São Jorge Castle

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites Castelo de São Jorge
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Castelo de São Jorge
© Lydia Evans / Time Out

The hilltop was fortified even before the arrival of the Roman legions; in later centuries the castle walls were strengthened by Visigoths and Moors, before falling to Portugal's first king, Afonso Henriques, in 1147. His statue stands in the square just past the main gate. From the 14th to the 16th centuries, Portugal's kings resided in the Palácio de Alcaçovas, the remains of which now house a snack bar and a display of finds from the ongoing archaeological digs.

The castle itself has undergone numerous transformations. Back in the 1930s, several government offices and a firehouse were removed from the grounds, exposing the walls, which were duly topped with supposedly authentic-looking battlements. There have been several makeovers since then. The battlements of the Castelejo (keep) have ten towers, which may be climbed; in one is a Cámara Obscura (10am-5pm) from which you can see key city monuments and spy on people downtown, as well as learning how the contraption works.

Beyond the keep is an area where labelled displays trace out dwellings from prehistoric times and the late Islamic period, as well as the ruins of the last palatial residence on this hill, destroyed by the 1755 earthquake.

Posted:

Venue name: São Jorge Castle
Contact:
Address: R de Santa Cruz do Castelo
Lisbon
1100-129
Opening hours: Daily 9am-6pm (Nov-Feb) & Daily 9am-9pm (Mar-Oct)
Transport: Metro Rossio/Martim Moniz. Bus 12E, 28E, 737
Price: €8.50; €5 reductions; free under-11s
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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LiveReviews|2
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tastemaker

Worth the walk up to see some stunning panoramic views of the city of Lisbon! Although it's mostly houses, it's such a different view to your typical viewpoint. 

Tastemaker

My friends and I all agreed this was one of the most fun castles we've ever been to. No other castle lets you run so freely around, exploring all the nooks and crannys and getting completely lost along the way, as you wander up and down narrow stair wells and along the ruined walls.

Alongside exploring the original structure of the internal walls, you get to explore the outer area as well, with fantastic views of Lisbon below. If you have time, it's well worth grabbing an archaeological tour, where we were taken around a reconstruction of an original Arabic village and learned all about the history of the castle as it's occupants changed hands, over the centuries.