Castles to visit in Portugal
The castles in Portugal are top tourists sites. They represent the history of the country and are home to many of the most significant pieces of Portugal’s past. Castles in Portugal are also representations of varied architecture and a real treat for those interested in beauty and refinement. There are castles to be found all over the countryside. Most of them are resting on hilltops that overlook the cities and towns below. This served a purpose back the ancient times when castles were main points of protection for the people living in each area. Now these locals give you a chance to not only take in the castles, but to get some amazing views of the countryside below.
Significance of Castles
Castles were main protection points for the country. They are found mainly along the borders and helped to keep Portugal separate from the areas that united to form what is now Spain. Without the castles it is likely that Portugal would just be another Spain destination and not its own thriving, independent country.
One of the reasons why so many castles still exist, many still in fine form, is because they were built to withstand almost anything. Even the earthquake in the 1700s that destroyed large areas within the country, was unable to topple most of the castles in its path. Even those that were destroyed in the earthquake have been restored, so that even they are still able to tell their tales of history. Time has left its mark and the castles are not in perfect condition, but most are still standing tall with main structures still in good form. Being able to see these original structures really is a treat for those interested in both history and ancient architecture.
Castelo de Sao Jorge
Lisbon is home to one of the greatest castles in the country. Castelo de Sao Jorge or St George’s Castle, is located on a hilltop above Lisbon and is one of the top attractions in the country and the most treasured castle in this area of the world. This castle offers amazing view of the city from the Ulysses Tower. When in the city, the castle can easily be seen looming on the hilltop and creates an amazing view itself.
This castle dates back to the Romans in the 6th century. It was also home to the Visigoths and the Moors. In fact, it was once home to the moor King, Afonso Henriques. Henriques is the one who gave it the name in honor of St George, the patron saint of England. At the entrance to the castle there is a commemorative statue of the king and a row of cannons, that pay tribute to the castle’s history as a battle station.
Inside the castle walls you will find a modern restaurant and an exciting multimedia exhibit that takes you underground and lets you experience the great 1755 earthquake through a simulation. The exhibit also takes you on a tour of the complete history of the castle and the people who once inhabited it.
Castelo dos Moros
One of the castle in Portugal that did not survive well throughout the years is Castelo dos Moros. Despite its dilapidated state, this castle is still impressive and leaves much to be seen. You will find this castle near Sintra.
Porto de Mos
Located in Porto, this site was greatly damaged through time, but it has been rebuilt and restored. While much of it is not original, it is still an amazing site that showcases the history and impact of the Moors. It also is a wonderful place to look out over the Sierras de Aire e Candeeiros valley.
There are far too many castles in Portugal to mention. The best way to explore each one is to look for them as you travel the country. You will see them looming above cities, perched on hilltops. They are hard to miss. Most castles are open to the public for a small fee or free of charge. So, explore the country and take in the magnificent castles of Portugal along your way. You will be amazed, take in breath taking views and explore the history of the country.