Lousã Castle: Princess Peralta’s Legend, Swings, and River Beach

Castelo da Lousã, ou Castelo de Arouce.
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Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting the Intriguing Lousã Castle: Location, How to Visit, Viewpoints, Swings, Restaurants, and Accommodation.

Lousã Castle, also known as Arouce Castle, is located in the municipality of Lousã, within the district of Coimbra.

It’s a National Monument and part of the Network of Castles and Walls of the Mondego. Its construction, likely in the 11th century, makes it one of the oldest castles in the country.

Moreover, Lousã Castle is situated in a particularly interesting region for walks in nature, featuring a swing over a river beach and one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the Lousã Mountain range. It’s also home to one of my all-time favorite restaurants, serving “cozido na broa.”

I’ll also share with you an ancient legend associated with this castle, the Legend of Princess Peralta, which I think you’ll enjoy hearing about.

So, in this article, we delve into the history and legends of this intriguing treasure, not forgetting the usual suggestions of what to see and do in this region.

After all, this is a region that’s well worth exploring up close. So, are you ready to join me on this journey?

Lousã Castle

Castelo da Lousã.
Lousã Castle and Restaurant “O Burgo”.
Caminho sinuoso do Castelo da Lousã para a Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Path from Lousã Castle to Nossa Senhora da Piedade Chapel.
O que ver no Castelo da Lousã.
What to see in Lousã Castle.

As I mentioned earlier, Arouce Castle has been classified as a National Monument since 1910 and is part of the Network of Castles and Walls of the Mondego.

Its construction predates the establishment of the nation, meaning it was supposedly erected in the second half of the 11th century.

Next to the castle, you can go hiking, swim in the river beach, and even swing above the natural pools.

The Legend of Princess Peralta

A lenda da Princesa Peralta.
Discover the legend of Princess Peralta.

According to the legend, Emir Arunce built a castle in the Serra da Lousã to protect his wealth and the life of his daughter, Peralta, during the Muslim occupation.

However, father and daughter had to flee defeated from Conimbriga by Prince Lausus, but during the escape, Peralta and the prince exchanged glances and fell in love.

Prince Lausus went in search of his beloved, but the furious father tried to prevent the meeting.

The two ended up dying, and Peralta was left alone, forgotten in the Castle of Arouce.

Best Things To Do and Visit in Lousã Castle

Castelo da Lousã (Castelo de Arouce).
Lousã Castle or Arouce Castle.

Visiting the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade

Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Nossa Senhora da Piedade Chapel.

Near the Lousã Castle, there are four chapels worth visiting: the Chapel of São João, the Chapel of Agonia, the Chapel of Senhor dos Aflitos, and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

The Chapel of São João is the largest and oldest, dating back to the 12th-14th century, while the Chapel of Agonia dates from the 18th century, the Chapel of Senhor dos Aflitos from 1912, and the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, where the image of Our Lady of Mercy is kept.

Despite being a small structure, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Piedade stands out with its white walls against the lush green landscape.

To reach the chapel, you need to follow a winding path with steps, from where you can capture the landscape from various angles. It’s a worthwhile excursion, right next to the Lousã Castle.

Visit Lousã Mountain Range (Serra da Lousã)

Miradouro "Isto É Lousã".
Viewpoint “Isto É Lousã”.

The Lousã Mountain Range spans across the territories of Miranda do Corvo, Lousã, Góis, Penela, Castanheira de Pera, and Figueiró dos Vinhos, making it an extensive area to explore.

Therefore, if you’re planning to visit the Lousã Castle, it makes perfect sense to include the Lousã Mountain Range in your itinerary, particularly highlighting the enchanting Schist Villages.

So, take note: Aigra Nova, Aigra Velha, Candal, Casal Novo, Cerdeira, Chiqueiro, Comareira, Pena, and Talasnal are all conveniently close to the Arouce Castle

Explore the river beach and swing at the Nossa Senhora da Piedade pools

Praia Fuvial de Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Nossa Senhora da Piedade river beach.
Cascata da Praia Fluvial de Nossa Senhora da Piedade.
Waterfall at the River Beach of Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

In Lousã, there are some famous swings, such as the Trevim Swing and the “Isto é Lousã” Swing, but there is one that is only operational in the summer.

It’s the swing at the Nossa Senhora da Piedade pools, which in the summer is placed above the water, meaning you have to get wet to get on the swing.

Many people visit the place, especially on hot days in the mountains, so to ensure a good experience, avoid weekends.

Viewpoint Senhora da Piedade

Next to the Variant to National Road 236 and on top of a curve, there’s a small space to park the car.

It’s the Senhora da Piedade viewpoint from where you can see not only the sanctuary but also the Castle of Lousã.

Lunch at “O Burgo” Restaurant

Cozido na Broa (Restaurante O Burgo).
Cozido na Broa (Restaurant O Burgo).

After so much hiking in the Serra da Lousã, there’s nothing better than sitting at the table with a delicious meal in front of you.

O Burgo is one of our favorite restaurants, and whenever we go there, we choose the cozido na broa.

The cabbage, meats, and chestnuts are served inside a broa, which comes to the table still steaming.

It’s undoubtedly a hearty dish that fills not only the stomach but also the soul, and to secure your spot, don’t forget to book in advance (+351 239 991 162).

Accommodation near Lousã Castle

Miradouro para a vila da Lousã.
Viewpoint overlooking the town of Lousã.

Whether you prefer a hotel, rural tourism, or a local accommodation, the good news is that there are different lodging options near Lousã Castle.

Very close to Lousã Castle, there are two local accommodations: Casa da Rota dos Moinhos and Lousã’s Brown & White, where you can enjoy barbecue facilities for the family.

If you prefer to stay in the center of Lousã town, my suggestion is Octant Lousã (4 stars), a magnificent 18th-century palace.

However, for those traveling by electric car, you might prefer to stay at Cerdeira – Home for Creativity, in the nearby village of Cerdeira, about 10 km from Lousã Castle.

Lastly, if you didn’t like any of these recommendations, check the availability and prices of hotels and Airbnbs in Lousã on the map below.

Accommodation in Lousã, Portugal

Everything you need to know about Lousã Castle

Castelo da Lousã, ou Castelo de Arouce.
Lousã Castle or Arouce Castle.

Is Lousã Castle easily accessible by car?

Yes, Lousã Castle has good car access and provides a parking area for securely leaving your vehicle.

What trails pass by Lousã Castle?

Mapa dos trilhos da Lousã.
Map of the trails in Lousã.

The Lousã Hiking Trails Network is quite diverse, and in the area around the castle, the following are recommended:

  • PR1 LSA – Mills Route: 5.3 km, 2 hours, circular, starting at the Mother Church of Lousã;
  • PR2 LSA – Schist Villages Route: 5.7 km, 3h30, circular, starting at the Arouce Castle.

Map and directions to Lousã Castle?

The castle is about 2 km from the town of Lousã. If traveling from Lisbon, expect a journey of approximately 112 km, while from Porto, the distance is approximately 159 km.

From Lisbon:

From Porto:

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