Destination Europe

Visiting Castelo dos Mouros and Sintra with the kids!

Posted on
March 2, 2018

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…………..

  1. Reply


    March 2, 2018

    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. Reply

    Hannah Denton

    March 2, 2018

    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. Reply

    laura dove

    March 2, 2018

    Ooh this looks like such an amazing place to visit! We’ve never been but my kids would be in their element exploring!

  4. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    March 2, 2018

    Wow what an amazing place to go and visit, I have to admit I would just love to nose around that castle! Standing at the top looks absolutely amazing!

  5. Reply


    March 3, 2018

    I’d love to take my kids to visit there one day! What fab place to visit and explore!

  6. Reply

    Richard@Pool Sunday

    March 3, 2018

    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.

  7. Reply

    Jane Batt

    March 3, 2018

    How lovely. See what you mean about the safety rails though!

  8. Reply

    Fi Ni Neachtain

    March 3, 2018

    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 🙂

  9. Reply

    Deborah Nicholas

    March 3, 2018

    oh this looks so interesting for the kids and the views are stunning!

  10. Reply

    Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One

    March 3, 2018

    It looks like a great place to explore for any castle lover. I used to deal with a company in Sintra when I was working, was gutted I never got to visit their offices and explore the area. One day #CountryKids

  11. Reply


    March 3, 2018

    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!

  12. Reply

    Louise Edwards

    March 3, 2018

    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!

  13. Reply

    Starlight and Stories

    March 3, 2018

    We visited Lisbon in the summer on a cruise for the day but would love to go back. We’ll definitely be checking this place out if we do, what incredible views x

  14. Reply

    Mellissa Williams

    March 3, 2018

    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.

  15. Reply

    More than Blush

    March 3, 2018

    I’ve never been to Lisbon, or heard of Castelo dos Mourous before, but it looks and sounds beautiful. Jo x

  16. Reply


    March 4, 2018

    Looking forward to hearing about Pena.

  17. Reply

    Natasha Mairs

    March 4, 2018

    The old castle looks amazing. I love visiting places like this, so beautiful

  18. Reply


    March 4, 2018

    What a beautiful place. I can see why the kids loved it.

  19. Reply

    Lauretta at Home and Horizon

    March 4, 2018

    Looks like a beautiful place to visit. The safety on the walls is a good observation. Safety is always our priority when we have our little ones with us.

  20. Reply


    March 4, 2018

    I have never been to Portugal my partner has been to Lisbon a few times and travelled around and loved it

  21. Reply

    Rebecca | AAUBlog

    March 4, 2018

    wow, I’m so impressed by the views – it looks really stunning! I’m going to Portugal for the first time in May

  22. Reply

    Sara-Jayne Jones

    March 4, 2018

    This place looks amazing – I think my boys would be captivated by those trenches too – nothing like a skeleton to perk up a visit! Haha!

  23. Reply

    Tanya Brannan

    March 4, 2018

    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

  24. Reply


    March 4, 2018

    I love your pictures. The place looks stunning and would be a perfect break away x

  25. Reply

    Nichola - Globalmouse

    March 4, 2018

    I love all of your photos, Sintra is so high on my list of places I want to visit, it really does look gorgeous.

  26. Reply


    March 4, 2018

    It looks like a very good place to visit. I’ve never been to Portugal

  27. Reply

    bryanna skye

    March 4, 2018

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

  28. Reply


    March 4, 2018

    I love your photos! Looks like you had a good time!

  29. Reply

    Coombe Mill

    March 4, 2018

    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.

  30. Reply

    Charli Bruce

    March 5, 2018

    I would absolutely love to go here and I know the kids would most definitely love exploring it x

  31. Reply


    March 5, 2018

    Sintra looks amazing. Scott has always wanted to go , the girls would enjoy it I’m sure

  32. Reply

    Harriet from Toby & Roo

    March 5, 2018

    Oh my goodness, it looks absolutely love there! I want to go! H 🙂

  33. Reply


    March 5, 2018

    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 🙂

  34. Reply

    Helen at Casa Costello

    March 5, 2018

    Oh god, those steep drops just made me gasp! The views look incredible though. I rather think Castilo was made for me to visit as it is almost my surname!

  35. Reply


    March 6, 2018

    What a gorgeous looking place. I would love to go here with my family.

  36. Reply

    Angela Ricardo Bethea

    March 7, 2018

    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.

  37. Reply


    March 7, 2018

    That looks beautiful, but i can imagine how scary it must have been in places.

  38. Reply

    Emma MacDonald

    March 7, 2018

    Wow that is a LOT of steps. The view is incredible though, I looks very high. #CountryKids

  39. Reply

    Becca Talbot

    March 9, 2018

    I have heard and read so many wonderful things about Sintra, I have added it to my bucket list 🙂 looks like you guys had a fabulous trip! x

  40. Reply


    March 10, 2018

    Beautiful family and awesome photography, thanks for sharing this…

  41. Reply

    Cass Bailey

    March 12, 2018

    Oooh Lisbon is definitely on my must-visit list – it looks beautiful x

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog