Monastery of S. Vincent

The origin of the monastery of S. Vincent dates back to the siege of Lisbon in 1147. The knights who made up the 2nd crusade grouped in two camps outside the city walls, one to the west (currently Chiado) and the other to the east that would come to give rise to the Monastery of S. Vincent.

Monastery of S. Vincent
Monastery of S. Vincent seen from Porta do Sol

The monastery of S. Vincent was built by the 1st King of Portugal, Afonso Henriques, and was already very degraded in the 16th century. From this original monastery, the cistern for collecting rainwater has come to our days.

Monastery of S. Vincent
Entrance to the Monastery

 The new monastery began to be built in 1582 and was completed in 1629. The architecture is considered one of the examples of Mannerism in Portugal.

Monastery of S. Vincent
View from the top of the Monastery

The visit to the monastery of S. Vincent is an important part of the visit to the eastern part of Lisbon, and can be combined with a visit to the National Pantheon or the Flea Market.
There is no shortage of interesting reasons to visit, such as the cloisters, the large collection of Baroque tiles, the Braganza family pantheon, the cardinals’ pantheon, the fables of La Fontaine presented in 18th century tiles and, the icing on the cake , the roof of the church that can be walked along the entire length and constitutes the best viewpoint of the old city.

Recommended duration of visit: 2h to 2h30m 
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00 with the last entry at 17:00 (if you can, go earlier)
The entrance is made through a door in the side wall, on the right side facing the Church.
Closed January 1, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
The entrance price is €5 but there are several discounts (seniors and young people). Admission is free for children

Warning: the visit can be challenging for people with reduced mobility, especially access to the roof of the Church.

Curiosities:

  • Emperor Pedro I of Brazil was buried in this place until 1972, the year in which he was transferred to the monument of independence in Brazil
  • Catherine of Braganza, who was Queen Consort of England after her marriage to Charles II, is buried here
  • the church has one of the few church ceilings in Lisbon that survived the 1755 earthquake
  • from the roof of the Church you can see the National Pantheon from an upper level
  • the church and the monastery, although co-existing, are managed by different entities
  • in the monastery, more than 100,000 tiles from the 18th century can be seen
  • the monastery is said “from outside” because in the 12th century. it was located outside the walls

Sao Pedro Alcantara

Each major viewpoint of Lisbon (Sao Pedro Alcântara, Senhora do Monte and Santa Luzia) has each one it’s own fan club, each one is outstanding, but São Pedro Alcantara is my favorite. From Sao Pedro Alcantara Viewpoint, you can get a “postcard like” view over old Lisbon.

On the top of the confronting hill you can see Viewpoint of Senhora do Monte and after that, left to right, there is the imposing convent and Church of Graça, the the pinnacle of Pantheon, the twined towers of Saint Vincent, Saint George Castle and in the far right, the Cathedral. Santa Luzia viewpoint and Alfama cannot be seen because they are hidden by the castle.

Sao Pedro Alcantara Viewpoint
View from São Pedro de Alcântara

Closer to the viewpoint there is the quarter of Mouraria and the valley represented by Avenida da Liberdade.

According to the atmospheric conditions, time of year and even time of day, S. Pedro Alcantara offer different and distinct views. In sunny days, the best view is offered one hour before the sunset when the castle hill appears illuminated.

São Pedro de Alcantara garden
São Pedro de Alcantara garden

The name is given by Convent of Sao Pedro de Alcantara (17th century). The closer quarter is Bairro Alto and a little more far away is Chiado. Nearby points of interest are funicular of Glória and Saint Roque (Rock) Church.

Viewpoint of Sao Pedro Alcantara is included in tour Chiado/Bairro Alto.

Senhora do Monte

From the viewpoint of Senhora do Monte, there is a panoramic view over the city of Lisbon. Looking towards the river Tagus, the hill of the castle of S. Jorge is a must for visitors. The flat area to the right of the castle hill is Baixa, the area rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake and bordered by Rossio and Figueira squares on one side and Praça do Comércio by the river. Further to the right we have Chiado, with the ruins of the Carmo Church and Santa Justa lift. Further on, we can see the 25 April bridge and Christ statue.

Senhora do Monte – Castle, Baixa and Chiado

In the foreground you can see the neighborhood of Mouraria and Martim Moniz square, where the tram 28 starts and ends. Right in front is the viewpoint of S. Pedro de Alcântara and Bairro Alto. On the horizon line you can see the white dome of the Basilica of Estrela.

Senhora do Monte – Chiado and Bairro Alto

Many locals and visitors look for the Senhora do Monte viewpoint to watch the sunset.

Senhora do Monte - night view
Senhora do Monte – night view

The name of the viewpoint is given by the chapel of Senhora do Monte, which existed on the site since 1147 and was rebuilt at the end of the 18th century.

Senhora do Monte viewpoint is included in the “old city” tour.

Santa Luzia

Santa Luzia viewpoint is the most Instagramable spot of Lisbon. Built on the old wall, offers a privileged view over Alfama, the oldest neighborhood of Lisbon, over the Tagus and the south bank.

Pantheon and Saint Stephan

From this viewpoint it’s possible to see Pantheon and the church of Saint Stephan. Towards the river there is the pink building of Museum of Fado and the church of Saint Michael. In Tagus banks there is the modern Cruise Ship Terminal.

Santa Luzia Viewpoint - view over Alfama
Museum of Fado and Saint Michael Church

The name of the viewpoint was borrowed from the imposing Santa Luzia Church of the Sovereign Order of Malta. In the Church’s wall there are 2 magnificent panels of tiles, representing the conquest of Lisbon in 1147 and the other the medieval Square of Commerce as existed before the earthquake of 1755.

The conquest of Lisbon – 2nd Crusade (1147)

Santa Luzia viewpoint is included in tour “Old Lisbon”.