Sao Jorge Castle is possible to be seen from any point of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, because it’s literally overhangs the city. It used to be still the Rome epoch, when right on this place the base of the fortification had been put. According to the history scientists the castle dates from the 6th century AD. In the course of 400 years the castle had served the role of the seat to the city’s rulers. The castle had been given name to Sao Jorge, who used to be the defender of England, because in 1371st year a contract for collaboration between England and Portuguese was closed. According to this agreement the castle was named after this saint. Sao Jorge has three underground champers where there’s a small archeology museum.
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What to see?
The Mauritian Castle
The castle was constructed in the middle of 11th century, which was the Mauritian epoch. The main purpose of this construction was to accommodate the armies in case of such a need. The castle has 11 towers in total among which you can see the Menagem Tower, the Royal Tower and the Tower of Saint Lorenz. In addition to these, lots of remains of older constructions are preserved here.
The Royal Palace
There’s a permanent exhibition here thanks to which you can meet the history of Lisbon in details and in the best way you can imagine. The palace is a model of the traditional local architecture, but it has some signs of the Mauritian style, too. In Royal Palace concerts, theatre performances and other interesting events take place on a regular basis.
The Garden with local forest species
It’s the only remained greenery in Lisbon where most of the local Portuguese forest species are preserved. It’s where you will also see cork oak, olive oil and many other different fruit trees. The place is a fantastic area for a walk.
There’s an optical system made of lenses and mirrors in the castle. This system provides 360-degree detailed view of the city of Lisbon in real time. You can see some of the most emblematic Lisbon’s attractions, as well as landmarks outside of the capital.
Restaurants and cafes
In Sao Jorge Castle there are restaurants and a couple of cafes. Here there are:
- The Castle Café – a self-service café, which is located in the most romantic gardens of the castle. Here you can grab a cap of coffee, beer or something for a bite. There are seats inside and outside of the café.
- Casa do Leao – it’s the castle restaurant. The restaurant is placed in the gardens, too. Here, you will offered delicious food and will be attended amazingly well, but note that the prices are quite high. If you want to have a bite here, have in mind that you will pay at least 30 EUR.
- Kiosk de Castelo Sao Jorge – it’s the café right at the entrance of the castle. There are seats at the outdoors. You can have both: fast food meals and desserts.
What should I know before a visit in Sao Jorge Castle?
- You can reach the castle with 28 tram or with E28 bus. If you are in a group of 3-4 people, it’s more affordable to get a taxi
- The castle is placed on the hill, so if you want to reach it on feet, expect some steeply climbing experience. You will need around 20-30 minutes to reach the castle entrance if you start at the river.
- The minimum time for sightseeing is from 1 to 3 hours depending on what exactly you want to see
- It’s on mandatory to wear comfy shoes, because you will walk a lot, but in addition to this, you will climb up and in case of a wet weather, the cobblestone streets become slippery.
- To avoid the crowds, try to enter with the first morning group or with the last one right before the castle closing time
- Note that there are pickpockets around the castle, so make sure to be extremely attentive especially during the high tourism season
- The castle has winter and summer working time. Check it out before a visit
- Don’t forget to put some sunscreen especially during the summer months as you will be exposed to the UV rays for a long time during the castle sightseeing walk.
We strongly recommend you to get a Skip-the-line ticket in order to avoid the long waiting on the queue at the castle entrance especially if you come to visit Lisbon in summer. You can combine your ticket with an entrance for another attraction in the city to save some money.
There are options for a guide tour in the castle, which includes visits of the collections with the archeological remains that evidence the Lisbon history. The other tour type includes a visit of Camara Escura, where you can get the amazing 360-degree view of the city in real time. You can also see the whole castle with a guide. Thus, you will become able to see the citadel, the archeological objects and the permanent exhibition. This whole experience will allow you to understand the castle history in details.
There are discounts for:
- Visitors at an age of 13-15 years old
- Kids under 12-years old and citizens of Lisbon get a free of charge entrance
The access to Sao Jorge Castle is hard for people with disabilities, as well as for small kids and parents with strollers as there are too many zones that require climbing up, plus lots of high stair steps.
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