Medieval castles in Portugal

São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop overlooking the historic centre of the Portuguese city of Lisbon and Tagus River. The strongly fortified citadel dates from medieval period of Portuguese history, and is one of the main tourist sites of Lisbon. Although the first fortifications on this hilltop date from the 2nd century BC, archaeological excavations have identified a human presence in t ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Castle of the Moors

The Castle of the Moors is a hilltop medieval castle built by the Moors in the 8th and 9th centuries. It was an important strategic point during the Reconquista, and was taken by Christian forces after the fall of Lisbon in 1147. It is classified as a National Monument, part of the Sintra Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the second half of the 12th century, the chapel constructed within the walls ...
Founded: 8th century | Location: Sintra, Portugal

Braga Castle

Castle of Braga is a historical fortification and defensive line encircling the city of Braga. While, in fact, the only remains of this structure are the various gates and towers along its perimeter, the main keep tower, located in the civil parish of São João do Souto, is the only true remnant of the medieval castle. The oldest walls were built during the Roman age in the 2nd century AD. Although reliable inform ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Braga, Portugal

Guimarães Castle

The Castle of Guimarães was built under the orders of Mumadona Dias in the 10th century to defend the monastery from attacks by Moors and Norsemen. At the end of the 11th century the castle was heavily expanded and remodeled, under the direction of Count Henry, to act as his residence. The castle became the official royal residence from 1139, when Portugal became independent from the Kingdom of León, until circa 1200.  ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Guimarães, Portugal

Monsanto Castle

The Castle of Monsanto site was likely the location of fortified settlement during prehistory. Legend suggests that during the 2nd century a castro was taken and colonized on the hilltop of Mons Sanctus, by Roman Praetor Lucius Aemilius Paullus. The castro was destroyed and progressively settled by settlers from Idanha-a-Velha. Between the 5th and 11th century was occupied by Visigoths and Arabs. The castles of Monsanto ...
Founded: 1171 | Location: Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal

Vila Nova de Cerveira Castle

The Castle of Vila Nova de Cerveira was referred in the early 13th century and it is suggested that the castle was merely a defensive tower. It was enlarged by King Denis of Portugal in the 1320s and the barbican was constructed under the reigns of King Fernando or King D. João I in 14-15th centuries. The construction of the 16th century fortress was resulted from the fear of Spanish threats from across the border durin ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Vila Nova de Cerveira, Portugal

Caminha Castle

With medieval characteristics, Caminha castle was built on military foundations of the 4th and 5th centuries. The defences were reinforced and expanded during the Christian Reconquest. During conflicts with Castile, its settlement and defense were encouraged under the reigns of King Afonso III (1248-1279), King Denis (1279-1325) and John I (1385-1433), due to the strategic value that this lindeira town represented for ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Caminha, Portugal

Lindoso Castle

The Castle of Lindoso is a medieval castle in the civil parish of Lindoso, municipality of Ponte da Barca. Little is known of the early era. It is believed the fortress was started under the 13th century reign of Afonso III of Portugal, entered in strengthening efforts of the defensive system of borders, undertaken by that ruler. During the time of the Restoration of Portuguese independence, the castle and its location ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ponte da Barca, Portugal

Melgaço Castle

As the main defense of the crossing of the Alto Minho river to Galicia, The Castle of Melgaço constitutes the most northern sentry point in Portugal from the twelfth century. The construction of the castle dates back to 1170 by order of the first King of Portugal Afonso Henriques (1112–1185). He granted a Foral charter to the town at the same time, encouraging the development of the town. Afonso III (1248–1279 ...
Founded: 1170 | Location: Melgaço, Portugal

Castro Laboreiro Castle

The Castle of Castro Laboreiro (Castelo de Castro Laboreiro) is located in the civil parish of Castro Laboreiro, in the municipality of Melgaço. It is the ruins of a Romanesque castle with a belt of walls around a central keep with a cistern. In the 9th century, Alfonso III of Asturias, donated the settlement of Castro Laboreiro and the castro to Count Hermenegildo, grandfather of Saint Rudesind, for his defeat of the V ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Melgaço, Portugal

