Built in 1523 by a Portuguese businessman impressed and inspired by Italian architecture, this odd house has nothing in common with traditional Portuguese architecture, but it is one of the most surprising buildings that survived the earthquake.
Halfway from Terreiro do Paço to Alfama, it is easily seen (and the outside is the only thing you may see).
Offering great views both of the castle itself, and the city from the castle walls, the Castelo of Lisbon is an easily visited and unmissable landmark of the city. Placed right on top of the Alfalma, the castle is built within old Moorish walls, and after the re-capture of the city it became the home of the royal family, before they moved down to the ill-fated Terreiro do Paco where the Prace do Commerico is now.
The complex is great to wander around, with cool shaded walks along the ramparts with views down on the city below, and a system of towers and fortifications to climb and get lost in.
It costs 3 euros to enter, and strangely you must buy the tickets at a building some way down the hill and set back from the road, so be on your look out for a ticket office to save yourself time and energy.
The Castelo Sao Jorge, with a commanding view of LIsbon, was the seat of power until the 15th Century when another castle was built. It suffered massive damage during the 1755 great earthquake and is now primarily a tourist attraction with its remaining walls and towers. It's a great place for viewing the Lisbon sights from the Carmo Monastery and Placa Figueira right below on the west side, to the Pantheon on the east side and the Cristo Rei Monument on the south side. There are also tame peacocks roaming around the castle grounds. The current entrance fee is Euro 7.50.
The Palacio Nacional de Pena on the outskirts of Sintra brings to mind what you imagine a fairy tale castle to look like. This might be because it was commissioned in 1840 by Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the husband of Queen Maria II with the intent to look fantastical. The builder commissioned was Baron Eschwege and designed a palace so out of this world that it amazing for it's otherworld appearance. The palace was built on top of the foundations of a 16th century monastery.
As you approach the castle you will be overwhelmed by the onion shaped towers that hang over head. Once you enter the first gate you wonder through a maze of courtyards which feature a multitude of weird carvings and statues staring down at you. The interior of the palace feature many chambers, bedrooms and dining rooms all extravagantly furnished. Unfortunately you cannot take pictures inside of the palace. You can however take pictures from the balconies of the fantastic views. I was fortunate as the weather was very clear and the views of the surrounding countryside was stupendous. The palace also has a decent café which sits on a veranda that overlooks the rest of Sintra. It was a great place to have a small lunch and sip on a beer.
The Palacio Nacional de Pena is open from 10am to 6:30pm during the summer. It closes at 4pm during the winter season. The palace is closed down on Mondays.
Lisbon’s medieval castle stands atop the highest of the city’s seven hills and offers another vantage point with breathtaking views of the city. Most of the castle has fallen into ruin over the years, especially after the Great Earthquake of 1755. However, visitors can still climb the towers and walk along the crenellated ramparts.
Although we didn’t visit the castle (Castelo de São Jorge) on this occasion, we did spend some time wandering the pretty narrow lanes around and outside its walls. At times in these streets it is easy to forget that you are in a European capital city and instead imagine yourself in a small village somewhere. The lanes twist upwards between the old houses, and every turn brings a small surprise – a black cat basking in the sun outside a front door, a café with just a couple of tables squeezed into a strip of pavement, a colourful window-box packed with spring flowers, or an interesting piece of graffiti.
As we reached the top of our chosen path, below the walls of the castle itself, we found an oddity – an old-fashioned urinal, of all things, with an equally old-fashioned sign! This wasn’t the most fragrant of spots, but just above it an orange tree clung to the castle walls and lured us up to a more sweet-scented corner and to views of the hillside we had climbed.
All that remained was to make our way back down, by a different route, and seek out some fresh seafood for lunch ...
The official residence of the President of Portuguese Republic is a palace built in the 18th century in Belém.
It's possible to visit the palace but only in organized groups, booked through the palace's national museum.
It's far from being one of the best castles in Portugal, but its precious story, accessibility, great sights over the city, and the typicism of the surrounding quarters turn it in a mandatory visit.
At the eastern end of tram 28 line, it is a natural stop, to discover the city descending to the centre.
The conquest of Lisbon was a decisive step towards our nationality and independence.
Afonso Henriques, our first king is celebrated everywhere, and the castle is no exception.
Some people identify the small figure at the entrance as the king - it's a clear mistake: it's St Jorge and not the king whose statue is in evidence inside the castle.
During a September 2009 trip with my sister, we went up the Gloria funicular and ended up in one of the viewpoints where we saw in the distance- a castle! "Let’s go there!, " we exclaimed together, haha...
St George's Castle can be seen from several vantage points in the city and is dedicated to the patron saint of England, St. George in 1371. But its history dates back well beyond that ---- it's oldest parts come from the 6th century and "built and rebuilt" by Romans, Visgoths, Moors and so forth...
