"The Moorish Castle" Castelo dos Mouros - Moorish Castle Tip by slothtraveller
Castelo dos Mouros - Moorish Castle, Sintra: 43 reviews and 86 photos
High up above Sintra perched on a rocky crag, you will find the ruins of a Moorish castle dating back to the 8th century. From the walls of the castle, known as Castelo dos Mouros in Portuguese, you can enjoy great views over Sintra and the surrounding area. You can even see the coast and the town of Cascais in the distance. One thing I noticed was how much cooler it was up on the castle walls compared to down in old Sintra. This is due to the castle being 1,378 feet above sea level.
Built during the Arab occupation, the castle has endured a tumultuous history. It was ceded to Afonso Henriques' forces following the conquest of Lisbon in 1147. In 1755, a massive earthquake struck the Lisbon area and the castle became unstable and a no-go zone. Fortunately, a grand conservation project under the orders of Ferdinand II in 1840 restored the castle to its former glory and additional reconstructions over the 19th and 20th centuries have made the castle a far visitor-friendly place.
As the castle is situated up in the hills, access is not easy and visitors with disabilities may struggle. I chose to take the bus to the castle ticket booth and it is still a relatively steep climb on a dirt track to reach the castle entrance from there. I'm really glad that I took the time to visit the castle though as the views are amazing and being able to walk the medieval walls was a fantastic experience.
Entry to the Castelo dos Mouros costs 5 Euros. Buy your ticket at the roadside ticket office and make the final ascent via a twisty path to the castle entrance. You can also buy a joint ticket for the castle and the Pena Palace, but I decided just to go to the castle.
Directions: Accessible via a steep walk from Sintra or a tourist bus route.
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