Lanhoso Castle

The Castle of Lanhoso is located in civil parish of Póvoa de Lanhoso. The site on top of the mount had been occupied since the Chalcolithic period. Between the 10th and 11th century, the castle existed as a series of walls and corners. Between 1071 and 1091 Bishop D. Pedro, whose episcopate lasted between 1070 and 1091, supported the reconstruction of the castle's ashlar walls, over the pre-Romanic fortress, that origi ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Póvoa de Lanhoso, Portugal

Monção Castle

The Castle of Monção was built by King Denis of Portugal in 1306 and it was enlarged in 1656. From the original castle, the only remains are two doors, some pieces of the medieval wall, and the Torre de Lapela Towers, which shows off the coast of arms of King Ferdinand I. From the walls, the only remain is the main door, defended by the Keep, with a Gothic style; and the treachery door, with a smaller size. From the 1 ...
Founded: 1306 | Location: Monção, Portugal

Torre de Lapela

The Torre of Lapela is a ruined medieval castle located next to the Minho River in the town of Lapela, in Monção municipality. One tower is all that remains of the Castle of Lapela, which was situated a few kilometers downstream from the Castle of Monção, which defended the ford of the Minho. The historians attribute its foundation to Lourenço Gonçalves de Abreu, lord of Merufe, Sanfins, Lapela, Barbeita, Regalados ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Monção, Portugal

Arnóia Castle

The Castle of Arnóia is a medieval castle in civil parish of Arnóia, municipality of Celorico de Basto, the district of Braga. It was built in the late 11th or early 12th century, probably to defend the local monastery. The abandonment occurred from 1717, when elites left the small village of Basto, moving the seat of the county to the parish of Britelo, where today is located Celorico de Basto.  Today there are four ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Celorico de Basto, Portugal

Faria Castle

The site of Faria castle has been occupied by a long human presence beginning in the 3rd or 2nd millennium BCE. There are vestiges of the late Bronze Age settlement, that continued until the late Roman era. In the Middle Ages, buildings at the top of the hill were adapted as a castle for the Terra de Faria, a period of notable bellicose and symbolic importance in the Entre-Douro-e-Minho, during the early Middle Ages. Fa ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Barcelos, Portugal

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monte d'Accoddi

Monte d"Accoddi is a Neolithic archaeological site in northern Sardinia, located in the territory of Sassari. The site consists of a massive raised stone platform thought to have been an altar. It was constructed by the Ozieri culture or earlier, with the oldest parts dated to around 4,000–3,650 BC.

The site was discovered in 1954 in a field owned by the Segni family. No chambers or entrances to the mound have been found, leading to the presumption it was an altar, a temple or a step pyramid. It may have also served an observational function, as its square plan is coordinated with the cardinal points of the compass.

The initial Ozieri structure was abandoned or destroyed around 3000 BC, with traces of fire found in the archeological evidence. Around 2800 BC the remains of the original structure were completely covered with a layered mixture of earth and stone, and large blocks of limestone were then applied to establish a second platform, truncated by a step pyramid (36 m × 29 m, about 10 m in height), accessible by means of a second ramp, 42 m long, built over the older one. This second temple resembles contemporary Mesopotamian ziggurats, and is attributed to the Abealzu-Filigosa culture.

Archeological excavations from the chalcolithic Abealzu-Filigosa layers indicate the Monte d"Accoddi was used for animal sacrifice, with the remains of sheep, cattle, and swine recovered in near equal proportions. It is among the earliest known sacrificial sites in Western Europe.

The site appears to have been abandoned again around 1800 BC, at the onset of the Nuragic age.

The monument was partially reconstructed during the 1980s. It is open to the public and accessible by the old route of SS131 highway, near the hamlet of Ottava. It is 14,9 km from Sassari and 45 km from Alghero. There is no public transportation to the site. The opening times vary throughout the year.