Until the end of July, entries are free. And during this month there are several activities taking place, including the historical recreation of the “Cortes de Leiria 1254”, which takes place on weekends. All roads lead to Leiria Castle.
All roads lead to Leiria Castel and, the celebration of the City of Leiria day, on May 22nd, marked the reopening of this space to the public, after 2 years of rehabilitation of the space so rich in history and culture.
The story that takes all roads to Leiria Castle
It is so vast and so rich that a 1000-page book would not be enough to tell it all.
D. Afonso Henriques ordered the construction of this Castle as one of the lines of defense against the Muslims, but here there are traces that date back to prehistory, as well as the expansion of the Roman Empire and the first Cortes of the kingdom of Portugal.
Here is the summary presented to us by Leiria City Council:
“The Castle of Leiria guards, within the imposing walls, vestiges of the various phases of occupation, from the military fortress to the royal palace.
Since the beginning of the human occupation in the Iberian Peninsula, when the main instruments were made of stone, man has been enchanted by these surrounding landscapes, between the sea and the mountains!
Foram vários os reis e rainhas que se deixaram deslumbrar pela paisagem fantástica que é possível observar do topo do morro.
D. Dinis was probably the monarch who spent the longest time in Leiria, along with his wife, Queen Santa Isabel, who is attributed the legend of the Miracle of the Roses – Legend has it that the queen left Leiria Castle one morning winter, to distribute bread to the most disadvantaged. Surprised by D. Dinis, who asked her where she was going and what she was carrying in her lap, the queen would have replied: They are roses, My Lord!. Suspicious, D. Dinis asked: Roses, in January?. D. Isabel then exposed the contents of the lap of her dress and in it, there were roses, instead of the loaves she had hidden, this being just one of several stories that were born in Leiria thanks to these kings.
Several centuries later, the Castle, as well as the city, would still suffer damage, with the French invasions, being almost abandoned.
It was worth the effort of the League of Friends of the Castle and the famous Swiss architect, Ernesto Korrodi, who carried out restoration work there and restored the link between this magnificent monument and the population.
In 2021, the renovation works of a large part of the space were completed, which allowed not only to further enhance its heritage wealth and increase its tourism potential but also to make it more inclusive and open to all citizens, through the construction of two mechanical accesses (on the north side and on the south side), which are free to use.”
All roads lead to Leiria Castle, but what are we going to find there?
First of all, this is a suggestion for those who want to know more about interactive museums, especially for teachers, who by now should be thinking about how their return to school will be in the next academic year.
As a result of social isolation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, museums around the world have closed their physical doors, but some have opened digital windows to visit them through virtual tours. Through them, interactive and sensorial experiences are created, creating educational spaces, which are pedagogical mediators that help teachers make their virtual classes more innovative, arousing the interest of their students, to find out more, check out here:
Returning to our Castle in Leiria, for those who come from abroad or for the many Leiria people who never set foot inside the Castle – that is not at all a criticism, I was already quite grown up when I went to Castelo de Leiria for the first time ! – , here’s the best way to get there: Google Maps.
There are places that I still don’t know and, whenever I think about visiting them, I think “oh and stuff, but it’s right next door, it’s for another time!”, doesn’t it happen to you?
I’m ashamed to say that I’m from Leiria, but that there are historical and cultural places that I’ve never visited, either because it never happened, sometimes because I keep postponing. The first time I entered the Castelo de Leiria I must have been 16 or 17 years old and it was to see a fashion show (yes!), after that, for one reason or another, I always failed Entremuralhas! Medieval fairs in the castle, very in vogue in recent years – in the Pre-Covid era – but it took some rehabilitation to visit the Castle like someone visiting the important historical monument that it is.
(Next year I won’t miss Entremuralhas, I’ve already signed a contract with some friends and everything!) 🤣
But enough of the small talk! What will you find in Leiria Castle?
Stones. That being said, it looks dry and silly, but it’s an imposing, secular building, there’s no furniture (like the queen’s bed or the kitchen sink!).
1. The icon from Leiria and the best view of the city is in the Galleries, it’s a very beautiful space and no one gets tired of the panoramic view because it’s really inspiring.
2. One of the most interesting parts is the Museological Nucleus of Leiria Castle, where you will find several archaeological materials discovered in this place, as well as replicas of medieval weapons. Along with the Galleries, it was what I liked the most!
3. The Castle Cisterns and the Keep are also interesting, but in the top 3 is the Church of Santa Maria da Pena, which underwent rehabilitation and now has a new roof.
Along the paths, you’ll find explanations about places and curiosities, such as, for example, the Door of Treason “Porta da Traição, which was a hidden door that allowed its occupants to enter and exit in a discreet manner.
For those who want a deeper view, guided tours are available by appointment.
Hours from April to September
On show days: opening 1 hour before and closing 1 hour after
Hours from October to March
On show days: opening 1 hour before and closing 1 hour after
Tickets from July 2021
– Adult – 2,10€
– Up to 10 years old – Grátis
– From 11 to 25 years old | over 65 years old | 2nd and 3rd cycle, secondary and higher schools | Youth Card – 1,05€
For those who live nearby, it’s an afternoon well spent, for those who come from far away, visit the page of Leiria City Council or the
For those who live nearby, it’s an afternoon well spent, for those who come from far away, visit the page of Leiria City Council or the Municipality Facebook, there are always cultural events happening here and there, other monuments, many places of leisure.
For other unforgettable experiences, visit musement, where you can find attractions, not only in Portugal but also all over the world!
At this time when many people are starting to go on vacation, there are several destinations to choose from, including Spain (Angela gives some tips to make a spectacular vacation at a very affordable price!) or the wonderful Costa Vicentina.
And, in case of doubt, here we are also to help you!