Conquering the Castelo dos Mouros
Come on and see the Castle of the Moops in Sintra, an easy day trip outside of Lisbon!
The Castelo dos Mouros (the Castle of the Moors) is located in Sintra, forty minutes outside of Lisbon. Trains run frequently from Lisbon's Rossio Train Station to Sintra Train Station.
From the train station, the number 434 Circuito da Pena bus runs in a loop around all of Sintra making stops at the most famous locations, including the castle. Conversely, the castle can be hiked to — but it is a long, incredibly steep climb.
Wear comfortable and sturdy shoes. You can climb along the ramparts of the castle — but these are often steep, and uneven, so you want to be sure of your footing (especially if you are like Jeremy, have bad balance, and are scared of heights).
If you plan on seeing multiple locations within Sintra, buy the Scotturb bus pass; it costs €12, lasts all day, and covers unlimited boardings of buses. Additionally, a €15 pass can be bought from the Rossio Train Station that includes both the bus pass and the train ticket from Lisbon to Sintra.More information about the buses can be found here.
Just forty minutes outside of Lisbon lies the fairy-tale-like town of Sintra. Nestled in the hills, and studded with palaces and a castle, the town feels as if it were designed specifically as a set piece for a Guillermo del Toro film.
Looming over Sintra and the surrounding valleys sits the Castelo dos Mouros (the Castle of the Moors). Originally built by the Moors, North African Muslims who conquered large the majority of Portugal and Spain in the 700 and 800s, the castle served as a garrison point for helping to control the surrounding region.
Today, the castle is in various stages of repair. Amazingly, the castle's ramparts and towers still stand, allowing for a harrowing (based on Jeremy's fear of heights) climb along the castle's walls — which overhang a steep drop into the valley's below.
From the castle's tallest tower, the entirety of Portugal seems to lie open in a panoramic view: the country seems to stretch away to the horizon in the east, following Sintra's rolling hills, while to the south, the brilliantly pastel Palace of Pena is visible on a neighboring summit.
For those with time, or a fondness of castles, various paths lead throughout the interior of the castle's yards. Among the additional sites within the castle was the cistern — a cavernous man-made stone cave underneath the central courtyard that held drinking water for the garrison.