This magnificent castle above Lisbon is a great location to enjoy views over the city. From the castle, you can see across the city and pick out all the famous landmarks. I spent a lot of time here just taking photos and enjoying the views.
The castle of Sao Jorge was built back in the 11th century by the Moors. Following Dom Afonso Henriques' conquering of Lisbon, the castle became home to Portuguese royalty. By the 13th century, the Moorish buildings had been enlarged to accommodate their royal occupiers. Following the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, much of the castle was destroyed, however, the ruins of the Royal Palace have since been renovated and now house the castle museum and restaurant. While visiting the castle, be sure to take a look at the small museum which exhibits items found in the castle grounds, many which date back to the Moorish period.
The castle is open from 9am till 9pm between March and October and 9am to 6pm between November and February. There is an admission charge for entry and you must validate your ticket at the barriers to enter the main grounds of the castle.
I should start to write about our experience in Lisbon from the highest point of the old city, Castelo S.Jorge.
It was built by the Moors about 1000 years ago (XI century), to protect the elite city in case of emergency, its walls doing their duty only for a short period, because in 1147 the city was reconquered by the Christians.
Now the risk is gone but the siege of the city is wonderful and here you can easily plan "targets" for the days to Venn. It is easy to evaluate the distances here that will seem much smaller than seen on tourist maps.
Old Town seen from here is much smaller than shown there, down the narrow streets lined with buildings covered by so-famous ceramic tiles "azulejos".
I don’t want to write more than this, I hope you’ll appreciate our photos too.
Photo: Hilltop citadel - Lisbon's Castelo de São Jorge
What is it about a group of seven hills that makes them a magnet for a city to take root there? Rome, Amman, Barcelona, San Francisco, Prague, Istanbul - lots of others ... and Lisbon is one also. The historic heart of Lisbon is to found on these hills, and, with their steep narrow streets crammed with terra-cotta roofed buildings, they present something of a challenge to a visitor's lung capacity.
The hills rise up from narrow stretch of land along the Tejo River, the sector known as Baixa - the Lower Town. Whilst the best views are to be had from the heights of the hills (more of that later), it's also interesting to stand in the lower city and look up. Dominating the skyline to the east, the Castelo de São Jorge has stood guard over the city for hundreds of years, but long before this castle was built, the hill it stands on was the natural place to site the main defences of settlements here from the 2nd century BC and perhaps even earlier. Iberians, Romans and Visgoths all built their citadels here but the castle we see today was begun by the Moors and named the Alcáçova.
After some 400 years of Moorish rule, Crusaders captured the castle in 1147 and it finally became the seat of Christian power in the country in 1255 after which it was considerably enlarged and strengthened. King João I dedicated the castle to St George, the patron saint of England, in honour of his English queen in the 14th century. The castle was only home to the Portuguese kings for another 100 years before they moved to an altogether more comfortable palace befitting the monarchs of a powerful seafaring nation.
Centuries of use as a prison and barracks followed until restorations and the creation of lovely gardens in the second half of the 20th century saw a once grim bastion become a favourite place for locals and tourist to visit and relax. With spectacular views from the shady terraces - and occasional peeks into private hillside gardens, walltop walkways and towers, a couple of historical displays and even a small and picturesque residential area (Santa Cruz) right at the entrance, allow at least a half a day to visit the castle and surrounding area.
Within the castle precinct, there's a cafe serving coffee and the ubiquitous pasteis de nata as well as substantial Portuguese dishes for lunch at olive- and pine-tree- shaded tables. Even getting up there is fun - the famous No 28 tram will take you within a short walk via the streets of Santa Cruz.
Be sure to nod to São Jorge in his glass case as you pass through into the castle.
The castle, partly dating back to the 6th century, sits atop a hill overlooking the city. Visitors can climb the towers and ramparts for spectacular views of Lisbon. You can also sit in the castle gardens where peacocks, geese and ducks freely walk around.
