Christian armies conquered the Moors at Castro Marim in 1242 and immediately set about strengthening the defences. Moorish raiders continued to harass the town from North Africa and conflict often erupted with Portugal's new neighbours, the Kingdom of Castile. Castro Marim became the headquarters of the Knights Templar, which helped to increase the local population and bring wealth to the area. When the Templar headquarters transferred to Tomar, a period of decline followed. To reverse this pattern, in 1421 King D. João I granted Castro Marim the privilege of being a “sanctuary for fugitives” - a place of shelter for refugees and wanted men to attract new lifeblood. The town retained this privilege almost until the end of the 18th century.
The 10th Century Castle is the oldest of the two remaining defensive structures in Castro Marim. From its vantage point, the Castle can oversee the plains below well into Spain and to the coast. King D. Alfonso III erected most of what still stands today in the 13th century over the remains of the former Moorish fortress. The ramparts are in the shape of an irregular quadrangle with a cylindrical turret on each corner. The two gates may originate from the original Moorish castle. Within the walls of the castle, there ia a museum:
Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum
Opened inside the original keep in 2007, this small museum displays finds from archaeological digs on the hillside surrounding the castle. On display are an interesting collection of pottery, coins, tombstones, and other artefacts from different historical periods, including the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and evidence of early human occupation in Castro Marim.
Daily 10h00 - 12h00/15h00 - 18h00 | Included in Castle entance ticket
Amongst the other surviving buildings within the ramparts is the Igreja de Santiago church dedicated to St. James and a somewhat gruesome torture museum. For five days at the end of August each year, the castle becomes the centrepiece during the village's Medieval Days Festival recreating medieval life. This spectacular pageant and fair offers plenty of entertainment, including horseback archery, jousting, and musical events whilst jesters entertain the crowd. During the night-time hours, medieval plays are performed before awed crowds. 37° 13' 07.7" N | 07° 26' 30.4" W
Daily 10h00 - 12h00/15h00 - 18h00 | €2.00
Outside the walls of the castle is the Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, Matriz de Castro Marim church. It sits on the site of a 16th-century hermitage dedicated to the Martyrs (Mártires) who sacrificed their lives during the Reconquest of this part of the Algarve. The church has been remodelled and enlarged many times throughout its lifespan, most notably after the devastating earthquake of 1755. The late 18th-century façade has a Baroque doorway, a triangular pediment and three large windows illuminating the interior. A large dome sits on the roof, surmounted by a false lantern.
The interior's main features are the neoclassical altarpieces, a 15th-century statue of the archangel São Miguel (St Michael) and a 16th-century statue of Nossa Senhora dos Mártires (Our Lady of Martyrs). There are other statues dating from the 18th century, including one of Santa Luzia. Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Mártires, Matriz de Castro Marim church underwent further restoration following a fire in 1960. The church can only be visited during mass hours.
8950-137 Castro Marim, Portugal. | 37° 13′ 03.7″ N | 07° 26′ 29.5″ W
Castro Marim was once encircled by town walls, defining the area that is now the old town. Castro Marim is typically Algarvian; sleepy and unpretentious. The cobbled streets are lined with trees and whitewashed low-lying houses adorned with coloured trims around the doors and windows. There are small squares and cafés where you can soak up the laid-back ambience. The town's turbulent history is a distant memory. People leisurely go about their business. There is no hurry here.
By the 17th century, the mighty medieval castle at Castro Marim had become inadequate. The Forte de São Sebastião is designed to repel cannon fire and became essential during the Restoration Wars with Spain. When constructed in 1640, it was a part of larger fortifications encircling the town. King Dom João IV ordered two additional lines of defence, turning the whole village into a fortress by surrounding it with walls that extended from the castle to the Forte de São Sebastião on the opposite hillside. | 37° 12' 58.4" N | 07° 26' 38.6" W
The Revelim de Santo António is a former outpost of the town's defences. It faces Spain overlooking the flat wetlands and the Guadiana River. Inside the walls, there remains the Capela de Santo António (St Anthony’s Chapel), a traditional windmill, and the local interpretation centre housing a small museum.
