Monção - Torre da Lapela

Tower - Middle Ages e (20111)
The Torre da Lapela is located atop a granite outcrop, on the left bank of Rio Minho. It may have been a part of a much larger defensive structure designed by Duarte d¿Armas. The tower was built on the outside of a pentagonal walled enclosure, connected to the curtain-wall, probably to defend the main castle gate. The Torre da Lapela is most likely all that was left from the Lapela castle, it stands at 24.20m and has a rectangular blueprint, internally divided in four floors connected by a wooden stair. It displays a typically romanesque architecture, with some similarities with the keep of Castelo de Melgaço. It was mostly during the reign of D. Dinis that these type of constructions were built or repurposed, an initiative that took place throughout the country. The archaeological works carried in one of the houses that integrate the urban streets of Lapela, specifically in the Rua do Rio, confirmed that the Torre da Lapela was part of a more complex defensive structure, inside a defensive structure itself, serving as a keep. Its purpose was to watch a traversal spot in Rio Minho, extremely relevant in terms of territorial defence. This defensive system possessed an enclosing wall and a barbican that reinforced the more vulnerable spots. The wall was systematically deconstructed to the very foundations to give way to habitation. Clay tile fragments that were dug in the site point towards a building that dated back to the Roman period or the High Middle Ages, although its function was not clear. The Torre da Lapela was a target of several repurpose and enhancement works, being transformed into a museology nucleus, creating a functional space for visitors and adding up as an element of cultural promotion.


The site has a museological nucleus and is part of the Rota do Vinho Verde Alvarinho (Alvarinho Wine Route)

Visit conditions

Free entrance associated with a museological structure


Opening hours: From Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 - 12:30 14:00 - 18:00


    How to get there? Best practices

    Best practices

    Good practices when visiting archaeological sites

    To visit an archaeological site is to connect with our origins, to understand our path and evolution as a species integrated in the environment, and to respect and safeguard our heritage so that future generations can also visit and enjoy it.

    Walking the paths and enjoying the structures and archaeological pieces that survived over time, fosters the understanding of what is different, but also of what is common among different populations: basically, what identifies us as Homo Sapiens.

    More than just vestiges and ruins of the past, archaeological sites showcase our capacity for creative thought, adaptation, interconnection, comprehension and resilience. Without these traits we would not have been successful as cultural beings participating in an ongoing evolutionary process. These sites also allow to consider choices made in the past thus contributing for decisions in the present to be made with greater awareness and knowledge.

    Archaeological sites are unique and irreplaceable. These sites are fragile resources vulnerable to changes driven by human development. The information they keep, if destroyed, can never be recovered again.

    As such, the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage (DGPC) invites all visitors to enjoy the beauty and authenticity of these sites, while helping to preserve them for future generations by adopting the following set of good practices:

    • Respect all signs; 
    • Do not try to access fenced areas; 
    • Do not climb, sit or walk on archaeological structures and remains; 
    • Respect areas where archaeological excavations are being carried out, not disturbing them; 
    • Do not collect materials or sediments;
    • Do not write or make graffiti on archaeological structures; 
    • Put the garbage in appropriate containers. If none exist, take the garbage with you until you find a suitable container; 
    • Leave the archaeological site as you found it; 
    • Do not drive bicycles or motor vehicles over archaeological sites; 
    • Respect and protect the plants and animals that live in the areas surrounding archaeological sites;
    • Report signs of vandalism or destruction to DGPC or Regional Directorates of Culture (DRC);
    • Share the visiting experience and the archaeological sites, as a way of raising awareness to their preservation and making them better known;
    • Do not buy archaeological materials and report to public security authorities, DGPC or DRC, if you suspect that archaeological materials may be for sale.

    Further information:

    AIA / ATTA (2013) – Guide to best practices for archaeological tourism. 

    Raposo, J. (2016) – Código de conduta para uma visita responsável a sítios arqueológicos. In Sítios arqueológicos portugueses revisitados: 500 arqueossítios ou conjuntos em condições de fruição pública responsável. Al-madan, 2ª série, p. 20 – 77. 

    DGPC contacts

    Phone: +351213614200 | Email:


    2 Voted for this site