Graça

Best known for its bi-weekly vintage market, spectacular viewpoints and striking neoclassical churches, Graça is considered by locals to be an intimate village set within the heart of the city.

Set on Lisbon’s highest hill, which crests two of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods Alfama and Mouraria, Graça is Old-World Lisbon, oh-so-traditional yet central enough that you can be in Cais do Sodré central station in a 10 minute bus ride and Avenida Liberdade (Lisbon’s answer to the Champs Elysée) in a ten-minute scooter ride. What will strike you here is the peace.  In the summertime, when the streets of Alfama are jammed, you’ll find space, sunlight gleaming off the striking alabaster curves of the majestic Pantheon and… men in uniform.  Graça is home to Lisbon’s Navy so don’t be surprised to run into Generals in full regalia or Officers smoking cigarettes in the morning sun like a black-and-white film from the 1920s.

While the traditional heart of Graça consists of a mini high-street of local shops that winds between two of Lisbon’s best viewpoints, Miradouro de Santa Graça and Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, the real gem of the area is the Santa Clara Market and the park that slopes down alongside of it, slanting to meet gleaming views of the river Tejo that flicker and dances between the Jacaranda trees. A favourite among artists, writers and young families, Graça maintains a low-key, local air, yet with undertones of under-the-radar chic.  It helps that within 10 minutes, you can be enjoying live fado in one of Alfama’s late night dens. Traditionally a left-leaning neighbourhood, Graça is loved by families as the location of one of the country’s leading public schools, O Voz de Operário, which offers highly-regarded teaching at affordable prices.

  • Baixa-Chiado - 15 minutes by bus
  • Costa da Caparica- 40 minutes by car
  • Portela Airport - 10 minutes by car
  • Príncipe Real - 20 minutes by car
  

The experts say

The recent opening of hip hotels such as Santa Clara 1728 and restaurants like Taberna do Mar have upped Graça’s style stakes, acting as a portent of times to come. Investing in property in Graça is investing in a high quality of life in a neighbourhood that is very much on the up, with some of the city’s most interesting new projects in the pipeline. These include the opening of a private member’s club, a handful of stylish boutique hotel and the transformation of the Santa Clara market into a mini Time Out Food Market.

The property market in Graça

Prices for apartments and houses for sale in Graça are on the up, with a rise in 82% over the past year. If this sounds steep, it is more a reflection of how undervalued the area was. The average price per sqm of a refurbished 2 bedroom apartment in Graça with a terrace or views over the river still ranges between €3,000-€5,000. Expect wide elegant streets, apartments and houses that come with gardens and roof-terraces and then charming cottages set in secret squares.

  • The striking baroque domed palace the Pantheon honours Portugal’s greatest explorers, such as Vasco da Gama.  Don’t miss a visit to the roof-top for striking 360-degree views.
  • Another of the neighbourhood’s striking churches, the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora, was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King as one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal.
  • Graça only really became populated in the late 1700s, as the preferred residence of workers who arrived from across Portugal to rebuild the historic centre and lower parts of the city after they were destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755.

Three insiders tips for Graça

EAT: Divine mushroom based dishes at Santa Clara dos Cogumelos, a charming spot is tucked away above the main market that specialises in exceptional, affordable dishes crafted from mushrooms.
DO: Watch the sunset while playing backgammon at the iconic viewpoint Miradouro da Graça
SHOP: For vintage clothes and antiques at the bi-weekly Feira da Ladra

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