Five Favorite Things: Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) edition

Last week I promised a post about my favorite castle. Just like how a lot of things go into creating a really poor castle-going experience, the same goes for a really good one. I can’t promise that if you ever make it up to this 8th century Moorish castle that you’ll have an equally good time but the place was pretty amazing on the day we went and we all absolutely loved it.

So here it is: Castelo dos Mouros in Sintra, Portugal. Here are my five favorite (picture-heavy things) and my guesses as to why the day was so fantastic…

1. Maybe it was the views…

The guy at the entrance (the only staff we saw the entire time) suggested that we come back another day because of the fog; he worried that we’d miss out on the views. Since that didn’t work with our travel schedule we thanked him for his concern but paid anyway. Luckily, the heavy fog came and went several times while we explored which meant we did get to take in the sweeping vistas.

Views from the Moorish Castle.

The views of the Sintra and beyond.

Palacio Nacional da Pena

Me, taking a picture of the nearby Palacio Nacional da Pena while someone else took a picture of me. Also, I look oddly buff in this picture – I assure you, I’m not.

2. Maybe it was the mystique…

When the fog cleared we got the good views. but when it settled on the forest floor we felt like we were in some kind of magical land – which definitely gave the whole place a special vibe.

Moorish Castle in the mist. Sintra, Portugal

It just made it that much more mysterious.

In the fog.

When the fog rolled in it was like we were in a cloud. On a castle in the clouds… and it just doesn’t get much cooler than that.

3. Maybe it was seeing our husbands run around acting like little boys…

My friend Courtney and I really like the castle but our husbands LOVED the castle. They ran around the ruins debating castle defense strategies and contemplating how to run a kingdom. Frankly, I’m a little surprised they didn’t grab some sticks and start sword-fighting. Actually, on second thought, maybe they did.

Castle walls in Sintra, Portugal

This was not a posed photo. I just happen to look over and see the guys deep in thought about… oh, I don’t know… castle stuff.

Overlooking Sintra at the Moorish Castle

Isn’t my husband cute?

And of course, what castle isn’t complete without a couple princesses. Except we forgot to bring our crowns and gowns.

Romeo and Juliet style.

Andy and I… Romeo and Juliet style.

Castle kissing.

Sir Sam and the fair Courtney.

4. Maybe it was because we had the whole place to ourselves…

Other than the guy at the entrance and exactly two other tourists, we had the entire castle grounds to ourselves. It was awesome.

Moorish Castle in Sintra, Portugal with no crowds

Andy and Sam… all alone.

5. Or maybe it was just because we got to run around exploring with no rules or restrictions…

Like I’ve mentioned before, exploring sights in countries with less litigious legal systems makes things a lot more fun (although, also a little more dangerous). But this was one of those great times where no barriers around ledges restricted our access or our views and no pesky warning signs got in the way of our pictures.

No hands!

No hands! (Also, no rails.)

Castle Wall

Andy, high up on a castle wall.

And like all the other favorite places, here’s one thing that was less than magical…

The day ended the day in a downpour.

The entire hike back down the mountain was a very, very wet one. I would like to point out, however, that even though I’m frequently made fun of for my footwear choices of mostly flip flops, I was the only person in our group of four who didn’t slip even once. Go me!

Sam in the rain.

I don’t have any pictures of the walk back down the mountain but here is one from the day before in Sintra where Sam got caught on the other side of the street.

And I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from our day at the castle… of which there were many.

Palácio Nacional da Pena

Andy on one castle in the clouds looking at another castle in the cloudes (aka the Palácio Nacional da Pena)

Sitting on castle walls.

What are we doing? Oh not much… just sitting on some super old castle walls.

Sintra tower

All of us on a castle tower. Self-timed photos are the best.

2 responses to “Five Favorite Things: Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) edition

  1. Pingback: Travel Tips & Tricks: How not to explore a medieval castle | See Jules Travel·

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