The next place on our Lisbon list to explore was the Castle of Sao Jorge. We spent the morning in Commerce Square and dithered about whether to walk from there to the castle or take Tram 28. One tram passed us by while we debated, another was on the way and had space so we quickly jumped on board. I was more than glad we did that. We were at the lowest part of the city, the castle is at the highest and a mighty amount of stamina to hike all those hills plus listen to Son moaning would have been a challenge.
The tram passes right by the castle but it still takes a steep, hard hike to get to the entrance along some rather slippery cobbles – comfy shoes are a must here.
We found a gorgeous spot up some steps from the tram stop. Stunning views, crumbling old buildings and artists at work meant it was the perfect place to catch our breath before tackling the next hill to the castle entrance.
This part was seriously steep and involved huffing, puffing and groaning from Son but we made it. My heart sank when we saw a huge queue – just to buy the tickets to go inside. Hot and sweaty after that walk, I was really not in the mood for huge crowds and standing around. However the line did move fast and soon we were inside. Plenty of people around for sure but it didn’t feel at all crowded inside the castle grounds, there was stacks of space for everyone to spread out.
The real highlight of this castle is the location. It is right on top of the Alfama Hill with the city and river laid out below – picture postcard perfect.
It looks authentic but is actually a reconstruction. The original castle dated back to the 10th century when it was a royal palace. Kings lived here until 1511 then moved to a new pad on Commercial Square which was destroyed in the earthquake. The reconstruction here is based on the 11th century layout.
We just loved those views – I can’t rave about them enough. Some of the best views of Lisbon (in my humble opinion) are from up here. We strolled, walked around the ramparts and looked down at the River Tagus, Alfama and those red rooftops.
We also got a great view of the Santa Justa Elevator – Son was more than excited as we were planning to ride it later in the evening.
Much of the castle is a shell but it is fun to explore. We climbed loads of steps, walked along ramparts and Son found no end of nooks and crannies to peek into.
Peacocks strutting their stuff everywhere added to the ambiance and there were plenty of little cafes to get refreshments. We spent a couple of chilled out hours just wandering and loved it.