About Paderne Castle
Paderne Castle (Castelo de Paderne) was originally built as a Moorish stronghold during the period of the Almohad dynasty. While Paderne Castle dates back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the site on which it was constructed has a history which may stretch as far back as Roman times.
In 1248, Paderne Castle was taken from the Moors by the forces of Dom Paio Peres Correia, a commander in the armies of Portuguese King Afonso III.
Now a picturesque reddish-brown ruin, Paderne Castle is one of the seven castles shown on the Portuguese flag.
History of Paderne Castle
The castle sits on a promontory overlooking the Quarteira River, around 10km inland from Albufeira. It is mainly built of Taipa – a mixture of mud, chalk, lime, and aggregate that sets like concrete – and is surrounded by Mediterranean vegetation, olive groves, fig and carob trees.
The site was originally used as a Roman settlement, as a military outpost and, eventually, a politico-administrative centre. Indeed, it was strategically important, as it controlled the ancient Roman road Via Lusitanorum which crossed the Quarteira River.
The Roman villa was captured by the Moors by 713, and, concerned by advancing Christian armies in the area, was fortified as part of a wave of military fortification in the Algarve.
In 1189, the castle was captured by armies of King Sancho I with the help of English Christian mercenaries. In 1191, Muslim forces recaptured the castle and surrounding lands.
In 1248, the castle was finally captured by Portuguese forces who massacred all of the inhabitants inside.
Inside is the shell of Nossa Senhora do Castelo, a 14th century chapel which ceased to be of use in 1506 when a new parish church was built in the village.
Paderne Castle remained as an outpost until 1858, at which time it was declared obsolete.
Paderne Castle Today
Today, the castle is occasionally open to visitors – normally around one day a week – with special events and school tours meaning that the gates are sometimes opened. It’s worth checking in Paderne to see if it’s open. Experienced tour guides are recommended to fully make the most of your visit.
Nearby, there is a Roman bridge which crosses the river Quarteria, and is made up of three arches supported by two piers. Views towards the bridge are stunning, as is the natural beauty that frames the site.
Getting to Paderne Castle
Lisbon is the closest major city to the castle. It is around 2 and a half hours away by car, via the A2 road. It’s also around 10km north of Albufeira, and is reachable in around 20-30 minutes by car via Estr. de Paderne/N395.