Sitting on top of a hill in the interior of Portugal, the Monsanto Castle was built in 1165 by Gualdim Pais, master of the Knights Templar. Located in Monsanto, the village that was the backdrop for the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, the castle is the crown jewel of the area. Let’s take a look at the history behind Monsanto Castle, its architecture, and what you need to know to visit.
Monsanto Castle has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times, with evidence of human presence as far back as the Paleolithic era. Over the centuries, civilizations like the Romans and Moors recognized the strategic importance of the hill and built fortifications to protect the area.
During the Reconquista in the 12th century, King Afonso I of Portugal conquered the region, establishing Monsanto as a vital defensive point. The castle played a crucial role in the region’s defense during the Middle Ages, benefiting from its strategic location.
Built using the natural rock formations of the hill, Monsanto Castle’s stone walls and towers seamlessly merge with the rocky landscape. This strategic hilltop location offered a clear advantage, allowing those in the castle to monitor potential threats.
The castle’s layout follows the contours of the hill, featuring impressive walls, watchtowers, and a central keep that once served as the castle’s main residence. Throughout the years, Monsanto Castle has undergone restoration efforts to preserve its historical significance.
Visiting Times & Tickets
Monsanto Castle is free to visit and open every day of the year. You will have to walk up to the castle, around 750 meters high.