St George's Castle proudly dominates the hilltop of the Alfama old town area and can be seen from various parts of the city. Parts of the castle date from the 6th century. It was once occupied by the Moors but was captured from them by Portugal's first king Afonso Henriques in 1147. Today there is quite a lot of the castle walls left and it is possible to go for a walk along its battlements. There are fantastic views over Lisbon from the castle walls. There was a restaurant inside the castle which we did not use. There were peacocks happily roaming the castle grounds. I believe there is normally an entry fee for visiting the casle but when we went on Christmas Eve it was free - not entirely sure why.
Saint George Castle (The Castle of Sao Jorge) is from 6 century and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. The castle fortified by the Romans, Visigoths and the Moors. This strongly fortified citadel, is located atop the highest hill in the historic center of the city. The great 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its degradation but today is one of the main historical sites of Lisbon
9 am – 9 pm (March – October)
9 am -6 pm (November - February)
As far as castles go, this one has all the fixings. Thick block walls, ramparts of all sizes and forms, towers, thousands of steps, and a market to boot. There are lots of informative signs as you explore.
St. George's Castle sits on a high hill in the Alfama District overlooking the city of Lisbon. The castle was built by the Moors in the 10th - 11th century. Its a little bit of a climb to walk up the castle. There is a bus route that can you there also. But for me I like to walk and explore the streets. The walk up to the castle took us through some fascinating neighborhoods and allowed views of the city below which were beautiful. Once you enter the castle and walk around its perimeter you will find beautiful views of the city and the river below. There are lots of places to sit down, relax, and enjoy the view. There is a small admission to enter the castle.
Built by the Moors in the 11th century and located atop the highest hill in the historic centre of the city, this castle is one of the main historical and touristic sites of Lisbon. Although the first fortifications on this Lisbon hilltop are known to be no older than the second century BC, archaeological research has shown that humans have occupied the site since the sixth century BC, and possibly earlier. The hill was employed in early times by indigenous Celtic tribes, and others, probably Phoenicians, Greeks, and Carthaginians, have also left their cultural footprints there. Afterwards, Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish settlers lived where the castle now stands.
The castle didn't actually remain in Moorish hands for very long as it was captured by King Afonso Henriques with the help of northern-European crusaders associated with the Second Crusade during the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. Ownership of the castle helped Lisbon to protect itself against the Moors during the last years of the twelfth century. When Lisbon became the capital of the kingdom, in 1255, the castle became the royal palace, the Alcáçova. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Dinis I.
Between 1373 and 1375, a new city wall was built around Lisbon by King Ferdinand I, of which some remnants survive. This wall, which partially replaced the old Moorish walls, was designed to encircle previously-unprotected parts of the city. It had 77 towers and a perimeter of 5400 metres, and it was completed in only two years. The castle and the city resisted the Castilian army several times during the 14th century, notably in 1373 and in 1383–4. The great 1755 Lisbon earthquake severely damaged the castle and contributed to its degradation.
The main castle area features some superb views over the city which can be seen from walking along the castle's ramparts and climbing its towers. There's also a museum (see next tip) but it is a little expensive to visit at €7.00. Has to be visited though...
Open: 9am-9pm. Admission: €7.00
This wonderful palace is located on the western side of Restauradores Square and is where you can catch the Elevador da Gloria up to Bairro Alto. The Marques de Castelo Melhor had it built by the Italian architect Fabri shortly after the 1755 earthquake. Its present name comes from the Marqués da Foz, who inherited the palace in 1869. At the beginning of the 20th century, some of the rooms were used for theatre, cinema, revista, variety and dance presentations. Today the palace houses the main tourist information office, a small gallery and a media and press department.
Palácio do São Bento is the seat of the Portuguese Parliament, known as the National Assembly. This building was originally constructed as a Benedictine monastery in 1598, and the original portions of the building are those that are in the Renaissance style. In 1820, a Liberal revolution led to the suppression of the monastic orders and many of their properties were seized by the State, including the Palace. It then became the seat of the country’s parliament, a role it has served since the 1820, through monarchy, Republican democracy and the Estado novo fascist era. In 1895, a fire caused significant damage to the building and the neo-Classical portico and columns that are characteristic of this massive structure were added. Today, there is really not a huge amount of security around the building, and it’s quite easy to come up close and to be able to take pictures. One of the special treats of visiting it, if you’re there at the right time, is the ability to take shots of the guards as they change sentries.
