Pombal Castle | Portugal Visitor
Pombal Castle (Castelo de Pombal)
Pombal Castle (Castelo de Pombal) in Pombal in the Centro (Central) region of Portugal was built to guard the then-fledgling capital of the kingdom which was at Coimbra. At the time Coimbra stood near the de facto border between the Christian north and the Islamic south of the country.
The medieval castle was built during the reign of Afonso Henriques (1112-1185), the first king of Portugal, during the Reconquista period of Portuguese history.
The Castelo de Pombal has both Roman and Moorish antecedents before it was enlarged and strengthened by Gualdim Pais, the founder of Tomar and the Convento de Cristo and later by King Manuel I.
Originally ten turrets guarded the crenellated, stone walls and the two main gates, protected by barbicans.
The style of architecture can be seen in other Templar castles such as Almourol and Monsanto Castle in Monsanto. Later improvements to the castle by King Manuel I (1469-1521) are attested to by the king’s coat of arms above the main gate and several Manueline-style windows.
Retreating French troops damaged the castle during the Peninsular War (1807-1814) and thereafter it fell into a state of disrepair. Restoration works have continued intermittently since the 1940s with the latest in the early 2000s and 2010s.
The ruins of the old parish church, the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo, stand outside the formidable walls. The Church of São Miguel is another partially-ruined church nearby within the castle grounds themselves.
The castle is now the venue for various events including a medieval market, music and fire shows. A sleek, new, concrete and limestone Visitor Centre was completed in 2014. Visitors to the castle can enjoy a video here on the history of the site.
Getting to Pombal
Train Travel in Portugal
Pombal’s railway station is on the Linha do Norte running between Campanhã Station in Porto and Oriente and Santa Apolónia stations in Lisbon. From Lisbon the fastest trains take around 90 minutes. From Porto journey time is approximately 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Heading north from Pombal trains stop at Coimbra B, Aveiro and Espinho.
Traveling south towards the capital, the main stations are at Entroncamento, Santarem and Vila Franca de Xira.
Car Travel in Portugal
From Lisbon take the A1 highway north via Vila Franca de Xira and Santarem. It takes about 1 hour, 40 minutes to 2 hours by road to Pombal.
Bus Travel in Portugal
On the bus, it takes 2 hours, 55 minutes from Lisbon’s Sete Rios bus station to Pombal. Buses from Oriente are 2 hours, 25 minutes. The buses are operated by Alsa.
Transdev runs buses to Coimbra (1 hour, 45 minutes).
There are also more local buses from Pombal operated by POMBUS. Most services depart from Largo do Cardal.
There are buses also from Pombal to Louriçal.
Portugal Hotel & Hostel Accommodation
The Cardal Hotel, located in Largo do Cardal offers stylish rooms, modern furnishings and free Wifi.
Rooms at the 3-star Hotel Pombalense at Rua Alexandre Herculano 26, are comfortable and the property has both a restaurant and bar.
The Belem Hotel at Rua Avª Herois Do Ultramar 185, offers rooms at a reasonable rate including a buffet breakfast with fresh fruit juice.
Featured Hotel in Pombal
Largo do Cardal
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