10 Most Beautiful Castles in Portugal

Updated On October 5, 2023
Castelo de Sao Jorge

Take a journey to Portugal to see some of the most beautiful castles in history.

The Moors have used fortifications, including castles and fort gates, for centuries as a matter of protection.

Thankfully, the majority of castles are no longer stocked with knights and their bows and arrows.

Today you can walk among the preserved ruins of many castles, as well as take professionally guided tours of managed properties.

See which castles are the most beautiful in Portugal on this journey, along with the castles and forts that have been built in this country since the Middle Ages.

10 Most Beautiful Castles in Portugal

Castle of the Moors

The Castle of the Moors is a Moorish Castle nestled deep in the Sintra Hills of Portugal.

Dating all the way back to the 10th century, this is one of the oldest castles in Western and Eastern Europe.

In Spanish, the complex is called Castelo dos Mouros.

As the most famous of all Portuguese castles, the Castle of the Moors actually looks more like the Great Wall of China.

This is thanks to the fortified granite block walls that line the hills around the castle grounds.

While not quite the cradle of all Portuguese culture, the Castle of the Moors is by far the most well-known among Portugal castle enthusiasts.

Santa Marta de Portuzelo Castle

If you are interested in an AirB&B property in Portugal, consider a stay at Santa Marta de Portuzelo Castle.

This castle is open to the general public and is one of the trendiest places to stay in Portugal.

It is located in Viana do Castelo, about half an hour away from Porto, Portugal, and the Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport.

The castle itself is constructed in the Manueline style of architecture and has a rock-walled inground pool.

In Spanish, this castle is called Santa Maria e Sao Miguel, Sao Martinho e Sao Pedro de Penaferrim.

What a name!

Castle House

Fittingly named Castle House, this castle is situated on Sao Jorge Island in Lisboa, Portugal.

You can also rent this property when you are visiting Portugal’s relaxing countryside.

Savor the salt cod and sardines grilled freshly while enjoying this glorious retreat.

Whether you are royalty or not, this could be your home away from home while in the European country of Portugal.

Note that this is actually just an apartment called Castle House and you will not be in an actual castle.

However, you will have a perfect view of the castle that we are going to cover next, which is really on the island.

Castelo de Sao Jorge

On the island of Sao Jorge, which is located on the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal, you will find one of the most beautiful castles in the entire country.

As noted, locals rent out castle-sounding dwellings just to be able to see this castle.

The Sao Jorge Castle or Castelo Sao Jorge, also called Castelo de S. Jorge, is quite an experience.

You can dress like a real knight and learn how to joist, practicing beneath banners that are befitting of royalty.

The castle also has guided tours and a very fancy museum.

Among the most beautiful castles in Portugal, the Sao Jorge Castle is certainly at the top of the list.

Almourol Castle

Located on the Tagus River, the Almourol Castle is a short drive away from Lisbon, Portugal.

This is one of the most picturesque of all castles in the countryside.

Perched on the top of a shallow hill, the castle is spread out in medieval architecture with turrets, towers, and crenelated tops.

The castle dates back to before the Teutonic Order came storming through, and in fact, they were responsible for reconstructing Almourol Castle in the 12th century.

Since then, the castle and fortified walls around the complex remain in pristine condition and are well preserved.

The Small Castle of Sao Joao

At the Small Castle of Sao Joao in Estoril, Portugal, you can take a tour of a castle right there on the seaside.

Also called, in Portuguese, the Castelinho de Sao Joao do Estoril, the castle is well preserved in a medieval style of architecture.

The castle features signature towers that are made from granite stone to resemble a towering structure from the Middle Ages.

And, no, in case you are wondering, the castle is not truly small.

Actual people can and do live there.

In addition, the castle has been placed on the housing market quite a few times.

It turns out there could be a ghost present at the property, and that might prevent the owners from establishing the residence. 

Quinta da Juncos

At Quinta da Juncos, you can see some of the most elaborately designed walls of any castle in Europe.

The castle is near the city of Porto, Portugal, and features a Neo-Gothic style of architecture.

The Baron of Lages was the original owner of the estate, and he may not have been so kind.

If the rumors are true, he actually murdered his wife and his children and committed suicide in the castle.

By the looks of it, you might believe this is actually the residence of the Addams Family from television and movies.

