Perched atop Sintra with stunning views to the Atlantic, the 8th-century Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros) was built by the eponymous people during their reign in Portugal. It fell into disrepair after the Christian conquest, yet the partially restored fortress is a favorite among travelers for its rich history and panoramic views.
No Sintra tour is complete without a stop at the Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros). Built upon the area’s highest hill, the edifice has seen many inhabitants—from the Moors to the Vikings to the nobility of Portugal and even a local Jewish community—throughout its 1,300-year existence. Take a full-day tour from Lisbon and visit the castle as well as Pena National Palace (Palácio Nacional da Pena), Sintra National Palace (Palácio Nacional Sintra), and Quinta da Regaleira to learn about the area’s fascinating history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros) is a must-visit for history buffs.
- Book skip-the-line tickets to save time at entry.
- Be prepared for a lot of walking up steep stairs upon the stabilized ruins.
- If hiking to the castle, bring comfortable and sturdy shoes, water, and sun protection.
- The castle is not accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros) is about 18.5 miles (30 kilometers) northwest of Lisbon. Take the Sintra train line and then the Sintra-Pena tourist bus 434 straight to the castle. There are also three hiking trails from the Sintra area to the castle, ranging from 45-minute to 1.5-hour walks.
When to Get There
The castle is open daily from 9:30am to 8pm during the summer season and 10am to 6pm during the winter season. Last admission is one hour before closing. Visit early in the day during the summer to avoid the heat.
A Castle Worth the Hike
When visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra, it’s impossible to miss the Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros). Built upon a 1,312-foot-high (400-meter) hill, this medieval stone castle offers some of the best views of Sintra, with Pena National Palace on one side and the Sintra National Palace on the other. The steep hike is well worth the amazing views, and on a clear day, you can even spot the Atlantic Ocean from the King’s Tower.