Guide to Igreja de São Roque: Church & Museum

The São Roque Church or Igreja de São Roque, built in the 16th century for the Jesuits, is one of the most beautiful churches in Lisbon.

The plain façade gives no hint of the treasures inside. A wealth of golden ornaments, lavishly decorated chapels and Jesuit sacred art are waiting to be discovered.

In addition, visitors can admire a myriad of astonishing religious artworks in the adjoining Museum of São Roque.

Read this guide to learn everything you need to know before your visit, including the history of the church, the museum’s exhibition, opening hours and more.

Let’s start!

Things to do at Igreja de São Roque

The Igreja de São Roque was the first Jesuit church in Portugal and also one of the earliest Jesuit churches in the world, serving the Jesuits for almost 200 years. 

It is one of the few structures that were not destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.

With its rich history and magnificent sacred splendor, the stunning church is well worth a visit.

See here the Top Things to do in São Roque Church:

Things to do at Igreja de São Roque in Lisbon

1. Marvel at the Interior

Entering the Igreja de São Roque, you will be stunned by the wealth of precious decorations. The interior is a blend of Mannerist and Baroque styles, with numerous sculptures, relics, marble inlays, reliquaries and gilded woodwork.

The following elements are not to be missed:

  • Ceiling: Particularly impressive is the ceiling of the church with a painting in Mannerist style, created in the technique of trompe-l'oeil, depicting scenes from the Apocalypse.
  • Sacristy: The sacristy, one of the earliest constructed by the Society of Jesus, is adorned with three monumental series of paintings. The first one depicts scenes from the life of Saint Francis Xavier, the second series shows the “Passion of Christ,” and the one on the upper level represents episodes from the founder of the Society of Jesus.
  • Azulejos: Take time to admire the azulejos, the painted ceramic tiles, a major element of Portuguese decorative art.
  • Altars: There are three altars of gold and marble inside the church. The two altars that flank the chancel contain valuable 16th and 17th-century reliquaries.
  • Organ: Pay attention to the pipe organ dating from 1784, built by the remarkable Portuguese Baroque organ builder António Xavier Machado.

→ Visiting a church is one of the highlights for rainy day activities in Lisbon. Looking for other suggestions? Check out our ideas and some suggestions for activities for kids in Lisbon

Discover the Chapels of Igreja de Sao Roque in Lisbon

2. Discover the Chapels

The Igreja de São Roque houses some of the most magnificent chapels, decorated with precious materials. In total, there are eight chapels, built and added at different times, which captivate visitors.

The highlight of São Roque Church is undoubtedly the 18th century side chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It was built in Rome and sent to Lisbon by ship after being blessed by the Pope. With its golden decorations and its wealth of precious stones and ivory, it's reportedly the most expensive chapel built in Europe to date.

Also worth seeing is the Chapel of São Roque at the right side, dating from the second half of the 16th century.

 →  Lisbon's top churches and religious sites are all fascinating and unique. Discover the full list in our related article and plan your trip to Lisbon!

Visit the Museum of São Roque in Lisbon

3. Visit the Museum of São Roque

Be sure to visit the neighboring museum, housed in the former Professed House of the Society of Jesus. It holds one of the most important collections of religious art in Portugal.

Particularly worth seeing are the holy relics, paintings, the Oriental Art Collection and the artifacts from the chapel with ornately embroidered vestments and Italian goldsmith's work.

The exhibition is arranged in chronological order.

It is divided into the following five sections:

  • The history of the Hermitage of São Roque: This area exhibits objects related to the history of this historic structure, including two inscribed tombs.
  • Collection dedicated to the Society of Jesus: This section documents the 200 years in which the church of São Roque was used as the home church of the Jesuits.
  • Oriental Art Collection: See here impressive artworks from the Middle East, India, China, and Japan.
  • The Treasury of the Chapel of St. John the Baptist: This important exhibition area is filled with valuable items from the Chapel of St. John the Baptist.
  • Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa: This section of paintings, sculptures and jewelry focuses on the history of the 500-year-old non-profit organization that manages the São Roque Church and Museum.

There is also a gift shop and a café/restaurant in the museum building.

