Castelo da Feira

Castle - Roman Period, Middle Ages, Modern Age e Contemporary Period (6371)
The Castelo da Feira is located in a hill overlooking the city of Santa Maria da Feira. The history of this settlement dates back to the Roman era, confirmed by the presence of two Roman altars, identified in 1912 and 1917, and of a third altar, identified in 1936, during the restoration of the tower's eastern turret. During the first stage of the Reconquista in the 10th century, a defensive structure was built, corresponding to a small fortified mozarab enclosure, rectangular in blueprint, later becoming the foundations to the current keep. The Santa Maria civitas assumed a defensive position in the land border against the Muslim troops and since it was close to the coastline it would also defend the sea borders from Norman attacks. Pillowed stones are still observable on the keep walls of this primitive castle, as well as the structure of its main gate, in horseshoe arch, typical from mozarab typology. The concession of this space to the Pereira family during the 15th century marked the beginning of an intense castle adaptation phase. The alcazaba tower is adapted to become a residential space, with three floors, the two upper floors reserved for dwelling. In addition, a new defensive system was implemented, marked by the construction of the gate's barbican and of a second wall, which may have suppressed the old moat. This renovation contributed to make Castelo da Feira one of the best examples of a dwelling structure of the Late Medieval period that witnessed the transition from throwing weapons to artillery. The new "Paço dos Condes" as well as the barns were built in the Place-of-arms during the 17th century. A chapel was erected outside the walls, dedicated to the Nossa Senhora da Encarnação. The majority of the buildings located in the Place-of-arms were destroyed during the Portuguese Restoration War campaigns of the 1920s and 1930s. With the passing of the last Count of Feira in 1700, the castle was integrated into the "Casa do Infantado", marking a long period of the monument's degradation, which was aggravated by a fire in 1722. Only from 1877 onwards did the restoration and preservation works began on this building, extending throughout the whole 20th century. Excavations at the alcazaba, where the cistern was located, allowed defining the different construction phases. Surveys performed on the first floor of the tenaille confirmed that its construction dated back to the 15th century. Excavations in the north side, outside the castle, allowed the identification of a moat, a rare defensive element in Portugal visible in the archaeological record. The destruction of this moat may have been connected to the construction of the forward wall during the 15th century. This intervention also allowed confirming the existence of a former settlement that had existed before the medieval castle, dating back to the Roman and "castrejo" periods.


The Castle and Chapel can be visited through the acquisition of an entrance ticket: Adults: 3,00 ¿; Families (couple with a minim of 2 kids between the ages of 6 and 15 years old): 2,00 ¿ (each adult); 1,00 ¿ (each son) ; Pensioners / retired people / Youth cards / Groups (booking needed): 1,50 ¿; Children with ages between 6 and 15 years old: 1,00 ¿ ; Children until 5 years old: free entrance Schools (booking needed): Elementary and secondary education students: 1,00 ¿ ; Pre-school: free entrance ; Teachers (in a school trip): free entrance

Visit conditions

Entrance with admission ticket


Opening hours: From April to September 10.00 - 12.30 13:30 - 18:30 From October to March 9.00 - 12.30 13.30 - 17.30 Closed: Mondays



    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:


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