Castelo Branco

Found in the centre of Portugal, along the border of Spain, lies the small community of Castelo Branco.  The city is atop Colina da Cardosa hill, on a former Roman Empire-era fortified settlement.  Among the most popular tourist destinations in Castelo Branco include:

Templar Castle Ruins:  Originally built by the Knights Templar in the 13th century, the castle was damaged in 1640, refurbished, and later destroyed in the 19th century.  Various remains from the original castle exist, and are laid out among gardens that provide an amazing viewpoint of the city.

Santa Maria do Castelo Church:  Constructed in the 13th century, this church served as the first “mother” church of Castelo Branco.  The church was damaged several times from war and fire over the next few centuries, until an invasion from France in the 19th century destroyed the church in full.  Townspeople took to the task of rebuilding Santa Maria do Castelo completely, which still stands today.  This church is known for housing the tomb of 16th century poet and local resident Joao Rois.

Francisco Tavares Museum:  Opened in 1971 in the former Bishops’ Palace, the “Museu de Francisco Tavares Proenca Junior” contains over 5,000 exhibit pieces, with a concentration on archaeological finds from the area, tapestries from near and far, paintings, and primitive art.  The location of the museum, the Bishops’ Palace, is an architectural masterpiece as well.  First constructed in the Gothic style between 1596 and 1598, and remodelled with Baroque accents in the 18th century, the church is very well kept to this day.

The climate of Castelo Branco is cooler and wetter than the average Mediterranean climate.  Daytime highs in the summer come in at roughly 25 degrees Celsius, with lows of 18 and 20. In the winter, high temperatures in Castelo Branco approach 17, with lows of 13 degrees in the evening.

The nearest airport to Castelo Branco for both international and domestic flights is Lisbon Portela Airport, located 181 kilometres away from the centre of town.  Badajoz Airport lies closer to the city (118 kilometres away from Castelo Branco) but only handles domestic flights.  If considering a trip to or around Castelo Branco, consider car hire at Lisbon Portela Airport.

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