Sunday, 19 April 2015

Portugal - The Castle and the views over Lisbon

We managed to pick the only day it rained or drizzled during our stay, to go to Lisbon, but with only 1 day left before our departure, we had no choice!

My husband, sister and myself drove from Cascais via the Marginal (the coastal road linking Cascais to Lisbon), past the Discoveries Monument , the view of the Bridge crossing the river Tagus - 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge) - and parked the car in the city.

Bridge 25th April with  Christ the King statue on the other side of the River Tagus

First on my wish list was a ride on the old yellow Tram nr. 28 up to Saint George Castle

We walked to Rua da Conceicao and caught the tram already packed with tourists on their way to one of Lisbon's seven hills. Up the narrow cobbled streets we went, and got off when the driver announced the Castle stop.
Tram 28 on the way to the city centre

The pergola at Santa Luzia Lookout

Right there next to the tram stop was the Church of Sao Bras (Igreja de Sao Bras)  and the Santa Luzia Lookout (Miradouro de Santa Luzia) where we stood under the pergola admiring the view over the Alfama suburb rooftops and the Tagus river.

From the pergola of Santa Luzia, you can see the National Pantheon (Panteao Nacional) and the Monastery of Saint Vincent (Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora) - on the left and right of the photo below.

The National Pantheon to the left (round dome) , St Estevan Church and the Alfama suburb

The National Pantheon (as seen on the left of previous photo)

On the walls of the Sao Bras church, facing the pergola are two tiled panels - The one on the right is of "Commerce Square" (Praca do Comercio) before Lisbon was struck by the earthquake of 1755, and the panel on the left depicts St. George's Castle being taken over from the Moors in 1147.

We got back on the street, and just a few metres to the left there was another lookout - Portas do Sol (Miradouro das Portas do Sol), above the Alfama district with magnificent views once again. On the terrace below there is a Cafe if you want to rest while you admire the views.

At the centre of this square is a statue of Saint Vincent - Lisbon's patron saint - holding the symbols of the city - a boat and 2 ravens. 
In the distance you can see St Vincent's Monastery (Igreja de Sao Vicente de Fora), which was built in 1627.
To complete this setting, an elderly man sang some soulful "Fado" songs and people dropped a few coins into his hat.
Portas do Sol Square and lookout terrace - St Vincent statue and St Vincent Monastery
Statue of St Vincent, the city's patron Saint
The Fado player
Time to leave this idyllic spot and climb the cobbled streets up to the St George's Castle.
Built in the 6th century, part of it was destroyed in the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.
On the way up we came across this public urinol, I wonder if it's still used?

The castle is open from 9am to 6pm in winter and to 9pm in summer, tickets cost $8,50.
We opted for not going inside the castle as we still had lots to see, but I know that the views from the Castle over the city are amazing, so if you have some time go inside.

Public urinol near St George's castle

One of the staircases near the castle

Within the Castle's thick outer walls there is a small neighbourhood of Santa Cruz.

We just decided to have a short break and have a Portuguese custard tart (pastel de natal) and a hot drink at "The World needs nata" right across the entry to the Castle. 
Wow, the tarts were good, warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon, oozy when you bit into them....  Just delicious!!

The World needs Nata for a great Custard tart, near the Castle

There are also a few restaurants and bars as well as souvenir shops.
I bought some interesting souvenirs made with the traditional cork and tiles to bring to some friends in Australia.

Now we could either get the Tram 28 back to the city or choose another fun means of transport - the tuk-tuk won, and in exchange for 15 Euros, the three of us were driven downtown to Chiado. We laughed all the way...
And can you guess what the driver glued to his tuk-tuk? 
If you guesses custard tarts, you were right!!

The driver took a photo of us in the tuk-tuk. 

Tram 28 again


  1. Lisboa a minha cidade. Bonita?

  2. Lisboa, uma das mais bonitas cidades do mundo. Com mais sol. E as sete colinas dão-lhe beleza. Suas gentes hospitaleiras. Aqui, além da língua nativa, falam-se outras línguas para receber bem o turista. Onde é que em outras cidades do mundo se preocupam em nos retribuir esta gentileza? Viva Portugal! Viva o seu povo maravilhoso!.

    1. Obrigada, e na verdade uma cidade interessante e cheia de cultura.

  3. Dearest Sami,
    Happy to see some familiar things here; despite the rain you had but like you said; no choice! Not the luxury of another day...
    So much history and such a rich culture. Those custard tarts are yummy and with a hot drink that makes you feel fuzzy and warm again. Surprised about those tuk-tuks in Lisbon, know them from Asia.
    Sending you love and blessings for your Sunday.

    1. Thanks Mariette, the tuk-tuks are a recent addition to Lisbon, and they seem to be quite popular with tourists and locals alike. A quick, cheap and easy way to get around the narrow streets of Lisbon.

  4. Sad to have a bad rainy day for Lisbon. But you have seen nice things anyway. I recognize the tramride up,we did too. The tuk tuk is new I think, you see them in several cities in Europe nowadays.

    1. Yes, Mariette, it's recent in Portugal, but quite a lot of fun!

  5. Sad that the weather was rather bad - still you got some amazing shots, beautiful!
    And the tuk-tuk! :-) Reminds me of the coco taxis in Varadero/Cuba... Great you had a fun time after all!

    1. The rain wasn't too bad, sometimes just a drizzle, but we made the best of the day and managed to see lots of stuff. The tuk-tuks are brilliant.

  6. Mesmo com os céus nublados, Lisboa não perde o seu encanto :) Boas fotos!

    1. E verdade Luis, obrigada pela visita.


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