw for tourists are Portugal's stunning beaches and dramatic coastline, the country is also home to many awe-inspiring castles.
Step into a storybook in one of Portugal's stunning castles
Portugal is one of the smallest European countries, but that doesn't mean it lacks exciting sights. With more than 100 castles all over the country, it would probably take a few weeks to explore them all. Situated on mountaintops, along rivers, or above medieval towns, the majority of Portuguese castles look like they're straight out of a fairy tale. Each one has a story to tell and is unique in its own way, so you'll see something new every time! It's the perfect country for history buffs and romantic souls.
1. Castle of the Moors
Set amidst the lush forests and perched on a hill, this medieval castle is one of the most recognizable in Portugal. The Castelo dos Mouros is located in Sintra and was built sometime between the 8th and the 9th centuries during the Moorish occupation. Even though the castle is not fully preserved and today you can only see its ruins, the site is still majestic and well worth visiting. The path to reach the castle is not easy, but the reward waiting for you is definitely worth it. The view from the castle is without doubt spectacular and is guaranteed to take your breath away!
2. Belem Tower
This small fort is one of the many iconic symbols of the country's capital, Lisbon. Protected by UNESCO due to its fascinating architecture, Belem Tower was built centuries ago to guard Lisbon from seafaring invaders. Situated at the entrance of the Lisbon's port, it has a very strategic location. The striking tower not only boasts magnificent architecture but it also boasts a very impressive interior. It was also used as a prison in the past, so you can tour the dungeons below the water level. Also, don't miss climbing to the top and enjoying the outstanding view!
3. Almourol Castle
Sitting on top of the Almourol islet in the middle of Tagus river, this medieval castle is often titled as one of the most beautiful in the country, but there's more to it than just its appearance. It's also rich in historical significance. The castle got its look from the Knights Templar, and it represents one of the order's most important strongholds meant to protect the southern border of the kingdom.
4. Guimaraes Castle
One of the must-see sites in Northern Portugal is without doubt the Castle of Guimaraes. With seven majestic towers, this medieval hilltop castle bursts with striking beauty. According to local belief, the first king of Portugal was born here so the city is sometimes referred as the cradle of Portugal. The castle dates back to the 10th century when it was built to protect the city from foreign attacks.