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Castelo de Sesimbra

Sesimbra Castle
© bernswaelz
Igreja de Santa Maria do Castelo de Sesimbra
© Joergsam / CC BY-SA 3.0

Castelo dos Mouros

The North African Moors, mainly originating from Morocco, occupied southern and central Portugal from 8th until 12th/13th centuries.  It was they who first built a fortress above the picturesque fishing village of Sesimbra in the 10th century. 

In 1165 troops believed to have been led by King Afonso Henriques, with the help of Frankish Crusaders captured the castle, which was later re-built and underwent significant works of restoration in the early 20th century. 

Today visitors can reach the castle via an exhilarating hike ascending 230 metres from the centre of Sesimbra village. The walk takes between 30 and 50 minutes depending on the heat and your level of fitness. Alternatively the castle can be accessed by road.

There is no castle here as such, just a set of towering walls and battlements.  Within the complex is a small Baroque church - the Igreja de Santa Maria - the inside of which is decorated with beautiful azulejos (traditional Portuguese blue-glazed tiles).  There is also a small café on site.

Most visitors come here to take in the panoramic views of the village and the shimmering blue ocean which can be seen from the impressive battlements.  There are good views of nearby Serra da Arrabida. 

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