Right on the busiest, most touristic street in downtown Lisbon called Ruas Portas de San Antao, just above Rossio square, the same street lined by restaurants with those big fish tanks and glass windows with fish and seafood display and where you bump into restaurant callers left and right, is a haven, an oasis of quiet and beauty -- my favorite place to escape the noise the bustle of the streets outside.
With an unprespossessing facade, even bordering on shabby, it's almost hard to believe that this humble structure used to be a small palace. But the moment you're inside, it's easy to see that the interior of this building is still easily one of the most beautiful in all of Lisbon even today. As one goes up the short flight of steps and steps into the vestibule, one is welcomed into a Moorish-inspired entrance hall, and up the stairs, the walls are decorated by tiles and around these areas are Moroccan furniture. The rooms and halls are sumptious and beautifully decorated, recalling the charmed life of Lisbon's aristocrats in centuries past, and their social life -- there is a Hall of Mirrors and the gameroom. Though the furnishings are starting to become old and torn, and it feels a bit dark and musty inside, with the old big sofas in the lounge and some dusty corners, one can still appreciate the stunning wall and ceiling decorations. Two rooms, now a restaurant, are fully covered with glazed tiles, one room with tiles from the original 17th century, and the other room from the early 20th century. The Hall of Mirrors is lavish, with wonderful ceilings and chandeliers, and high windows. The walls of one room is decorated with tiles showing scenes from Alentejo rural and farm life.
This palace was built in the late 17th century and belonged to the viscounts of Alverca. In the early 20th century, the house was leased to a company that converted the building into the first casino of Lisbon - the Majestic Club. In 1928, the Casino closed, and in 1932, was leased to the Alentejo Regional Association. Today it is called Casa do Alentejo.
There is a restaurant inside, as well as a small bar. One can have a taste of Alentejo regional cuisine here, the bar is a simple even untidy affair. On the first floor is a small store selling Alentejo delicacies and specialties, and the hall below holds exhibits from time to time. Information about the Alentejo region can be had in the leaflets and information material also found in one corner of this floor.
Castelo de sao jorge is situated "on top of lisbon" in the Alfama district.
It´s an old castle that dates all the way back to the 5th century, but it has been destroyed and rebuilt a few times so you have many influences there.
It´s possible to enter the castle and the view over lisbon from there is very good.
The entrance is 5 euros, but it´s free for senior citizens over the age of 65.
Quite nice castle,and wonderful view over Lisbon.We had greta troubble finding the enterance,and so did many others.Many people where wondering around the area.It was at the same area as rua da Saudade.
I was hoping to see the camera obscura but we didn´t know that you need to book a time for that.When we went there,the next "show" in English was after two hours.And we had allready watched the whole castle..So we didn´t stay there.If you want to see it too,go first to it,and if there´s a lots of time to next group,you can go back wondering at the castle-ruins.
The Castelo de São Jorge or St. George's Castle is located at a prominent hill overlooking the Capital.
The history of the fortress goes back to the second century BC, when at that time it was seen as a strategic hilltop. In the course of time Celtic, Iberian, Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish settlers lived here.
The troops of King Afonso Henriques concuered the castle in 1147 from the Moors.
In 1255 the castle became the royal palace a.k.a. the Alcáçova. It was extensively renovated around 1300 by King Dinis I.
In the 16th century the castle lost importance, because a new Royal Palace (the Ribiera Palace) was built at the banks of the Tagus river.
An earthquake in 1531 damaged the castle and the Great Earthquake of 1755 severely damaged the castle even more.
Summer: Daily: 9AM - 9PM
Winter: Daily: 9AM - 6PM
Admission: Euro 5.00