On the hillside below the Revelim de Santo António, facing the Guadiana River is the delightful Jardim Andaluz. This small but beautifully landscaped garden showcases traditional Andalusian architecture and plants. Within the garden is an array of gazebos, pillars and water features providing relief from the midday heat. | 37° 12' 56.3" N | 07° 26' 23.2" W
The coastline east of Tavira and stretching onwards to the Spanish border and the River Guadiana has some of the most beautiful beaches of Algarve. Devoid of cliffs and rocky outcrops; blessed with swathes of soft golden sands; backed by forests, dunes and shrubs and relatively uncommercial.
The up-and-coming resort of Altura stands alongside the long stretch of sandy beach and dunes. Wooden walkways lead to various parts of the beach, giving you the opportunity (especially on the western walkway) to observe how the dune vegetation changes from the inland edge of the dunes to the side facing the sea. On the inland side, the vegetation makes the dunes appear taller. Next to the sea, where the dunes are higher, there is an abundance of European beach grass, sea holly, fluffy cottonweed and eye-catching beach daffodils. The beach is vast, stretching as far as the eye can see, and the sea is calm and warm. There are facilities for a variety of beach activities and water sports. To the east the greenery around the beach becomes denser, where you can glimpse the resort of Monte Gordo through the coastal pines.
There is plenty of organised parking at the central section of the beach. The various support infrastructures include restaurants, WC, information and recreational facilities. Lifeguards on duty in the high season. This is an accessible beach. | 37° 10’ 11.8”N | 07° 29’ 52.7”W
As its name suggests, Praia Verde is surrounded by pine forests growing down the gentle hills to the sands. The trees have a curious mushroom shape and the undergrowth is rich and dense throughout the forest. Fabulous panoramic views overlook the sandy coast from the car park serving the beach. This is located inside the tourist complex surrounding the beach. To get down to the sands, you follow a path lined by tall retamal bushes, typical of the sandy eastern Algarve. Once on the beach, you will see delicate plants such as beach grass, eye-catching sea daffodils and aromatic curry plants. An old well on the beach is a remnant from when the sea did not come so far inland. The atmosphere is hot, bright and dry, and the sea is calm and warm.
The various support infrastructures include restaurants, WC, information and recreational facilities. Lifeguards are on duty in the summer holiday season. | 37° 10’ 26.0” N | 07° 28’ 49.3” W
The path to the beach cuts through a tourist complex where you can still see signs of the old rural landscape. The cork oaks and olive trees gradually give way to the dune pines typical of this coastline. Inside the dense pine forest you will find strawberry trees, mastic trees, wild asparagus and aromatic plants such as curry plants and rosemary. The shade and deep green of the vegetation are comforting. If you look closely, you may be able to spot indolent chameleons and birds with a curious crest reminiscent of a giant butterfly. Close to the beach, the scenery is dominated by dunes with maritime pines and the typical bridal veil broom growing on them, while on the crests of the dunes closest to the sea, you will see beach grass. Next to the beach’s eastern walkway, there is an entrance to a stretch of the “ecovia” (cycle route) that goes to Monte Gordo. The beach is vast yet peaceful. The waters are safe and warm.
There is plenty of informal parking at the eastern, central and western sections of the beach. Ammenities include restaurants, WC, information and recreational facilities. There are lifeguards on duty in the summer holiday season. This is an accessible beach. | 37° 10’ 32.1” N | 07° 28’ 14.2” W
Monte do Malhão is a rural tourism unit providing accommodation in modern and elegant suites. It features a green garden and a bar. Only five kilometres away from Praia Verde. The suites feature a terrace with views over the garden. The units have a full bathroom with a hairdryer and free toiletries. Several local restaurants are available within a short 5-minute drive. There is a communal living room featuring comfortable sofas and a TV, where guests can enjoy reading. Wired internet is available for free in the public areas of the property. Cacela Velha village is a 15-minute drive and is famed for its Arab fortress. The medieval town of Castro Marim is a 12-minute drive away. It is also 15 minutes drive from neighbouring Spain.
