Dates back to the early days of the Moorish occupation (8th century)

History

Winding over two ridges of the Serra de (Mountain of) Sintra, the Castle dates back to the early days of the Moorish occupation of the Peninsula, the 8th century.

Around 1100, while Portugal was still under Moorish domination, the castle changed hand several time as the Christian Kings during the Crusades , nor the Arabs Emirs could keep the position a long time.

In 1108, the Norwegian King Sigurd the Crusader conquered the Castle while on his way to Jerusalem.

It is only in 1147, after various attempts that the Castle was definitely taken by the first King of Portugal, Afonso I (1109-1185).

Later on the castle lost its strategic importance as, peace being restored, there was no more need to protect the population inside its walls and was therefore abandoned.

It was acquired, as well as the Pena Palace, in 1838 by Ferdinand Saxe Coburg-Gotha (1816-1885), King Consort of Queen Maria II .

He restored the medieval ruin and afforested the surrounding areas, giving it a new dignity.

The latest restoration happened in 1940 for the ceremonies celebrating the foundation of Portugal.

Castle of the Moors

Features

View from the Castle of the Moors featuring Sintra's Palace

View from the Castle featuring Sintra's Palace in the arch

Walls of the Castle of the Moors with the Pena Palace in the background on the right

Walls of the Castle with the Pena Palace in the background on the right

From the top of the walls, it is possible to admire Sintra and its Palace, the Pena Palace, the ocean's coastline, the Praia (Beach) das Maçâs, the town of Ericeira & Mafra and the hills of Sintra, covered in green and dotted with beautiful homesteads and romantic chalets.

The castle has an irregular plan and is composed of a double belt of walls.

The internal wall features battlements and reinforcement provided by five fortified towers.

Inside, a cistern, fed by a source which later on was canalised to the city's Palace.

Chapel of São Pedro in the Castle of the Moors

Chapel of São Pedro

One of the fortified towers of the Castle of the Moors

One of the fortified towers

After reconquering Lisbon in 1147, Afonso I built inside the walls the Romanesque Chapel of São Pedro, of which interesting traces remain, next to the oppidum, where there is also an Arab horseshoe arch gate and remains of houses.

This chapel retains two interesting Romanesque doorways and in the chancel are traces of fresco paintings, as well as several tombs from the former medieval necropolis.

Archaeological excavations, that may be observed by visitors, are currently underway and these have already cleared up many of the questions about the history of human presence in this area.

Opening Hours

Open all year except December 25th and January 1st

Last entry 1 hour before closing time

Winter 2016-2017 up to

From 10:00 until 18:00

2017 up to

From 09:30 until 20:00

€ Prices up to Oct 28, 2017

Children up to 5 years Entry Free
Children from 6 up to 17 years Entry 6,50
Adult Entry 8,00
Senior (above 65 years) Entry 6,50
Family (2 adults + 2 children) Entry 26,00

Getting there

Coordinates: 38.7960136; -9.3892979

Bus 434 (Pena line)

9 minutes from and 20 minutes to Sintra Train Station

Frequency:
Every 15 minutes, from 09:30 until 18:20
Detailed timetable

Sintra Bus 434 Itinerary Diagram

Itinerary:
Sintra Train Station > Historic City Centre - Tourist Office - Sintra National Palace > Castle of the Moors > Pena Palace > Historic City Centre - Sintra National Palace > Sintra Train Station

Route Calculator | Scotturb, Cascais Sintra Busses Website
Public transportation in Sintra

Accommodation nearby

out of which:

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Moon Hill Hostel

see on Google Maps
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Penha Longa Resort 5

see on Google Maps
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Quinta Velha Guesthouse

see on Google Maps
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Sintra Boutique Hotel 4

see on Google Maps
Walls of the Castle of the Moors with the Pena Palace in the background on the left

Walls of the Castle with the Pena Palace in the background on the left