The Iberian Peninsula is one of the most beautiful regions in Europe and probably the whole world. While people travel to Spain and Portugal mainly for the spicy Mediterranean vibes, gorgeous natural grounds, distinct lifestyle, and cuisines do not forget about the monumental historical and cultural sites!
These, of course, entail castles and palaces! So, if you are looking to see the most beautiful and striking fortresses around here, check out our list of the top 5.
1. Castelo de Guimaraes, Portugal
Most usually a part of well-planned Portugal private & small group tours, Guimaraes is a northern city known for being the birthplace of the first king of Portugal and the famous Castelo de Guimaraes.
The 10th-century medieval castle is considered one of the signature marks of early-age Portugal and one of the main features of its development as a country. Initially, the court was built under the instructions of Countess Mumadona Dias to protect from attacks from the Moors and the Norsemen.
While history plays an immense part in why Guimaraes is so important to visit, you should also go for the architectural sights. While starting with solid accents of the Romanesque period, it gained the name of perfect display of Gothic Portuguese architectural style over time!
2. Castelo dos Mouros, Portugal
One of the most famous castles in the country, Castelo dos Mouros, or the Moorish Castle, is a highlight of the Iberia architectural base and a must-see!
Located in the beautiful city of Sintra, the 8th-century ruins of the Moorish Castle are the perfect and most authentic display of the Moorish era in Iberia. What was once a mighty defending castle is now just a shadow of what it used to be, and yet still can tell you so much.
Mildly restored by King Ferdinand II, the fortress was intended to be just a showcase since the 19th century, so you can tour the ancient battlements and climb the defensive towers. Not to mention, Castelo dos Mouros is undoubtedly the best spot to oversee the entire panorama of Sintra!
3. Castle of La Mota, Spain
Moving on to Spain, let’s see one of its top gems! If you are already in Madrid, make your way to the famous Castle of La Mota to explore its striking grounds.
The medieval fortress is located on an elevated hill or mota in Spanish, hence the name! Protected by the state and considered a national monument, the castle was built in the 10th century but has had to overcome many dramatic events since. Mostly in the name of ownership, which left an intense mark on its architecture and current state. However, it all only made the fortress into the masterpiece you are looking at today!
Used as a fort, a strategic military base, and even a prison, the Castle of La Mota is one of the more historically colourful places in Madrid, so we suggest guided tours to learn all about it!
4. Alhambra, Spain
The fortresses get only more intense and more beautiful as our list goes on, so for this next one, take the train from Madrid to Barcelona, and let’s see its top tourist attraction – Alhambra.
The first one in our suggestions, Alhambra, is distinctly unlike-Spanish, and barely displays any of the country’s architectural styles. However, the giant fortress is actually representative of Islamic culture and is considered one of the best-preserved monuments in their history and religion.
That being said, it does have some traits of the Spanish Renaissance, so you will see something familiar! Visit Alhambra to learn all about its crazy, endless list of features, like the Roman presence, the Nasrid period, and others. We suggest a thorough excursion – there are simply too many interesting things about Alhambra!
5. Montjuic Castle, Spain
Last but not least, Montjuic Castle in Barcelona is yet another Spanish monument with exciting historical background and stunning architecture.
The fortress was actually constructed during the Reapers’ War in the 17th century and remains one of the most well-preserved ones in Iberia. Of course, that is due to the remodelling in the 18th century, after Montjuic was significantly damaged during the War of the Spanish Succession. Still, the castle is too impressive to pass on!
Like others in Iberia, Montjuic Castle was used for various purposes. Barcelona’s defendant, a prison, a military base, an execution site, and even a museum. Can you imagine if these walls could talk?
While it is unlikely to hear whispers from Montjuic, tour the bastions, the parade ground, the terrace, the moat, watchtowers, and all others!
Enjoy these sightings, as they are here for your exploration! In all of the cases, we suggest guided tours for maximum knowledge, but you can visit these freely as well. So, just pick your best way, and off to see the most beautiful parts of Iberia!