Palmela Castle stands at an altitude of 1,200 metres and provides panoramic views of the Serra da Arrabida, the vineyards below and the Tagus and Sado Rivers. In good weather it is even possible to see Lisbon around 40km to the north.
It is thought that the Romans had a settlement here and then the Moors who later occupied this region built a fortress here around the 8th century. By the 12th century the Islamic forces had been driven out and from then until 15th century the castle served as an important Portuguese military stronghold. It was later converted into a monastery and today part of the structure is used as a luxury hotel.
There is no entrance fee to enter the fortress and admire the views. At nighttime the fortress is floodlit and makes an impressive sight from the main road below.