The Church of São Vicente de Fora is a monastery and church in Lisbon containing the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal, serving as the final resting spot for all the Portuguese kings from 1640 to 1910. Originally built as a convent in the 12th century, the monastery was constructed in honor of Saint Vincent outside the city walls (“de fora”). It was restored after sustaining damage in the earthquake of 1755.
A highlight for many visitors today is the collection of 18th-century traditional blue and white ceramic tiles that depict life at court as well as the fables of La Fontaine. The site’s interior and cloisters are both intricately tiled, and in the church, visitors can see the ornate Baroque altarpiece designed by Joaquim Machado de Castro, one of Portugal’s most famous sculptors. The symmetrical facade has two elegant bell towers built in an Italian Renaissance style, and great views of the city and Tagus River can be seen from the rooftop.
The church stands on a hill east of Alfama on Largo de Sao Vicente. It is open Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sunday from 9 am to 12:30 pm and 3-5 pm. Take tram 28 or buses 12 or 28 to get there. Admission is free.