Lisbon, the stunning capital city of Portugal is different than any other European cities you may have visited due to all the cultural influences brought over by different civilizations during the past millennia. I will come back with a more detailed article on my accommodation and the lovely things I enjoyed there. Other options can be found on Booking 😉
Until then, here is a selection of the things you should not miss if you decide to visit the Portuguese capital:
Start with the colorful Alfama district, the oldest section of Lisbon, with narrow streets leading from the Tagus River up the hill to the Lisbon castle, which has an important history for early Portugal and the battlements offer panoramic views over central Lisbon. Alfama is also the site of Sé Cathedral, the mighty and imposing cathedral of Lisbon, the National Pantheon and Saint Anthony’s Church.
For a picturesque view of the district take the historical Tram 28 through Alfama to Baixa district, the heart of Lisbon and its magnificent plazas.
The best attraction of the Baixa district is the wonderful view from the top of the Arco da Rua Augusta. This magnificent arch connects the Rua Augusta Street with the Praça do Comércio (Commercial Square), which is the largest of Lisbon’s mighty plazas that is positioned on the edge of the Tagus estuary. Here traders would sell their foreign wares and financiers would fund perilous expeditions to the far reaches of the known world.
From Praça do Comércio take the number 15 tram to travel to Belem, a picturesque district to the west of Lisbon, which is the location of many of the capital’s most notable and important tourist attractions:
- Belem Tower, impressive defense fort which once guarded the entrance to the Tagus River;
- Jerónimos Monastery, an outstanding example of late-Gothic Manueline architecture;
- The Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument on the edge of the river which depicts famous explorers and is shaped symbolically like the prow of a ship.
- No visit to Belem is complete without eating a Pastel de Nata in the Casa Pasteis De Belem, the original home of this unique Portuguese cake.
Futhermore, visit the Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) which runs along the bank of the river for 5km and is made up of open green spaces interspersed with public art and structures. The park is the site of the Lisbon Oceanarium (especially recommended for kids), Knowledge Pavilion, CC Vasco da Gama, Marina Park of Nations and the cable car.
Lisbon offers a rich and varied history, lively nightlife, unique cuisine, and pleasant year-round weather, but some of its best features are the spectacular hilltop vistas, cobbled lanes, centuries-old houses, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and famous landmarks. See some more activities on Viator.
Bonus tip: Plan a day trip for exploring the outskirts of the city – Sintra, Cabo da Roca, Boca do Inferno, they are definitely worth it. I will write another post on my trip to the end of the world soon 😉
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