Looking for the best castles in Portugal? If you’re a history buff or a lover of fairy tales, you are going to love these amazing, historic sites. Portugal is a treasure trove of fortresses and fortified structures that date back to medieval times. From grand fortifications perched atop the highest hilltops to charming small-scale castles hidden away in the countryside, Portugal has it all.
Portugal’s prime coastal location has led them to some interesting history. Quite a few different reigns have held power here in Portugal, resulting in a variety of architecture, and a lot of castles.
So just how many castles in Portugal? There is an astounding number of over 250 castles peppered throughout Portugal. If you try really hard you may be able to see all of them on one trip, but just in case you aren’t superhuman, this list of castles in Portugal will help guide your way. If you want even more detail about what to do in Portugal, this page will help you plan your trip!
10 Best Castles in Portugal you must see in 2022
Castelo de São João do Arade
This is one of the most beautiful castles in Portugal, it has prime beachfront access. It is located in Ferragudo between the two beaches of Praia Grande and Praia da Angrinha on the western side of Lagoa. The castle was built in the 17th century to protect the town of Portimão against pirate attacks.
Sadly you cannot enter this castle. It is privately owned, but you are can walk along the beachfront to see it. In the summertime, there are ferries to jump on that go from Ferragudo to Silves if you wanted to visit multiple castles in Portugal on the same day you easily could.
The town of Ferragudo is a great place to spend the day if you are visiting Castelo de São João do Arade. There are many cafes and restaurants to visit. There is also a really pretty lighthouse that is one of the best places in Lagao to watch the sunset.
Castelo de Silves
Next on the list of the best castles to see in Portugal is Castelo de Silves. This stunning medieval castle is over 1000 years old and was originally built by the Arabs who held power over Portugal. Standing guard out front is a bronze sculpture representing King Sancho I, you cannot miss it.
Castelo de Silves is worth the drive from anywhere in Portugal. It sits up on a hill overlooking the entire city. If you are visiting during the winter months the Christmas lights that turn on at night are just magical.
To enter the castle is only a few euros for the whole day. Go inside and walk the walls. Next, take a look at the ancient artifacts that have been found. They have transformed a few rooms into showrooms. There is a cafe serving yummy drinks and traditional Portuguese snacks. You could easily spend a whole day in Silves exploring the town.
Castle of Paderne
This next beauty is the Castle of Paderne. This is one of the many abandoned castles in Portugal that you can see from the highway in the Algarve, which is also full of amazing hikes. From the road, it looks remains of the Castle of Paderne seem small. But once you take the dirt path road through orange trees on the way to the Castle you will be able to see this was once a beautiful piece of history.
Like many of the other castles in Portugal, on the grounds here once stood a castle from the Roman era dating back to the 2nd century. By 1248 the Portuguese reign took over the castle and transformed it into what stands today.
There is no entrance fee to see the castle and if you get lucky you might have this whole place to yourself for a wonderful photo shoot. Next, try standing under the magnificent archway and you will feel the magic that once was at the Castle of Paderne.
Castle of Loule
One of the best castles in Portugal is the Castle of Loule. This is because it is still very much intact and dates back to the 2nd century. It is free to enter Caste Loule and take a walk around the castle walls and view the town. This castle was restored in the 19th century and now is a white-washed color. Plus at the Castle of Loule, many of the original towers are still standing strong today.
From the top of the castle walls, you will see the dome-shaped bright pink-colored village market building, and inside the Castle of Loule, you will find a museum with Roman and medieval artifacts found around the town.
The town of Louie is a traditional market with 70,000 residents that love to party. They hold two huge festivals every year. The first one is in February and the second is in the warmer month of September. The whole town closes down for days on end and they party in the street dressed as princesses, kings, and even demons.
Castle of Castro Marim
One of the best castles in Portugal is the Castle of Castro Marim. Dating back to the 8th century. It was built to please D.Afonso III because it overlooks the Spanish and Roman border. Today you can enjoy the view looking over The Algarve.
This castle has gone through its share of changes. Castro Marim is mostly ruined today but is still worth the visit. This was one of the most important castles in Portugal because it was the first headquarters of the orders of Christ back in 1319. After that, it was transformed to become the first church for the village. In 1504 it was once again changed to hold military barracks, for the famous Knights of Templar.
Today you can visit the Castle of Castro Marim anytime you wish, they over amazing views of the village of Forte de Sao Sebastiao. Come see one of the best castles in Portugal and relive all the amazing history that took place here.
Castle of Alcoutim
If you are looking for the best castles in the Algarve, then the Castle of Alcoutim should be on your list. This is another one of the castles in Portugal that was built in the 12th to 13th centuries. Inside you will find an archaeological museum. There is not much left of the castle today, but the views from the hill are so dreamy that it is certainly worth visiting.
This is one of the most special castles in Portugal because it is located on the west bank of the Guadiana river. The Guadiana river separates Spain from Portugal, so the Castle of Alcoutim had the important job of hosting the signing of the Peace Treaty between the two countries.
There is a fun ferry river ride that you can take while visiting this castle in the Algarve. The address for The Castle of Alcoutim is Largo do Castelo 4, 8970-055 Alcoutim, Portugal.
