Visiting Castelo dos Mouros and Sintra with the kids!

No visit to Lisbon should be done without the stunning town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for the colourful Pena Palace, Castle of the Moors, Palacio Quinta da Regaleira and Monserrate Palace.

Although public transport is available, during our stay at Martinhal Cacais, the helpful team at the hotel assisted me in booking a taxi so we could not only visit Sintra, but go via Cabo da Roca, the most western point of mainland Europe.

Sintra is a popular tourist destination, set in the pine-covered hills of the Serra de Sintra. It is home to fascinating historic buildings, more than ten national monuments and pretty cobbled streets that are lined with traditional houses, shops and cafe’s. On the advise of our taxi driver, we got out in the town centre to explore, before catching one of the regular buses up to visit Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle or Castle of the Moors).


We caught the 434 tourist bus, which is a hop on, hop off service costing us €15 for the family or you can take a Tuk Tuk to the top of the hill.

Sintra wide

How the bus driver managed to guide the huge bus around the narrow roads sill surprises me, but we were very grateful that we didn’t have to walk up the steep hills Moorish Castle and Pena Palace.

Sintra Centre

The first stop was Castelo dos Mourous, a ruined castle which looks of the town of Sintra below. We saved money by buying a joint ticket with Pena Palace and Sebby was free as he is under 5.

Castelo dos mourous

The Castelo dos Mouros was established by the North African Moors during the 9th century as its location looking over the Tagus River made it a strategic place to look over Sintra and a good outpost for Lisbon.

Moorish Castle

The castle fell into disrepair after the Christian conquest of Portugal and as you walk to the castle entrance, you find an archaeological investigation site which was once the location of the medieval Islamic quarter and the Christian graveyard. There were some glass covered trenches which had plastic skeletons inside, much to the delight of the kids and a Historical Interpretation Centre which had various exhibits of items they have found around the castle’s archaeological digs.

Castelo dos Mouros

The castle itself has high fortified stone walls, treacherous ramparts and massive battlements all of which can be fully explored and the views are amazing!!

Castelo dos Mourous

The fortification itself consists of two major wall rings that wind itself along granite boulders and cliffs to the top of the mountain.

Moorish Castle Isaac

We started counting the steps and gave up quite quickly. Just be aware that there are A LOT!!

Moorish Castle

The castle walk is quite scary in places, especially if you have fearless small people in tow. Most of the walls don’t have any safety railings and there are some sheer drops over the sides, the steps were uneven, some paths were very narrow and there are a lot of steep inclines so I would not recommend a visit to those with mobility issues or with very young children.


That being said, the kids loved it here – it’s the perfect location to play knights guarding their castle and they insisted on climbing to the highest points!

Moorish Castle Isaac

The day we visited it was quite misty and murky, so I can only imagine what the views are like on a clear, sunny day, but we enjoyed clear views over the National Palace and some of the other magnificent buildings.

National Palace Sintra

Once you get to the top of the castle you are given the most beautiful view of all – the colourful Pena Palace.

Pena Palace

And then it is time to start your descent.

View from Moorish Castle

If you visit Sintra then Castelo dos Mouros is well worth the visit, but make sure you take a drink and a snack and wear your most comfortable shoes.

Castelo dos Mouros Kids

Once we headed out of the castle grounds it was then time to hop back on the bus to head to Pena Palace.

To be continued…………..

42 thoughts on “Visiting Castelo dos Mouros and Sintra with the kids!

  1. Sintra looks lovely, I don’t understand why people say it’s nothing special. The view from on top of the castle is so beautiful, definitely worth it!

  2. Oh that looks so fun with the kiddies! I was due to be in Lisbon last month but sadly due to monarch collapsing my fligt was cancelled and i couldnt find another….I NED to get back there! This looks ace!

  3. Nice pics! I visited this castle with my father and children and we all found it fascinating. It is so well preserved and if you go early in the morning it is very quiet. The views are incredible and it looks just like an old castle should.

  4. What an absolutely stunning place! We’ve been to Lisbon but never knew about this place. It’s definitely one we’ll be checking out if we ever return. I love how charming it looks 🙂

  5. I love how happy your children look exploring the castle and being able to climb around. The views are amazing. I think I would love to look around although there would be some fear with the lack of railings on some of the paths you’ve mentioned!

  6. What an amazing view (even if your heart was in your mouth on the way up there!). I would love to visit Portugal and my kids would be in their element somewhere like this. Great photos as always!

  7. We visited Sintra last year. We explored a little before heading to the Pena Palace, which I thought was extraordinary and unbelievably beautiful. We had some authentic local pastries in Sinta in a cafe which was yummy. We didn’t explore the castle though, maybe next time. It’s great to read about it on your blog.

  8. What an absolutely glorious looking place. I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of either of these places but they look so inviting AND exciting. The children all look like they loved exploring the castle and you’ve got some great photographs there too x

  9. wow this place looks amazing! so picturesque, and lovely you got to make new memories with your family 🙂

  10. What a wonderful place to visit with the kids, a great experience for them to see heritage of other countries. The views, unobstructed by fences are magnificent, although I can see why you might be more than worried with little ones wondering around. The kids clearly had a blast exploring the castle, it’s great that there was so much for you all to see.

    Thanks for linking up with me on #MySundayPhoto.

  11. Oh it looks lovely, I bet the kids loved exploring!!
    I cannot wait for the weather to get. a little better so we can go out exploring again 🙂

  12. That castle looks amazing. I can imagine how scary it could be with adventurous small people and no safety rails in some places. It’s so hog up, but fun hey!? A proper place to explore with a fab view 😍 #countrykids

  13. It seems that you really had a fun and amazing experience there. Your kids are so adorable and it looks they really enjoy the place and the beautiful scenery.

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