St George’s Castle

An impressive Moorish castle, overlooking the historic centre of Lisbon and the Tagus River.

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Watch out for the peacocks...

St George’s Castle occupies the foremost strategic position in Lisbon, sat atop its highest hill. Fortifications have existed here since the Iron Ages, and its military value was acknowledged by the Romans and Visigoths, but the current structure was built in the middle of the 11th Century, during the Moorish Era. Following the ‘Reconquista’, when the Portuguese took back the Iberian peninsula from the Moors, the castle became the main residence of Portuguese kings.

Paranoid Palace

The castle complex is encased in formidable outer walls which offer outstanding views of the city and sea below. Inside, a parade ground and beautifully maintained gardens lead you towards the citadel, which is sealed off by ramparts connecting eleven crenellated towers. You can walk from tower to tower, and get some impression of what a forbidding place this would have been to attack.

Indeed subsequent Portuguese kings were quite paranoid about the Moors making a return. They had the walls, cellar and wells of the castle upgraded to withstand long sieges. The slope leading to the main entrance was made steeper and a sharp turn was added to prevent the use of battering rams or cavalry changes.

Putting Your Body On the Line

The entrance to the castle, the Gate of Martim Moniz, was dedicated to a noble Portuguese knight of the same name. Legend has it that he was part of the Christian invasion lead by King Afonso Henrique during the reconquest of Lisbon. He led an attack during the siege of St George’s Castle and managed to prevent the gates shutting by putting his own body in the way. That rush of blood to the head obviously killed him, but his body wedged the gates open and the castle was taken.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
This impressive Roman Catholic cathedral dates from 1147 and has survived a number of earthquakes.
Lisbon's labyrinthine oldest district houses a variety of historical churches, fado bars and restaurants.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
This romantic terrace offers amazing views of Lisbon & the Tagus River.
Former PIDE Headquarters
Uncover the secrets and scandals of the Portuguese security agency.
Roman Theatre Museum
The site of a 1st century Roman theatre, situated on the slope of St. George's Castle.
Portas do Sol
A spectacular viewpoint looking out over Lisbon and the Tagus river.

Related Tours

The City of the Seven Hills: Private Tour of Lisbon Highlights
Known as The City of The Seven Hills, Lisbon is a city of contrasts, with winding streets, colourful buildings, hilly terrain and a history as rich as it is fascinating. Lisbon is also famous for its rich culture, year-round sunshine, hilly terrain, breathtaking vistas, surprising delicacies, and historical yellow trams.

On your private tour, you will: 

  • Enjoy a fully guided tour of Lisbon Castle, the highest point of Lisbon city, the site of some of its earliest 8th century BC settlements and a fortress that for centuries played a key part in the history of the city; 
  • Learn of Lisbon's tumultuous past, take in the spectacular views over the city and walk the walls of the medieval fortress;
  • Then, walk down streets lined with artisanal shops and learn about the craft of the colourful Portuguese azulejo tiles;  
  • Stop at one of Lisbon's most beautiful viewpointsthe Miradouro de Santa Luzia, decorated with magnificent tiles, this is a favourite spot for lovers and local street musicians; 
  • See the Sé Cathedral, often just known as Sé—one of the city’s oldest and most well-known sites, which has withstood several natural disasters, including the 9.0 earthquake of 1755;
  • Admire the Praça do Comércio, where the royal palace stood for over two hundred years until 1755, and today one of the city’s most recognisable squares;
  • Walk through the Baixa neighbourhood, Lisbon's downtown,  and see the city's most famous squares and landmarks, including Rua Augusta and the historic Santa Justa lift! 
  • Enjoy time at Praca Dom Pedro IV, one of the iconic sites in the city where your guide departs.

Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 12th century and has been a centre of art and learning since the 15th century. It was once the hub for the Age of Discovery as well as a major trading centre for goods from Africa and Asia. As such, it boasts an impressive collection of churches and monuments from around the world.

The city's name comes from its seven hills, which are still visible today—the highest is St. George's Castle Hill, at 213 meters (700 feet)

On this half-day private walking tour, your guide will give you an overview of the city's history from its foundation to the present day. You will visit the famous São Jorge Castle, which dates back to the 11th century with breathtaking views over the city, as well as the Se' Cathedral and the historic downtown area of Baixa where you can find many of the city's most famous landmarks: Rossio Square, the Elevador de Santa Justa, Rua Augusta, and of course, the majestic Praça do Comércio, the riverfront commercial hub of the city. 

Lisbon & Belem: Private Full-Day Tour with tickets and Boat Trip

Portugal's capital city of Lisbon is built upon seven hills known as the seven giants — São Jorge, São Vicente, São Roque, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas e Sant'Ana — all of them visible when arriving in Lisbon by the river. This private walking tour of Lisbon & Belém will take you through the city, past its iconic landmarks, castles, and gardens and will include a River Cruise to boot.

On your private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy an all-inclusive and fully guided private tour with an expert, licensed guide;
  • Enjoy a tour of Lisbon Castle, and enjoy the spectacular views over the city (tickets included);
  • See the top sites of the city centre, from the city's highest viewpoint to the waterfront pier in the historic commercial centre;
  • Brief stop at Sé Cathedral, often just known as Sé—one of the city’s oldest and most well-known sites, which has withstood several natural disasters, including the 9.0 earthquake of 1755;
  • Walk down streets lined with artisanal shops and learn about the craft of the colourful Portuguese azulejo tiles;
  • Enjoy time in the old harbour and Praça do Comércio, where the royal palace stood for over two hundred years until 1755 and one of the city’s most recognisable squares;
  • Learn of Portugal's rich Naval history and its age of world exploration in the Belem neighbourhood;
  • See the UNESCO-listed Torre de Belém and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (from the outside);
  • Enjoy a fully guided tour of Jerónimos Monastery Church and Cloister (tickets included);
  • Enjoy a Cruise along the Tagus River - see the 25th of April bridge and the Cristo Rei statue - accompanied by your tour guide (tickets included)

From the imposing São Jorge Castle, the view encompasses the old city’s faded pastel-coloured buildings, Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge. Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Lisbon is a city of colourful balconies and views, trams and cobbled streets. Belém is a laid-back area of Lisbon on the Tagus River, known for its colourful houses and breathtaking landmarks that recall Lisbon’s seafaring history, like the 16th-century Tower of Belém. Your tour will end after the cruise back to central Lisbon. 



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