Castelo de Leiria

Estremadura & Ribatejo

Inside the castle walls is a peaceful garden, overgrown with tall trees, and the ruined but lovely Gothic Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha, originally built in the 12th century and rebuilt by João I in the early 15th century. It has beautiful leaflike carvings over one arch (and don't miss the fascinating marcas de canteiro, unique insignias chiselled on the bricks to indicate which builder laid it and was due payment by the king).

The castle’s most spectacular feature, however, is a gallery with stone seats. It provides a fantastic vantage point over the town’s roofs, though the structure is largely the result of restoration. The castle sits upon a clifftop site that got its first castelo in the time of the Moors; it was captured by Afonso Henriques in 1135. Be sure to climb the recently re-opened tower; it exhibits replicas of medieval costumes, including armour, helmet and swords.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Estremadura & Ribatejo attractions

1. M|i|mo

0.09 MILES

Just below the castle, this likeable museum focuses on the history of the moving image, with a fine collection of cine cameras and temporary exhibitions…

2. Pharmácia Leonardo Paiva

0.15 MILES

Opposite Leiria's cathedral stands the wonderfully tiled Pharmácia Leonardo Paiva – the beautiful azulejos depict Hippocrates, Galen and Socrates…


0.15 MILES

Leiria's high, impersonal, blocky cathedral was started in the 16th century, and the cloister, sacristy and chapter houses date from 1583 to 1604.

5. Museu de Leiria

0.52 MILES

Opened in November 2015, this lovely museum celebrates Leiria and its region. Housed in the former Santo Agostinho Convent, the exhibits span everything…

6. Museu do Moinho de Papel

0.66 MILES

Located by the river and near the new Museu de Leiria (and part of the admission price), the Moinho do Papel was Portugal's first paper mill to be moved…

7. Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória

6.18 MILES

The extraordinary monastery of Batalha was built to commemorate the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota (fought just south of here). Most of the monument was…


6.25 MILES

This modern, award-winning municipal museum in the centre of town is well worth the visit, taking you through the prehistory and history of the region,…