Please note that taking photographs with flash and tripod is not allowed in the exhibition rooms.

→  Want to visit more museums and dive into Lisbon's fascinating past? Read more  about the best museums and cultural attractions in Lisbon

4. Attend a Mass

The Igreja de São Roque offers a welcome place for prayer and reflection.

Visitors wishing to attend Mass with local parishioners may do so Tuesday through Sunday at 12:30.


After a visit to the church, be sure to check out of the best restaurants in Lisbon, many of which are in the Bairro Alto and Chiado neighborhoods. 

Entrance, Tickets, and Tours to Igreja de São Roque

  • Entrance: The São Roque Church and Museum are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. Both are closed on Mondays, January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1 and December 25 (except for cultural events).
  • Tickets: Entrance to the São Roque Church is free of charge. There is an admission fee of 2.50 € for the museum. Admission to the museum is free for children under 14 years of age and seniors over 65 (upon presentation of proof).
  • Tours: Travelers who want to get a deeper insight into historic Lisbon will appreciate the self-guided audio tour Best of Lisbon: City Center. Listen to the audio guide from your own mobile phone and discover the must-see sights, including the São Roque Church, at your own pace. 
  • Travelers' Tips: On Sundays, entrance to the Museum is free of charge until 14:00.

How to Get to Igreja de São Roque?

The Igreja de São Roque in central Lisbon is located in the lively Bairro Alto neighborhood. It's a central location with many of Lisbon's most central hotels just steps away. 

From Praça do Comércio: Walk 4 minutes to the Terreiro do Paço metro stop and take the green line one stop to the Baixa-Chiado station. From there, you have to walk up the hill for about 4 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions about Igreja de São Roque Church

Where is the Igreja de São Roque Church?

The Igreja de São Roque in central Lisbon is located in the lively Bairro Alto neighborhood.

The address is: Largo Trindade Coelho, 1200-470 Lisboa, Portugal.

How do I get to the Igreja de São Roque?

From Praça do Comércio: Walk 4 minutes to the Terreiro do Paço metro stop and take the green line one stop to the Baixa-Chiado station. From there, you have to walk up the hill for about 4 minutes.

What are the Opening Hours of the São Roque church?

The Igreja de São Roque is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00. It is closed on Mondays, January 1, Easter Sunday, May 1 and December 25 (except for cultural events).

Do I need a ticket to visit the Igreja de São Roque?

Admission to the Igreja de São Roque is free. However, the adjoining museum charges an entrance fee of €2.50 (except for children under 14 years of age and seniors over 65). Tip: On Sundays, entrance to the Museum is free of charge until 14:00.

Historical Facts & Info about Igreja de São Roque

Historical Facts & Info about Igreja de São Roque

The history of the Igreja de São Roque dates back to the early 16th century, when a cemetery was built on the site for the victims who died of the plague. In order to protect his people, King Manuel I asked Venice for a relic of St. Roch, the patron saint of plague victims. The people of Lisbon built a shrine next to the cemetery to honor the relic. It was during this time that the Brotherhood of St. Roch was founded to guard the shrine.

In 1540, the Society of Jesus came to Lisbon and selected the Shrine of St. Roch as the site for their main church. In 1553, the Society of Jesus was granted the chapel, and it was agreed with the brotherhood that a chapel for St. Roch would be built in the new church, keeping St. Roch as the patron saint. Built and designed by the royal architect and the best craftsmen, most of the structure was constructed between 1565 and 1573.

After the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal in 1759, the Igreja de São Roque was confiscated and later given to the Holy House of Mercy in Lisbon, which still owns it today.

The Museum São Roque opened its doors on January 11, 1905, as one of the first art museums in Portugal. The Church of São Roque, classified as a National Monument in 1910.

Contact & Map

  • Address: Igreja de São Roque, Largo Trindade Coelho, 1200-470 Lisboa, Portugal
  • Opening Hours: Every Day except Mondays, 10:00 - 18:00
  • Public Transport: Metro Green Line, Baixa-Chiado stop
  • Official Website: En.scml.pt/church-and-museum-of-sao-roque/
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