The Tagus River flows down from the mountains in Spain and cuts a swath across Portugal bifurcating the north and south into two distinct regions. It is the largest river on the Iberian Peninsula and it is marked by deep gorges, beautiful cities, and imposing castle battlements. Like many large rivers, it is of vast historical importance and it still serves as an invaluable artery for commerce and agriculture today.
The Tagus enters Portugal in the Vila Vehlha de Ródão region on the border with Spain and flows into the Atlantic in Lisbon where the mouth of the river is spanned by one of the largest bridges in the world. Approximately fifty miles inland located on a small island in the river is Almourol Castle. The castle is notable not only for its unique location, but also because it was once a stronghold for the Knights Templar, one of the most intriguing groups in antiquity. It is still possible to visit the castle with a quick and inexpensive boat ride.
Also along the banks of the Tagus is Belver Castle. This castle is set high on a hillside overlooking the river and tours are offered daily. The castle is situated in the Portuguese municipality of Gavião and only 25 miles from the Spanish border.
Lisbon is nestled in the mouth of the Tagus and the city was settled there because of the Tagus’s strategic importance. The world’s ninth longest bridge, the Vasco da Gama Bridge, at just over 10 miles long spans the mouth of the river and marks the conclusion of the river in dramatic fashion.
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