So, we did not hesitate to just grab a taxi to bring us to what is known as the St. George’s Castle which, due to its high location, provides an amazing panoramic view of the city.
Our cab driver was so entertaining and he even brought us up straight to the gate of the castle, passing through extremely small curvy cobblestone roads and it was all for just 5 Euros.
The ticket office is few steps down from the castle gate – it is a separate little building and I think I just paid 5 Euros for the entrance if I am not mistaken. But whatever it was, it was worth is because the castle grounds were wonderful to walk around in. There are several towers and small walkways and places you could climb up to – but be very careful if you have kids because they are high drops! It is also easy to get lost among the maze-like turret but just follow the crowds and they will hopefully lead you to the exit. So, if you’re in a rush, just remember places you passed so you don’t get lost going back to the entrance.
You can go up the towers and have amazing views of the city. You can explore the wonderful buildings, eat at the restaurant and also visit the archeological museum in three underground chambers with one of them being where "Vasco da Gama was once received by King Manuel."
Another must-SEE castle in Lisboa!
0900-1800 Closed Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25
This beautiful palace from the 18th century (Foz Palace), right in the centre of Lisbon, is now used as the centre for social communication ant tourist office.
Most of its richness was moved, and today some rooms may be rented for social or cultural events.
Only a block west of Terreiro do Paço, there's a small and interesting square.
City Hall a palace from the 18Th century, several times destroyed and reconstructed (last time after the fire of 1996) dominates the area, but a large and strange modern sculpture in the facing side brakes the classical look added by the court building, and the 18Th century pillory, in the middle of the square.
At left, the cathedral peeps in the background.
Saint George's Castle is probably THE landmark of Lisbon and it can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. Its oldest parts date from the 6th century, when it was fortified by the Romans, Visigoths, and eventually the Moors. You can climb the towers and walk along and get one of the best views of the city, or relax in the gardens where peacocks, geese and ducks walk around. There is also a restaurant and a small archeological garden.
The views are particularly beautiful at afternoon/sunset as you can see the sun going down on the city and the river.
Take also some time to stroll around Castelo’s neighborhood with its traditional houses where some people still live.
To get there you can either walk up from Alfama or bus catch the bus 37 in Figueira’s Square.
It’s open from 9AM-9PM (March-Oct.), 9AM-6PM (Nov.-Feb.)
The regular ticket costs 7.5€ and students under 25 4€. For Lisbon residents it’s free.
When I think of the castle of Lisbon there is a lot of things that come to my mind. First the view, the beautiful view of the city spraying from the hills, that thought that indeed you are in one of the hills where everything started and then see how it turned out.
The second is the people, it is not like other museums or monuments, since it is free for the people of the city there is a lot of local people around. A lady that goes there to sing in the morning while overlooking the horizon, the man that goes to read the newspaper or the kid running around a ball in its feet is more than a monument, it is a garden for the city filled with native species from the carob to the cork tree.
The castle was built in the XI century during the Moorish period but the history is much older with remains from Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans and even remains dating back to 7B.C. some of them that can be seen in the archeological excavation site and the museum. Unlike most castles the first idea was not to have it as a residence but to house military troops and the elite in case of siege.
In the XI century it was conquered by Afonso Henriques, the first Portuguese king. For some times it used, rotating with other castles around the country as royal residence but in the XVI century the country opened to the sea and the kings descended to the place today called Terreiro do Paço and lived there on top of the werehouses of spices. With earthquakes, fires and time passing by its walls the place loses importance.
The residence is still there, small and no how many imagine palaces. With time it was adapted several time and is today the museum, coffee and restaurant.
In the XX century the place was totally restored and became an important landmark of the city either by it’s historical importance but also by the beautiful space and wonderful view that can be seen from here. In the last years a small multimedia presentation was added in one of the castles room and a dark room with live 360º perspective from the city centre.
If you want to know more, they offer some tours along the day for free.
1 Nov to 28 Feb | 9 am to 6 pm
1 Mar to 31 Oct | 9 am to 9 pm
Castelo de São Jorge is strategic located on the top of one of the highest hills in Lisbon. The castle in its present form dates from medieval times. It was almost destroyed in the earthquake in 1755, but in the 1940s, Castelo de São Jorge was rebuilt and is now a major tourist attraction in Lisbon.
You can explore the old castle... visit the castle museum and the archaeological excavation area (with a few remains of an old Moor castle)... walk the cobbled esplanade around the castle... have a look at the square with some old cannons and a statue of Afonso Henriques (who conquered the site from the Moors)... enjoy the wonderful panoramic views of Lisbon and River Tagus... Interesting and impressive place.