Visit the Castle of the Moors in Sintra: tickets, prices, opening hours

Château des Maures, Sintra

Located near Lisbon, the town of Sintra holds many treasures… Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Moorish Castle in Sintra!

The silhouette of the Moorish castle stands out against the backdrop of the Sintra mountains. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the beautiful, but also very touristy, town of Sintra. Far from the exuberance of the region’s palaces, its old stones are nonetheless steeped in history.

Want to plan your visit so you don’t miss a thing? History, opening hours, prices, tips… Here’s everything you need to know about Sintra Moorish Castle!

History of the Château des Maures

Coucher de soleil sur le château des Maures à Sintra

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Elena Pavlovich

The first fortifications of the castle appeared around the 8th century. This was the period of the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors took advantage of the heights of the Sintra mountains to observe the town and its surroundings. From then on, the fate of the Moorish castle was closely linked to the history of Portugal. Over the course of the 11th and 12th centuries, it passed through a succession of hands. In 1093, it was handed over to King Alfonso VI of Castile, only to be returned to the Muslims three years later, and finally reconquered by the Catholics in 1147. It was then gradually abandoned, a victim of numerous natural disasters.

But the Château des Maures was never destined to disappear! It was renovated at the instigation of King Ferdinand II. This was the 19th century, at the height of the Romantic movement. Interest in medieval times and Eastern cultures brought the château back into the limelight. It became an essential part of the Pena estate. It was already attracting tourists, who came to admire its stonework and gardens. Today, the era is very different, but the castle is still open to visitors.

Our tips for your visit to Château des Maures

The best time to visit the Château des Maures

Of course, the visit will be more enjoyable in low season. Sintra is a very touristy town, and the castle is one of the main attractions. All the more so as a visit to the castle is rather sporty… So avoid it if it’s too hot. But also on windy days, as the tour of the ramparts is already impressive in calm weather.

However, the Castle of the Moors is less of a tourist attraction than the Palace of Pena. If you want to visit both monuments in the same day, it’s best to start with Pena. If you go early in the morning, you’ll avoid the crowds.

Length of visit

Allow between one and two hours for a complete tour of the site.

Accessibility

To visit the Château des Maures, you need to be prepared to climb! The path between the ticket office and the château, and the tour of the ramparts, are quite strenuous. It’s not recommended for disabled people or those with reduced autonomy. And if you’re afraid of heights, it’s a good idea to assess them before embarking on the chemin de ronde.

The surrounding area

Would you like to take advantage of the natural heritage surrounding the castle? Canopy Sintra is a not-to-be-missed treetop adventure course for outdoor enthusiasts!

In addition, here are the city’s other must-see sites:

  • Sintra National Palace;
  • Pena Palace;
  • La Quinta da Regaleira;
  • Monserrate Palace.

What to do when you visit the Château des Maures?

Remparts du château des Maures, Sintra

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Arako Space

The Château Historical Interpretation Centre

On the path between the ticket office and the castle is a small archaeological exhibition. It has been set up in the church of Sao Pedro de Canaferrim. An opportunity to immerse yourself in the history of Sintra Castle! It features artefacts found during excavations, dating from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages. You’ll also find a model of the castle and a representation of the necropolis. We advise you not to miss this exhibition, as the rest of the tour does not include any historical information.

The ramparts

Once you’re in the central Place des Armes, you can climb the walls from the east or southwest. Follow the wall walk to the royal tower. Why royal? Because it was a favorite spot for King Ferdinand II, who came here to paint. It’s easy to see how he found inspiration in this spectacular panorama!

The panoramic view

The ramparts offer a breathtaking panorama of the Sintra region! Beyond these verdant plains, dotted with romantic mansions, you can see the blue line of the Atlantic Ocean. A visit to the Château des Maures is also an opportunity to admire other key monuments from an unusual angle. For example, you’ll enjoy a privileged view of the flamboyant colors of the Pena Palace, as well as the Sintra National Palace.

Inside the ramparts

Not much remains inside the ramparts: the Hommage tower, a cistern and the Romanesque chapel of Saint Pierre. However, new features were added in 2013. You’ll also find wooden structures reminiscent of medieval assault towers. Stop at the Porte de la Trahison, a secret passageway that allowed visitors to flee the castle in the event of an attack… Or to let enemies in, hence its name. A precious Moorish vestige.

How much does a ticket to the Château des Maures cost?

Le château des Maures est un château médiéval situé sur une colline à Sintra, au Portugal

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / saiko3p

Here are the ticket prices to visit the Château des Maures in 2020:

  • Adults (18 – 64): €8 ;
  • Young people (6 – 17 years): €6.50 ;
  • Children (5 and under): free ;
  • Seniors (65 and over): €6.50 ;
  • Family (2 adults + 2 young people): €26.

How do I book a ticket for the Château des Maures online?

Tickets for the Château des Maures can be booked on the city’s official website www.parquesdesintra.pt (click on the « Ticket Office » tab, in yellow on the right of the menu).

This entitles you to a 5% discount on the ticket price.

Are there guided tours of the Château des Maures?

The municipality of Sintra offers guided tours of the park and its monuments. Go to the ticket office to book. The price is €5 per person. For further information, please contact them by e-mail (info@parquesdesintra.pt) or telephone (+351 21 923 73 00).

Alternatively, many private agencies offer guided tours of the Château des Maures. You can easily find the various offers on the Internet.

Are there combined tours with other Sintra monuments?

Combined tickets are available from the monuments’ ticket offices, or you can opt for an excursion from Lisbon.

They are valid for 30 days and entitle you to the following discounts:

  • 2 sites: 5% discount on total ticket price ;
  • 3 sites: 6% discount ;
  • 4 sites: 7% discount ;
  • 5 sites: 8% discount ;
  • 6 sites: 10% discount.

Opening hours

Sintra Moorish Castle is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Please note that you cannot buy tickets or enter the site after 5 pm.

How do I get to the Château des Maures?

By bus

The best way to visit the Castle of the Moors in Sintra is by bus 434. It takes you to all of Sintra’s tourist attractions. You can take it from the historic center or from the train station.

On foot

Got the energy? A signposted path (yellow and red) takes you from Sintra’s historic center to the castle. It’s an hour’s walk. Be careful, it’s uphill!

From Lisbon

How do I get from Lisbon to Sintra? From Rossio or Oriente stations, you can take the train to Sintra. The journey takes 50 minutes and costs an average of €4. As mentioned above, there are tickets available that include transportation plus admission to Sintra Palace (the Moorish Castle is an additional charge).

You can also rent a car. In low season, this will cost you approximately €15 per day, and €35 per day in high season.

Where can I park near the Château des Maures?

There are no parking lots near Sintra Castle. However, you can park your car in the center of Sintra near the train station, in the Portela parking lot (P1).

If you still want to take the car, there are a few parking spaces along the road leading to the castle. You can also use the Estacionamento Calçada da Pena parking lot. However, it fills up very quickly. Consider this if you wish to visit the Moorish Castle in the morning or at the end of the day.

Where to stay near the Château des Maures?

Staying in Sintra is an ideal way to visit the Moorish castle. There are a number of attractive hotels and Airbnbs in the historic center. You can easily reach the castle by taking the 434 bus. However, you’ll need to book in advance, as the town is both small and very touristy.

If you’re only taking the day to visit Sintra, you can also stay in Lisbon. Whether you prefer the authentic Alfama district, the festive Bairro Alto or the chic Chiado… You’ll find what you’re looking for in the Portuguese capital.