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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.