272 Caixa Postal, 8950-191 Castro Marim, Portugal. | 37° 12' 58.6" N | 07° 30' 30.9" W
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Castro Marim Golfe and Country Club is a 230-hectare property in Castro Marim, with Ocean and River views. It offers villas with private or shared swimming pools. All villas at Country Club are well equipped and feature a warm fireplace for the colder winter nights. All bathrooms include a spa bath with free toiletries. Meals can be prepared in fully equipped kitchens and enjoyed indoors or outdoors. Alternatively, the on-site Club House restaurant serves exclusive dishes. The 27-hole golf course is ideal for golfers wanting to practice their swing while younger guests have fun at the Club House’s Kids Club. For the more active guests there is a gym available at the property. For a night out, guests can head to Monte Gordo Casino.
Sítio do Lavajinho, 8950-190 Castro Marim, Portugal. | 37° 14' 08.2" N | 07° 28' 09.2" W
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Casa da Margarida is located in Castro Marim, 46 km from Golf Nuevo Portil, 200 metres from Castro Marim Castle, and 4.3 km from Castro Marim Golf Course. The accommodation is 37 km from the Island of Tavira and features free WiFi throughout the property. The single bedroom apartment is equipped with a living room, with flat-screen TV, and a fully equipped kitchenette.
Urb. Horta do Vinagre, Nº4, R/C A Nº4, R/C A, 8950-278 Castro Marim, Portugal. | 37° 16' 29.9" N | 07° 29' 24.6" W
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Meaning "feet on the beach" this modern establishment excels at traditional Portuguese cuisine. Conjuring up the best dishes fresh locally sourced ingredients can offer. The views overlooking Praia Verde between Monte Gordo and Alture are incredible. Since opening its doors for the first time in 1983, the restaurant has gained local fame for its fresh fish and seafood. Its popularity has precipitated continual expansion. Pezinhos n’ Areia Restaurant has two menus: a regular menu containing local dishes like Cataplanas, Acorda de marisco no pão, and Pataniscas de Camarão. The second menu is dedicated to the catch-of-the-day, offering such delights as shellfish, bacalhau, sardines, salmon, sea bass, squid, lobster and prawns. Pezinhos n’ Areia also champions great Portuguese wines, helping to round off a perfect dining experience. The restaurant doesn't open between December and February.
Daily: 10h00 – 23h00
Urbanização Praia Verde, 8950-414 Castro Marim, Portugal. | 37° 10' 28.2" N | 07° 28' 47.3" W
+351 281 513 195 | email@example.com | Website
This long-established restaurant is a local legend. There is a wide selection of Portuguese, international and vegetarian treasures on the menu to choose from. Prices are not the cheapest but the portions are very generous. You might share a main or ask for a meia dose (half portion). Standards and quality are consistently excellent. The staff are very professional and delightfully jovial.
Thursday - Tuesday: 12h00 - 16h00/19h00 – 22h30, Wednesday: CLOSED
Sitio Val da Velha, 8950-438 Altura, Portugal. | 37° 10' 54.0" N | 07° 29' 27.7" W
+351 281 956 817 | firstname.lastname@example.org
This friendly restaurant is popular with both Portuguese and visitors alike. There's a nice selection of local delights offered on the menu, all cooked to perfection. Prices are reasonable considering the standard of cooking. Quality is consistent throughout all courses. All-in-all Restaurante Dom Rodrigo is well worth hunting down, it is somewhat off the beaten track.
Thursday - Tuesday: 12h30 - 14h30/19h30 – 21h30, Wednesday: CLOSED | Castro Marim 8950 Portugal.
37° 11' 47.5"N | 07° 30' 45.2" W
+351 281 956 505
Only 65.2km (40.5 miles) east of Faro Airport
GET A GREAT DEAL ON FLIGHTS:
From Faro take the EM516 eastbout 65.2km (40.5 miles) to Castro Marim.
GET A GREAT DEAL ON CAR HIRE:
Castro Marim doesn't have it's own train station, alight at Vila Real de Santo António and then take the bus to Castro Marim. Regional train services (comboios regionais) run from Lagos in the west to Vila Real de Santo António on Portugal's eastern border:
• Eva Transportes run services across the Algarve linking the main resorts and towns, as well as a hostess service to Lisbon. Also worth considering are their tourist passes if you're planing to visit different places: Website