The castle is originally was Arab but after improved at the 13-14th centuries and it was later on the 17th century when the castle got their first artillery.
The castle was constructed on the top of the hill, a great situation just overlooking the Guadiana River.
From here you can get great views of the river Guadiana and the Spanish frontier. Also from the bridge that connects both countries.
Another interesting site is this church, we only saw it from outside, wandering around the village looking for the entrance to the castle, and them from inside the castle.
Also there is an old hermitage, now converted in main church.
I am afraid in this one I am a little confused as I am not sure which one is the one next to the castle or at the entrance of the village on the top of the mountain in front of the castle.
As you come from Vila Real de Santo Antonio on the main road, this is the first of the two forts you come to. It was constructed during the reign of D. João IV (1640-1656) during the Wars of Restoration of Independence between Portugal and Spain on the site of the Chapel of St Sebastian which was demolished to make way for the fort. The fort has a polygonal layout with five bastions and wasn't open to the public when I visited in Sept 2010.
This is the town’s main church which is located directly to the south of the main castle and overlooks the town centre below. Known in English as the Church of Our Lady of Martyrs, it dates from the 18th century and has a picture of the Archangel Gabriel from the 15th century and an interesting dome.
The main castle in Castro Marim is located on a small hill right in the middle of the town. It originally dates from between the 10th and 13th centuries although early human occupation of the hill dates back to prehistory, to the late Bronze Age where Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian (late 4th century BC) and Roman remains have been found. The Old Castle was built on the orders of Dom Afonso III in 1274 and the wall was built in 1279 during the reign of Dom Dinis.
From the castle you can get a great view of the River Guadiana, the Spanish town of Ayamonte, the salt pans and the sea in the distance. The square castle inside the walls received its 4 round towers at the beginning of the 16th century by Dom Manuel I and stands on an open yard inside the ramparts and is possibly Moorish in origin. The castle was the original headquarters of the Order of Christ (which replaced the Knights Templar) with Henry (the Navigator) as governor of the Order and who lived in the castle. This military order played an important role in the early voyages marking the beginning of the Age of Discoveries.
Open: 9am-7pm. Admission: €1.
This small church lies inside the castle walls and contains 17th century tombs and some remains of the earlier 14th century Church of São Iago (St. James) which was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. Inside the church is a model of the castle and a very old looking wooden retable.
This nature reserve covers an area of over 2,000 hectares of salt pans, salt marsh and creeks. There are trails to follow and have you can have a chance to see wildlife including some 150 species of birds (storks, avocets, flamingos, sand pipers) plus see how salt is produced in the evaporation pans as it has been for hundreds of years.
It not common two forts side-by-side in the same city.
It just happened that the old Moorish castle was not suitable for the war against Spain in 1640, and the king decided to build a new stronghold, named St. Sebastian fort because it was built replacing a shrine devoted to that saint.
Since 2009 that we may see atop a hill in Castro Marim a new building announced as the Interpretation Centre of the land. It is a structure dedicated to help those tourists that want to learn about the local toponimy. It is not a museum but a good sightseeing point with good information.
We were there at night, and couldn't see it working, but only the mosquitoes disturbed he excellent views"
This castle is the result of many cultures and wars. Located in a privileged place to protect the river, the oldest identified wall comes from the 8Th century BC. Romans, developed it, and were followed by Vandals and Muslims, until the christian conquest in 1242. There are remains of all those people, but the earthquake of 1755 forced a large reconstruction. In summer it is now used as base for medieval festivities.
You can see it from the castle on the other side of the hill, this fortification was constructed on the 17th century. You can see the walls connecting to the town
From the castle and on the way from Vila Real to Castro Marim you can see the salinas and if you are lucky see some flamingos (yes, we were lucky!!).
It is a protected area.
While driving around we saw a few publicity signs saying that the best salt in the world was Castro Marim one. Not sure if it is true or not as we did not try…..
This church was built during the reign of D. João IV (1640-1656) inside a small but strategically placed fort called Fort Santo Antonio de Castro Marim overlooking the Rio Guadiana.
The towns cemetery warrants a visit if you have the time and can be found just to the south of the town.