The Sintra Castle and its impressive wall on top the hill offer a different perspective than all the extravagant palaces of Sintra Portugal. Built in the 10th century, the Castle of the Moors Sintra used to be a military fort, serving as an outpost for the city of Lisbon. Discover it in pictures and video.
Information to plan your visit at the end of the article
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Sintra Castle from the Distance
Its official name is Castle of the Moors or Moorish Castle but it should not be mixed up with the Moorish Castle in Gibraltar, Spain.
Le Castelo dos Mouros Sintra (in Portuguese) is located on top a hill in lush forest. You can see it quite well from everywhere around.
Below is a view from the Pena Palace:
And here is a view from the walk between the Sintra city Center and the National Palace:
Access to the Castle of the Moors Sintra
After paying your entry ticket, you first have a flat 500m path in the forest all the way to the gate in the Curtain wall. It is quite enjoyable and a reprieve from the heat.
On your way, you can stop at the Archeological investigation site where the medieval Islamic quarter and Christian necropolis were located. In the church (Sao Pedro de Canaferrim) is the Historical Interpretation center of the Moorish Castle with a model of the Sintra Castle and a display of the most important pieces found during the digs
And then you finally arrive at the Entrance. This is where your ticket is checked.
History of the Castle of the Moors Sintra
Before we climb the wall up to the towers, let's discover a few Facts about the Castle of the Moors Sintra :
- In 5000BC the slopes of the hill were occupied by neolithic communities
- Built around the 10th century by the Moors people (according to the documents at the castle, but other sources say 9th century...)
- You can see at the Arms square the Green Flag with he word Sintra in arabic characters to remind visitors of the origin of the castle
- After the Conquest of Lisbon, King Alfonso Henriques ended the Muslim Rule
- The castle was fortified during the 14th century by King Ferdinand I but then abandonned
- In 1839, King Ferdinand II initiated the restoration in the romantic style fo the period
- It was included in the Unesco list as part of the Sintra Hills in 1995
Climb to the Royal Tower of the Sintra Castle
From the central Arms Square you can either climb to the right (East) or to the left (West then South).
I started to the left because the Sintra Palace was there.
It is a lot of steps to climb and some are quite high. Difficult if you have knee problem. For those with limited mobility, there is 60 steps ti the first tower where you can sit with a great view of the Pena Palace.
But if you can, you can continue climbing to the Royal Tower for some impressive views. It is called the Royal Tower because King Ferdinand II used to paint there. It has an amazing view of te Palace of Pena (as you can see on the last picture in the sections Views from the Castle of the Moors)
Before getting up, remember that you have to get back down and it can be hard on your knees!
This location, along with many other beautiful places, is included in my eBook: The Road Trip Guide - Portugal.
It is a practical tool to plan your trip with maps, photos, planning tips, GPS coordinates...
Climb to the Sintra Castle Keep
You can also climb to the right towards the Castle Keep. On this side you reach more than just a wall, more of a castle. This is where the civil or church authorities resides.
In the event of an attack, it was the last Stronghold.
It is lower so you have a lot less steps to reach it.
Views from the Castle of the Moors Sintra Portugal
What is really amazing with the Sintra Castle are the views over everything around.
For example you have a fantastic bird eye view of the Sintra National Palace:
But the best views are those of the Pena Palace (discover its crazy colors in the Pena Palace article):
Sintra Castle of the Moors in Video
And below is a short video of a visit to the Sintra Castle of the Moors:
INFO & PLANNING TIPS - Sintra Castle Portugal
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Amazing views, don't you think?
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