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“My favorite castle in Europe”
Review of Castelo de Marvao

Castelo de Marvao
Ranked #2 of 20 things to do in Marvao
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Newport, Vermont
Level Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“My favorite castle in Europe”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

I've seen a lot of castles in Europe, but this is my favorite. Having arrived on a rainy evening in early May, we were treated to a double rainbow over the hills far below us, and swirling mist revealing tantalizing glimpses of the castle towers above us. I don't think there's anywhere in this tiny castle town that doesn't provide great views, but walking the ramparts gives clear views into the Extremadura of Spain on one side and the Alentejo of Portugal on the other.

The next day was clear and beautiful, so we climbed up from our lovely little hotel at the bottom of town to tour the castle. We were 2 of the 5 people there. The castle is in great shape, and one can walk the catwalks around all the walls, which are perched at cliff's edges on 3 sides, so that you can really see the vertiginous drop of the cliffs and why this was essentially unconquerable. It's very clear how the approach to the keep would require first taking one portion of the castle, then having to fight along a 1-person wide catwalk through several more barriers and choke points. There are no guardrails or handrails or signs, so you can fantasize what it would be like to live in and defend the keep, without all the usual reminders that you are just a tourist among the hordes. More than any other castle I've been in, I could imagine fighting off attackers below me with bow and arrow, boiling oil, etc.; this castle just feels more alive.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank elainel1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Morgan, Vermont
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“I've seen a lot of castles...this is my favorite”
Reviewed May 10, 2013

I've seen a lot of castles in Europe, but this is my favorite. Having arrived on a rainy evening in early May, we were treated to a double rainbow over the hills far below us, and swirling mist revealing tantalizing glimpses of the castle towers above us. I don't think there's anywhere in this tiny castle town that doesn't provide great views, but walking the ramparts gives clear views into the Extremadura of Spain on one side and the Alentejo of Portugal on the other.

The next day was clear and beautiful, so we climbed up from our lovely little hotel at the bottom of town to tour the castle. We were 2 of the 5 people there. The castle is in great shape, and one can walk the catwalks around all the walls, which are perched at cliff's edges on 3 sides, so that you can really see the vertiginous drop of the cliffs and why this was essentially unconquerable. It's very clear how the approach to the keep would require first taking one portion of the castle, then having to fight along a 1-person wide catwalk through several more barriers and choke points. There are no guardrails or handrails or signs, so you can fantasize what it would be like to live in and defend the keep, without all the usual reminders that you are just a tourist among the hordes. More than any other castle I've been in, I could imagine fighting off attackers below me with bow and arrow, boiling oil, etc.; this castle just feels more alive.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Gerry027
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harlow, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“incredible castle - steeped in history”
Reviewed April 30, 2013

standing at the top of the castle feels like you are on top of the world, looking out over years of untouched scenery. The castle is well preserved and accessible in most areas. Well worth a visit.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Louise T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oeiras, Portugal
Level Contributor
542 reviews
129 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 232 helpful votes
“Beatiful little town”
Reviewed March 28, 2013

Marvão is (very) far from Lisbon and off the beaten track, but it deserves a visit. The town is inside the mediaeval castle walls, and its narrow streets with beautiful white-painted houses is really very nice.
On a good day (hich was not our case unfortunately because of rain and wind) the view is just fantastic. You are at 800 meters high, and the panorama is stunning in all directions.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
Thank pjm_pt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Galveston, Texas
Level Contributor
86 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Unbelievable Views”
Reviewed March 10, 2013

We were driving back from Rome on the way to Fatima and beat to death driving when we saw Marvao in the distance on the top of a mountain. As tired as we were we couldn't pass this up and were we ever glad. This is a small walled city perched on a mountaintop that is right out of the history books. It has pretty much been restored and the restoration has been accomplished with as much historical accuracy as possible. The castle, homes, plaza are almost exactly as you can imagine them back in the days of Knights and Dames. The views from anywhere in the castle are spectacular; you can see for miles into Spain and Portugal. Don't miss eating and having a drink at one of the cafes. We had a great lunch and wine just looking out at where we had been in Spain. If we didn't have a schedule to keep we would have booked a room and stayed a few days. Marvao is off the beaten path and not that easy to get to but well worth the effort, especially if they are having a medieval bazaar (which they were). If you're a history buff and into castles (and have the time this) is the place for you. This place is not recommended for those who have trouble walking because everything is pretty much up hill or down hill on cobblestones.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank jt093812
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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