Castro Marim is a small town and a community (about 3,250 inhabitants) in the same-named county.
Coordinates: 37° 13′ N, 7° 27′ W
The small town is situated north of the N125 and is very well signposted.
Already in prehistoric times people have settled here. At the time of the Roman dominion the place was called > Aesuri < and was the terminal of the Roman road coming here from Beja (in today's Alentejo). From 711 on, the fortification of the place was then converted to a defensive castle under Moorish rule. After changing conquests the Moors were definitely beaten and chased away in the year 1242.
The Order of Christ (successors of the forbidden Order of the Temple) had here its seat from 1319 to 1356. After their leaving, the place became insignificant for centuries. Only around 1640, in the course of the Peninsular War, it gained anew in importance. Another fortification has then been built, the > Forte de São Sebastião <.
The place is overtopped by castle and fortress. The alleys at the foot of the mountain upon which the castles lies are narrow and winding.
In the locality are banks, the post office, diverse shops and supermarkets, restaurants, bistros, snackbars and cafés.
Castelo de Castro Marim
The castle has been extended and developed in the 13th century at the behest of King Alonso III.
The entrance is signposted. The access to the top of the mountain is a bit arduous. The steepest track has been covered in the meantime with a walkable wooden gangplank and with stairs.
Inside the castle it partly looks like as if the knights were about to return from a foray or a military expedition.
Caution: The walkable castle walls are uneven and partially unsecured.
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Excavations are made frequently in parts of the facility. In the diverse buildings on the site are placed exhibitions of the finds from the castle as well as from the environs.
One has a beautiful panorama view from the castle walls over the locality, up to the coast, up to Spain and to the salines.
The Igreja de Santiago is situated within the castle courtyard and was built in the middle of the 14th century. The interior of the building is modest and serves as room for changing exhibitions.
April until October: 9 - 19 h
November until March: 9 bis 17 h
Forte de São Sebastião
The fortress was built in 1641 as defense against Spain. Adjusted to and blended in the castle and to or in the town walls of Castro Marim the place has been the most important military base of the Algarve. The fortress cannot be visited.
The Igreja Matriz Castro Marim was built in the 17th century below the castle. The chapel which had been located here until that moment was not sufficient any more for the rush of the believers. After having been damaged severely by the earthquake of 1755 the church was re-erected until 1834. In 1960 a fire destroyed large parts inside the building.
The church can only be visited during mass hours.
The Ermida de Santo António was built in the 17th century upon a strategically important hill in the southeastern urban area.
Coordinates: 37°12'58.0"N 7°26'20.7"W
The chapel is not always open. Please ask at the tourist information.
The Igreja de São Sebastião was finished in 1650 after a same-named chapel had to make way for the construction of the fortress.
The church can only be visited at mass hours.