View of the church of St. Stephen from the Beco das Cruzes alley in Alfama
This church stands out in the Alfama skyline, together with the National Pantheon and the St. Vincent Monastery. It's a monument built in 1733, over the foundations of a 12th-century temple, with an interior that's a fine example of Portuguese Baroque.
The baroque interior of the church
Unlike many other churches of the time (including Igreja de São Miguel nearby), this one is not completely covered in gilt, featuring instead a main altar in stone and a series of sculptures (showing a crucified Christ surrounded by angels). To see it you'll have to attend Mass on Sunday morning, as doors are usually closed.
The churchyard offers a view over the neighborhood of Alfama
The 1755 earthquake damaged part of the exterior, leaving just one of two original towers. Beside it is a terrace serving as a viewpoint (known as “Miradouro de Santo Estêvão”) overlooking the river and the Alfama neighborhood.
The church only opens twice a week, for Mass
After admiring the view, follow the steps down the hill towards the waterfront, going past picturesque houses and alleys that give the neighborhood its village atmosphere.
How to Get to Igreja de Santo Estêvão
This church is found in the center of the maze of narrow streets that make up Alfama. There is no public transportation nearby, but you’ll see it on a walk through the neighborhood. It’s suggested that you enter Alfama from the steps that go down the hill from the Portas do Sol viewpoint. You can reach the viewpoint and Alfama on tram 28 or bus 737, or by walking up the hill from downtown and the cathedral, following the tram tracks.
You may ride the tram and the bus (as well as the city’s metro, funiculars and trains) for free with the Lisboa Card.
Largo de Santo Estêvão, Alfama
Admission and Tickets to Igreja de Santo Estêvão
The church is free.
Only opens on Sundays (at 11:30am) and Tuesdays at 6pm (it doesn’t open on Tuesdays in the months of July, August and September). Note that these hours are subject to change without notice.
Walking through Alfama you’ll eventually see the other main church of the neighborhood, Igreja de São Miguel. Down by the riverfront is the Fado Museum.