For Go Discover Portugal there was no other option but to fall in love with Ourém but it was one of those loves that needed a bit of direction.
The first time you drive into Ourém you could wonder about what makes it special, it’s only when you really know where to go and what to look for that you start to realise what a special place it is.
Possibly the most remarkable place in Ourém is the castle and the old historic town within the castle walls, high above the modern day Ourém. It takes a bit of nerve to drive up the old road to the historic centre but once you’ve done it, you’ll be pleased.
The castle was a Muslim fortification until it was reconquered from the Moors in 1136. King Afonso Henriques gave it to his third daughter, who than aided in it’s rights to become a village. At first under Muslim domination it was called ‘Abdegas’ but the christians renamed it to ‘Portus do Auren’ and eventually it became Ourém.
The castle has served as a fortification for the Moors and later during and after the reconquista (the regaining of Portugal from the Moors) as a defence for the more important castle of Leiria only about 20 km closer to the coast.
The castle was completely rebuild in the 15th century by the fourth Count of Ourém, count Afonso who needed it to accommodate his court and he turned it into a palace castle using typical Italian military architecture styles of the 15th century.
Next to the castle overlooking the immense landscapes below is the original Royal lodge of queen Isabel of Portugal, nowadays a very well rehabilitated bed and breakfast. You can view it and book it on our site
Much of Medieval and renaissance royalty spent time at the castle and got to gasp at it’s amazing views.