Igreja de São Miguel is found in the center of Alfama's maze of narrow streets
The entire interior of this church is filled with gilded woodcarving, but what's most remarkable is the high altar begun in 1723. It includes images of the Four Evangelists together with other ornamental elements, in a work by two of the greatest master woodcarvers of the time.
The church's remarkable high altar survived the 1755 earthquake
In addition to the rich and beautiful gilding, there are paintings attributed to Bento Coelho da Silveira, the royal painter of King Pedro II and one of the prominent Portuguese artists of the 17th century.
The golden interior of the church
Although it’s right in the heart of the Alfama neighborhood, with many tourists constantly passing by the door, the church only opens twice a week for Mass.
The exterior is rather plain, completely painted in white, and with just a historic tile panel on the wall on the left. It dates from the 1770s, and illustrates Our Lady of the Rosary with baby Jesus, above St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena, framed by a yellow floral motif, typical of the rococo period.
The church faces a tiny square which is the stage of many of the main activities of the annual street festival that takes place in the neighborhood in the month of June.
How to Get to Igreja de São Miguel
Located in the maze of the Alfama, there is no public transportation in the surroundings. However, from the Portas do Sol viewpoint you may take the steps down to Alfama, and you’ll see the church at the bottom.
You can reach Alfama by walking up the hill from downtown and the cathedral, following the tram tracks, or taking bus 737 or tram 28.
You may ride bus and the tram (as well as the city’s metro, funiculars and trains) for free with the Lisboa Card.
Largo de São Miguel, Alfama
Admission and Tickets to Igreja de São Miguel
Admission is free.
Only opens on Thursdays at 6pm and on Saturdays at 5pm (it doesn’t open on Thursdays in the months of July, August and September). Note that these hours are subject to change without notice, so you may be lucky to find it open at other times.
A short walk through Alfama’s narrow streets will take you to the other main church of the neighborhood, Igreja de Santo Estêvão, which stands on a terrace with a view.
Down by the riverfront is the Fado Museum.