Sintra: Visiting the Moorish Castle

If you've made it up the hill to Park and National Palace of Pena, you're going to pass by the Moorish Castle so you might as well pop in and visit there, too. Unlike Pena Palace though, Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) is neither colourful, nor is it complete. There are only ruins left there now.

The castle dates back to the 8th century but, sneakily, what you're seeing today doesn't date from then. That's because a mixture of crusades, abandonment, fires and the 1755 earthquake resulted in the Moorish Castle been left in ruins. That was until King Ferdinand II decided to restore Pena Palace - at the same time he also decided to reconstruct parts of the neighbouring Moorish Castle, which is visible from the palace.

Whilst it's certainly not as colourful as Pena Palace - it's grey, grey, grey - it's dramatic with how it sweeps across the hills. I've never been, but it did give me Great Wall of China vibes. And like with everything in Sintra, be prepared to climb, climb, climb if you want to explore all of it. (Yep, more steps. I will say that a holiday in Sintra and Lisbon is also an intense workout.)

Make sure to take in the great view of the town of Sintra if you're visiting. It's almost annoying (see above) how close the town looks to be from the Moorish Castle, especially if you had to walk up there like we had to - my Pena Palace post shares how to get up here - and, of course, if you do climb up to the highest point you'll be treated of a view of Pena Palace. It almost looks like it's perched on the very edge of the world from this vantage point. 

Tickets cost €8 in person or €7.60 if bought ahead online. You won't spend more than an hour there, but it's worth visiting if you're already planning to visit Pena Palace since it's only a ten-minute walk away. What do you think of the Moorish Castle? x

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