Palmela Castle sits high up on the Serra de Arrabida hills, giving it a vantage point that has been strategic and valuable since the Moors first occupied it in the 8th century. Portuguese kings fought to acquire it in 1147, and it was later converted into a monastery in 1423. It still stands as an excellent example of a military stronghold of the time.
Today visitors can experience the same panoramic views of the region and the Tagus and Sado rivers. The white house of the small town of Palmela, less than a kilometer away, can be seen as well. With the historic Igreja de Santiago church inside the castle walls, which houses a museum, the structure is now a national monument. The castle is lit up by night, creating even more impressive views. Part of the castle has also been converted to a ‘pousada,’ or luxury historic hotel.
The Castelo de Palmela is located 42 kilometers from Lisbon, about 9 kilometers north of Setubal. Follow the narrow roads up from the town of Palmela. The castle is open daily and there is no admission fee.