The Algarve is famous for its sandy beaches, picturesque old towns and delicious Seafood. But there are also some amazing Algarve castles including Loule Castle, Silves Castle and Castro Marim. Did you know that some of the castles of the Algarve actually pre-date the Moorish occupation in Portugal (8th-15th Centuries). Here are my top 7 amazing Algarve Castles:
List of the 7 most Amazing Castles in the Algarve
- Loule Castle
- Castle of Alcoutim
- Silves Castle
- Castro Marim
- Tavira Castle
- Castelo de Sao Joao Do Arade
- Fortress of Sagres
The 13th-century Loulé Castle is located in the charming and historic city of Loulé in the Algarve. The castle’s current location is thought to have been first fortified by the Romans before becoming a Moorish stronghold. In 1249, during the Reconquista led by Dom Paio Peres Correia, the Christians captured the stronghold. Later in the 13th century, King Afonso III enlarged the castle by building towers and walls. Then, in the 15th century, Henrique de Meneses, 1st Count of Loulé, renovated these once more.
The entrance fee is 2 euros. It is open from Tuesday – Friday 10:00 – 18:00 and Saturday – Sunday 10:00 – 16:30. Get the bus to Rodoviaria De Loule and then it’s a 7-minute walk to Loule Castle.
Castle of Alcoutim
Alcoutim Castle, built in the 13th Century, is located in the Portuguese Algarve province’s town of Alcoutim. Locally, it is referred to as Castelo de Alcoutim. The castle’s history is chronicled in the museum, along with the conflicts waged within its boundaries. The rectangular-shaped Alcoutim Castle is made of the native schist stone and is built on a hilltop overlooking the Guadiana River, which serves as Portugal’s border with Spain. King Ferdinand of Portugal and King Henry II of Castile signed a peace agreement at Alcoutim Castle in the latter half of the fourteenth century. The entrance fee costs 2.5 Euros. From June to August, it’s open from 9:30am to 7:00pm. From December to February, it’s open from 09:30 to 17:30. You can get the bus to Centro Saude bus station to Castle of Alcoutim which will be a 30-minute walk as there is no train station nearby.
Silves Castle, which was built in 1189 is located in the Portuguese district of Algarve. Locally, it is referred to as Castelo de Silves. On top of the hill rising from the Arade River is Silves Castle, one of Portugal’s best-preserved castles. The town’s and the region’s skyline are dominated by views of the castle’s battlements. When the castle walls are illuminated at night, they look exceptionally magnificent. It’s possible that the castle we see today was constructed over a Visigoth or a Roman fort.
The entrance fee is 2.80 Euros. The castle is open from Monday to Friday 09:00 – 17:00. You can get the train to Silves train station to Silves Castle which will take 20 minutes.
Castle of Castro Marim
Castro Marim Castle, which was constructed in the 13th century by King Afonso III, includes an intriguing section of wall that is semi-circular in shape, inside of which are the Old Castle, the Church of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, and a variety of ruins, including the former governor’s palace. Visitors to this significant monument can enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the city and the River Guadiana. The castle also houses a museum where visitors may explore a sizable collection of archaeological artefacts that date from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages and provide insight into the history of the area. The entrance fee is 1.10 Euros. It is open from Monday – Friday 09:00 – 17:00. You can take the train from S. Bartolomeu to Castle of Castro Marim which takes 12 minutes.
Tavira Castle is located in the Portuguese region of Algarve’s Tavira town. Castelo de Tavira is the native name for it. It is unknown when the first castle at this location was constructed. According to certain historians, the Phoenicians were already rebuilding a fortification in this location in the eighth century BC. But the current castle is most likely from the 11th century. Currently, it only consists of three walls, two square towers, and one octagonal tower. Although there must have been a keep, none of the towers bear any hallmarks of one. Today, a tiny garden occupies its interior. Despite it being a ruin, it is one of the most beautiful castles in the Algarve. The towers and the walls can both be scaled.
During the hours, you can tour the castle for no cost. It is open from Monday – Sunday 08:00 – 17:00. You can walk from Tavira City Centre to Tavira Castle which is a 5-minute walk.
Castelo de Sao Joao Do Arade
The Fort of Santa Catarina on the Portimo side of the River Arade is located across from the Fort of So Joo do Arade in Ferragudo. Both castles were built to guard against pirate invasions at the entrance of the River Arade and further interior into Silves. The 1755 Earthquake appears to have had less of an impact on the castle because it is built atop a hill composed of softish rock and has a trapezoid shape. From Portimo, EVA buses run almost every hour from 6.45 am to 7.40 pm. Buses stop close to Praça Rainha Dona Leonor and take 10 minutes to get there. The entry fee is free. You cannot go inside as it is privately owned but is worth the visit during the daytime. The views are indescribable. You can catch the train from Ferragudo train station to Castelo de Sao Joao Do Arade which is a 35-minute ride.
Fortress of Sagres
The Fortress of Sagres is situated on a stunning, little headland that protrudes into the Atlantic Ocean. It was created in the fifteenth century. All that is left of the original structure are the walls and stunning entrance arch, which span the headland. The fort, however, was renovated in the 20th century and is today one of Sagres’ most well-liked tourist destinations. Visitors can explore the outcrop and take in the expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and the untamed Cabo de Vincent coastline while learning about the history of the fortfrom the various signs placed throughout the area. Visitors can tour the battlements’ guns and cobbled battlements for a little entrance fee (3 Euros), and there’s also a chance to observe a 43-meter-diameter early nautical wind compass-rose. The fort is open every day. Low season opening times are 09:30 – 17:30 and high season is from 09:00 – 20:00. There is plenty of parking close to the fort. The infrequent Vamus bus 47 takes between 50 and 1 hour to travel from Lagos to Sagres, depending on how many stops it makes along the way. Sagres doesn’t have a train service. The castle is around a 15-minute walk from the town centre if you are staying in Sagres.
The views and history of these castles will leave you speechless. These Algarve castles are definitely worth visiting.