It may be one of the most beautiful castles in Portugal, but Quinta da Juncos is certainly spooky to look at.

Castle of Esporao

The Castle of Esporao is a structure built in the Gothic architectural style in the 15th century.

The castle is located in the Reguengos de Monsaraz parish and district of Evora.

The imposing tower of the castle is magnanimous and has squared corners, which differs from the round towers of most Middle Ages castles.

While the castle has been temporarily closed to the public for touring, the Castle of Esporao is in good condition.

Staircases wind around the exterior walls leading up into the tower.

However, other than the tower structure, the Castle of Esporao is not as expansive as most castle complexes.

This is a decent castle if you are interested in more of the smaller castles of Portugal.

National Palace of Pena

The Park and National Palace of Pena is one of the most colorful castles in all of Portugal.

Instead of gray granite or white marble, this castle features strikingly strong yellow walls.

The entire structure has this yellow exterior coupled with yellow or silver round domes or turrets.

There is one area of the National Palace of Pena that is a traditional brick red.

This part of the castle building contrasts well with the rest of the compound. 

Around the National Palace of Pena spreads a sprawling greenspace that is a wonderful park of Portugal.

As for the architectural style, the castle is built in the Romanticist style. Small carvings and statues, such as Poisoden, and pointed turrets spike up from the rooftops.

When on a tour of the castle, you can visit the Chambers of King Carlos, which are renovated and remodeled to look as they did in the 19th century.

The castle construction was completed in the mid-1800s.

Castle of Guimaraes

The Castle of Guimaraes is a medieval castle structure sitting in the city of Guimaraes, Portugal.

This structure is one of the more traditional examples of castles from the Middle Ages.

As far as a medieval fortress, the castle walls protected the Moors in the 10th century.

This makes the Castle of Guimaraes one of the oldest castles in the country, too.

The castle was started on the foundation of a Roman building and the completed style was in Gothic and Romanesque architectural models. 

Also referred to as the Cradle of Portugal, the Castle of Guimaraes holds a wealth of history and heritage for the country at large.

However, the castle became a preserved ruin as of 1653, and in the 1800s locals wanted the castle to be abandoned and demolished.

It took a century of holding out for the castle to be renovated with granite, wood, and tile.

Today the Gothic castle even has electricity.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many castles are there in Portugal?

In Portugal, since the Middle Ages, there have been castles and fortifications.

While not all of these structures remain standing today, there are at least 150 castles and forts throughout Portugal.

What is the oldest castle in Portugal?

Built-in the Moorish architectural style, the Castle of Silves is the oldest castle in Portugal, dating back to the year c. 201 BCE.

However, most of the castles are equally as old and were constructed in the Middle Ages.

For example, built during the 8th and 9th centuries, the Castle of the Moors is considered one of the oldest preserved fortresses in Portugal.

It sits high up in the Serra de Sintra hills, which means you can walk along its walls to discover ancient battlements and UNESCO-listed landmarks.

Discover the birthplace of Portuguese history and culture with a tour of the Castle of the Moors the next time you are roaming around in Portugal.

Can the general public rent or own a castle in Portugal?

Yes, many of the castles in Portugal are open to renters.

In fact, Bloomberg reports that the most beautiful castles in Portugal to rent are Santa Marta de Portuzelo Castle and Castle House.

Some of the locations in Portugal that say they are castles are actually castles.

Others are simply positioned near castles and offer a castle view.

Are castles in Portugal haunted?

Sure they are!

Some of the castles are the oldest stone structures in all of Europe, which means that there are going to be some lingering spirits.

If you are interested in going to a haunted castle in Portugal, check out Almourol Castle.

This is a castle that is one of the medieval styles of architecture.

It is also a castle that contains at least one ghost that haunts the halls.

The ghost belongs to a princess who was heartbroken.

What is the biggest castle in Portugal called?

Castelo de Silves in the city of Silves, Portugal, is the largest castle in the country.

It is also the least identifiable as the majority of the castle foundation was exhumed by archeologists.

Therefore, we cannot be for sure exactly how large Castle Silves was originally, but it remains the biggest castle in Portugal.

1 Comment on 10 Most Beautiful Castles in Portugal

  1. Portugal has some truly stunning castles!

    From the historic Castle of the Moors to the picturesque Almourol Castle, this country is full of beauty and rich history.

    Definitely adding these to my travel bucket list!

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