The Graça neighborhood is one of the oldest and most historic in Lisbon. Its history dates back to the 13th century, when the Moors still occupied the city. The region was already under Christian rule since the conquest of Lisbon in 1147, led by the first king of Portugal, Afonso Henriques.
From the 16th century, Graça became an upscale neighborhood, with the construction of palaces and convents. During the 1755 earthquake, it was badly affected and many buildings were destroyed. However, Graça was rebuilt and continued to be an important cultural and religious center in Lisbon.
Graça is characterized by its historic architecture, with old buildings and typical Portuguese tiles. The narrow, winding streets add a unique charm to the neighborhood, creating a warm and picturesque atmosphere. Tram 28 crosses Rua da Graça in both directions, offering the opportunity for exceptional photographs, both from inside and outside the tram.
One of the highlights of Graça is viewpoint of Senhora do Monte, offering panoramic views of the city. Graça Sq is another important attraction, with its traditional cafes and restaurants.
Convent of Graça gave its name to the neighborhood. It was founded in 1271 by the Order of Augustinians and later renovated and expanded throughout the 15th and 16th centuries.
The church of Convento da Graça is one of the main attractions of the place, featuring a Baroque and Rococo style and standing out for its ornate façade and richly decorated interiors. The church also houses an important collection of religious art, including paintings, sculptures and gilded carving.
Convento da Graça is also known for offering one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Lisbon from its terrace as well as from the viewpoint of Graça just ahead of church’s main door. From both places, you can see the Castle of São Jorge, the Tagus River and several other tourist attractions in the city.
Graça neighborhood has always attracted street artists, but the year 2021 witnessed the explosion of this type of urban art. Street art lovers will find in Graça an exceptional agglomeration of street art works, notably artists Vhils, Shepard Fairey, Add Fuel, Mário Belém, Oze Arv, Sphiza, among others. Walking or taking a tuk tuk are the ideal ways to explore the Graça neighbourhood, in the alleys where tram 28 and buses cannot enter.
Many of Lisbon’s best known neighborhoods have lost their popular character, as hotels and airbnb have been expelling residents to peripheral areas, however Graça maintains its most genuine characteristics, being a quiet and residential neighborhood, with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The locals are known for being hospitable and welcoming, which makes the neighborhood a great option for anyone looking to experience Portuguese culture.