For one of the best castles to stay in Portugal, try Obidos. Obidos was built in 1148 and then remodeled in 1375 and has always been a place for royalty. There is so much to do in this Portugal castle that you will hardly know where to start.
There are many Airbnb’s, hotels, and hostels located inside the walls of Obidos. You can easily find accommodation for under $100 a night no matter the season, and many allow pets.
Start your day by walking the walls of the castle, they stretch all the way around the city and offer panoramic views of the castle and countryside. Please do this you will have a richer soul after the experience. After that, you can always walk down the cobblestoned paths to take in the lovely medieval vides of the old town.
There are jewelry shops, beautiful outdoor cafes, and many delicious options for food. Make sure to try one of the cherry liquor shots in a chocolate cup, they come in two flavors white and milk chocolate. Almost every store sells them and you can buy some for souvenirs too.
You cannot drive your car inside the city of Obidos, because it is reserved for locals only. But don’t worry the parking lot is free and right across the street. It is an easy walk but try packing light just in case.
You cannot have a list of the best castles in Portugal and not talk about the gorgeous, and colorful Pena Palace. There is plenty of love about this historic and iconic palace. You can book a ticket online before you arrive, or grab one at the ticket counter. Once you are there you will be able to explore the grounds and go inside the castle.
If you can try and make this the first stop of the day, the castle doors open at 9 am and there is usually a line of people already waiting to enter. It is very high up in the sky and can be windy and foggy. You can grab a snack at the restaurant inside and take a load off after walking around the national park. Most people end up spending about 3-4 hours here because there is so much to see. If you could only go to one palace this is for sure the best castle in Portugal to visit.
Castle of Aljezur
One of the best medieval castles in Portugal is in the Algarve. Built at the same time as Castelo de Silves and dates back to the 10th century. This castle held strong and was one of the last ones to be taken by the Christians in the war.
Perched on a hill almost 90 meters high you will be able to see the beautiful views of the Aljezur plain and Monchique highlands on one side and the salt flats and the ocean on the other.
Though mostly ruins today, it is still worth the visit on your castle tour of the Algarve. The address for the Castle of Aljezur is 8670-156 Aljezur, Portugal. Try going early in the morning for the beautiful sunrise views, and you might get lucky and have this place all to yourself.
Castle of Lagos
One of the best castles to visit in Portugal is the Castle of Lagos in Old Town. The walls of the castle protect the entire town and served as its main defense since 1578 when the Romans built the first walls.
The Castle of Lagos is known as The Governor’s Castle and was very badly damaged in the earthquake of 1755. It is still a beautiful site to see. There are two main watch towers attached to the front of the castle walls. With a famous Manueline-style window added in. This window was the favorite place of King Sebastian to sit and watch over his town.
The beautiful coastal town of Lagos is one of the most popular things to do in the Algarve. There are many beaches, restaurants, and a fun nightlife scene. You could easily spend a few days in Lagos and find plenty of things to do.
Paço Episcopal do Porto – Episcopal Palace
The Paço Episcopal do Porto, or Episcopal Palace of Porto is one of the best castles in Porto Portugal. This historical building is located in the heart of Port. It was built back in the 18th century and served as the residence of the bishops of Porto until the early 20th century.
Today, the palace is open to the public and visitors can enjoy a glimpse into the privileged life of the bishops of Porto in the past. The palace boasts impressive Baroque architecture with stunning gardens. Additionally, there is a museum on-site that showcases a collection of beautiful religious art, including paintings, impressive sculptures, and vestments.
There is a small fee for Admission to the Paço Episcopal do Porto. Be sure to ask for a discount if you are traveling with children, students, or seniors. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and it is closed on certain holidays. You can easily explore Porto and Lisbon in a week with this easy itinerary.
Castle of Moors – Sintra
Up next is the Castle of Moors which is the oldest castle in Portugal, although it is hard to confirm. Built back in the 8th century is definitely one of the best contenders for being the oldest. When planning on visiting The Castle Of Moors be prepared for a slight hike, as it can be muddy and a bit of a workout. But, you will be rewarded with wonderful views of Sinta village. The only thing left are walls and a few towers, but it definitely with a visit.
You can easily visit the Castle of Moors and the Pena Palace on the same day. Another amazing thing to do when visiting the castle of Moors is to check out the beaches in Sintra. They will be less crowded than most of the beaches in the Algarve, but equally as beautiful!
Best Castle Hotels in Portugal
One of the best castles to stay in Portugal is Obidos, and staying at the Encosta d´Óbidos is always a good idea. This is a super cute remodeled villa that has three private apartments to book. There is a one, two, and three-bedroom options making it the perfect place for parties of all sizes.
Check rates here: Booking.com
Pousada Castelo Alvito
Pousada Castelo Alvito is one of the best castle hotels in Portugal. Build back in the 15th century the Pousada Castelo de Alvito was once a place for royalty but today you can book a room and stay yourself. There is a restaurant on-site as well as bookings for horseback riding, bicycle rides, country hikes, and shooting available. You could also book the whole place if you are looking for one of the best castles in Portugal for weddings.
Check rates here: Booking.com