We left Guarda in the late morning heading due west. As we drove, we came upon and drove through several huge sections of burnt forest. This was a bad year for wildfires all over Spain and Portugal.
By the late afternoon we were close to Porto. But as we drove, Cris spotted another castle sign on the highway, and we took the exit to check it out.
We ended up at the Castle of Santa Maria da Feira.
Castelo de Santa Maria da Feira
As we approached, we could tell this was a really cool castle, as it stood tall above all of the surrounding property. We got there just before it closed for the day, and had the whole place to ourselves.
The castle was built in 868 near an old Roman settlement. It was a key military base for Christians as they took the Iberian peninsula back from the Islamic Moors. Construction took place over many hundred years and completed in the middle of the 15th century. After the family that owned it died out in the early 1700s, it fell into disrepair. The castle was restored in 1909 and opened to the public shortly thereafter.