Castle of São Jorge

Castle of Sao Jorge showing views, a castle and a city

This medieval fortress offers insight into Lisbon’s long history as well as stunning views of the city and river below.

The Castle of São Jorge is a huge medieval structure that overlooks the city. Take a guided tour to learn about Lisbon’s past and enjoy views across the capital from the castle’s grounds.

The Castle of São Jorge is a challenging walk from the centre of Lisbon, but the rewards are worth the effort. Stroll past clubs where traditional Portuguese ballads are performed nightly. Stop at an outdoor café with a view and sip a glass of port wine. Admire the glazed tiles on the historic buildings and pottery in the windows of charming shops.

You can see this 6th-century Moorish fortress from almost anywhere in the city. Stop to admire the immensity of the structure as you approach the stone gate that marks the entrance. The castle was the Moorish royal residence until Portugal’s first king, Alfonso Henriques, took it over in 1147. The fortress continued to serve as the royal palace until another palace was built in Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio) in the city center.

Take a guided tour for a fee or stroll on your own through the gardens and up into the medieval towers. While much of the original castle has been destroyed, there’s still a long extension of stone walls and 18 towers. Climb the towers and walk along the terraces for views of the city and the River Tagus. The sight is particularly breathtaking at sunset, when the fading light reflects off Lisbon’s whitewashed houses. Visit the Tower of Ulysses, which houses the Câmara Escura, a periscope where you can enjoy views from around the city.

The Castle of São Jorge is located above the Alfama district. It is accessible by bus or on foot.

The castle is open daily and there is an entrance fee. Stay for a meal at the on-site restaurant and shop for souvenirs at the gift shop.

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