Graça offers some of the best views of Lisbon
After visiting the castle, follow the tram tracks up the hill and head to Graça. It’s a neighborhood with two of the city’s most beloved viewpoints, attracting tourists and locals. While Alfama looks like a small village, Graça feels like a small town. It’s known for its “vilas operárias” (“workers villas”) built by industrialists in the late 1800s to house their workers. The largest is the tiled Vila Sousa, but the most famous is Vila Berta, as it’s one of the most popular settings of the “Santos Populares” street festivals in June.
The Vila Berta "workers' villa"
Nearby is an entire “bairro operário” (“workers' neighborhood”), the Bairro Estrela de Ouro, that’s another popular site during the June festivals.
Bairro Estrela de Ouro, a "worker's neighborhood" within Graça
Above all, Graça is a place to observe Lisbon from its highest points. Miradouro da Graça, in the shadow of the neighborhood’s main landmark (Igreja da Graça) is a meeting point in the afternoon, while Senhora do Monte is the place to be at sunset.
What to See and Do in Graça
Parasol pines provide shade to the many locals and tourists who stop at this terrace by Igreja da Graça (see below). For tourists, it’s often the finish line of a walk up the hill from Alfama and the castle, while locals use it as a meeting point. Everyone gets together for drinks, served from a kiosk, as they admire the stunning view of the castle and the city below it.
See the Graça Viewpoint Visitor's Guide.
Originally built in 1291, the convent of Our Lady of Grace and its church were destroyed by the 1755 earthquake, and were re-erected in the late 1700s, in the baroque style of the time. The church, with its grisaille ceiling, is worth a look, but the convent (which only opened to visitors for the first time in 2017) is the main attraction, with a beautiful cloister and a series of baroque tile panels.
Lisbon’s highest point gets its name (“Viewpoint of the Lady of the Mount”) from an image of the Virgin placed in front of an old chapel. It’s on a terrace with a panoramic view of almost the entire city, and it has become a very popular spot for sunset views. A tile panel illustrates the landmarks below.
Relandscaped in 2015, when it finally opened after being closed to the public for centuries, this park has a wonderful view of the castle. It’s located below Igreja da Graça, and is a picnic spot for local families and the very few tourists who happen to find it by chance.
How to Get to Graça
Graça is one of the main stops of tram 28. That’s really the only way to reach the neighborhood by public transportation, but it’s a short walk (less than 10 minutes) up the hill from the Portas do Sol viewpoint by the castle (follow the tram tracks).
You may ride the tram, as well as the city's buses, metro, funiculars and trains for free with the Lisboa Card.
Where to Stay in Graça
This hilltop hotel, just steps from the Senhora do Monte viewpoint, has some of the best panoramic views of Lisbon. Its ambience hasn't changed since it opened in 1969, and some of the 28 retro-looking rooms have balconies. Breakfast is an especially romantic experience, served on the terrace.
Also steps from the Senhora do Monte viewpoint, this is a reasonably-priced hotel with “budget” and “deluxe” rooms. It has a pleasant garden and terrace, where guests may enjoy drinks from the bar.