Lisbon – A World City
Lisbon is the largest city and the capital of Portugal. One of the most charismatic and dynamic cities in Europe. It’s a city that perfectly blends traditions, heritage, modernism and progressive mentality. As a holiday destination, Lisbon has a rich and varied history, an extraordinary nightlife and an excellent climate throughout the year.
Lisboa, the Portuguese name of the city, is nicknamed the city with 7 hills which overlook the Tagus river. The city benefits from an atypical topography which makes it possible to have many points of view on the whole of the city. This magnificent city is known for its cobblestone floors which embellish each of its alleys, giving off a very pleasant atmosphere.
Why visit Lisbon?
The Portuguese capital, Lisboa is a magnificent city that you absolutely should discover. Lisbon is a captivating city full of tourist activities of all ages and all horizons. It has a welcoming atmosphere, a huge cultural and historical heritage. You can enjoy cultural holiday, party all night, relax with the family and go to the beach. Visiting Lisbon means strolling through ancient and authentic streets, tasting pastries recognized around the world, and discovering a strong culture steeped in history.
Gothic cathedrals, monasteries, majestic castles and picturesque museums will be part of your activities, but you will have even more fun strolling through the narrow alleys of the different districts of the city during your visit.
How long should you spend in Lisbon?
It takes absolutely 3-4 days to discover this magnificent Portuguese city. It is possible to spend long vacations (7-10 days) in Lisboa in order to enjoy all the excursions that the region offers. Besides, as Lisbon is right next to superb sandy beaches, it is quite possible to bask in the sun…
What to do in Lisbon?
The Belém district
Belém is the district of Lisbon which has a large number of historical monuments, and is the most emblematic district of the city. This area is dedicated to Portuguese discoveries. It is the place where the great voyages of the 15th century to India, Africa and Brazil started. In Belém you can visit the Tower of Belém, the Jeronimos Monastery and the Monument of the Discoveries.
It is also in this area that you have the most important museums of Lisbon like the Museum of Coach, Cultural Center of Belém etc. Here you can find absolutely incredible tourist attractions, excellent museums and great views of the Tagus.
In addition to its cultural side, Belém is also known for its "Pasteis" (Pastel de Nata- Portuguese egg tart pastry dusted with cinnamon), whose recipe is always discreet.
Tower of Belém- Torre de Belém
The Belém tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an impressive fortified tower from the 16th century with its Manueline (Portuguese late gothic) architecture. It is the only Manueline style architectural works in Lisbon.
It is a building most emblematic of Lisbon and all of Portugal which was used, in the 16th century, to defend the Tagus estuary. It is decorated with an Arab style watchtower and ramparts with the cross of Christ and it features one of the first European Rhinoceros sculptures. The real beauty of the Belém tower is its exterior decoration.
During your visit, you will be able to enjoy the magnificent balconies and sculpted ornaments.
Jeronimos Monastery - Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The Jeronimos Monastery is an impressive Portuguese monastery located in the parish of Belém. The monastery is an excellent example of Portuguese architecture and a monumental witness to the wealth of Portuguese discoveries around the world. Like the Tower of Belém, it is a significant example of the Manueline style. The monastery is located west of Lisbon, in the Belém district and next to Tagus River. It is also listed on the UNESCO heritage list and one of the most ornamental religious buildings in Portugal.
In addition, this is the place where Vasco da Gama spent his last night before setting off on his epic journey to India.
Monument of the Discoveries - Padroa dos Descobrimentos
The monument was built in Belém in 1960, a large monument (52 meters) which celebrates the time of the Great Portuguese discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries. It is a monument erected in memory of Portuguese navigators and Prince Henry the Navigator.
From the top of this monument, you can enjoy hundreds of the best panoramic views of Belém and the Tagus. You can take great photos.
National Coach Museum – Museu Nacional Dos Coches
The Coach Museum, offers one of the most fascinating collections in Lisbon, brings together a collection reputed to be unique in the world as much for its beauty and artistic variety.
This museum houses carriages, sedans, horse-drawn carriages, baby carriages, uniforms and various pieces related to equestrian art. A collection ranging from the more obscure to the most luxurious and it contains the different means of transport used by the Portuguese and European Court from the 16th to the 19th century. Some are true works of art and bear witness to luxury time.
Maritime Museum of Lisbon - Le Museu de Marinha
The museum traces the maritime history and shipbuilding of Portugal. It is located on the east side of the Jeronimos Monastery. It notably offers many models or replicas of ships from different eras, from the Middle Ages to the contemporary era.
The Baixa District
The district presents the heart of Lisbon and is a place made up of sumptuous squares, wide avenues and superb architectural examples of Pombaline style. This area is very popular where you can find important historical attractions, a wide variety of restaurants and excellent hotels. Indeed, it should not be forgotten that on November 11, 1755, one of the biggest earthquakes completely devastated the neighborhood and that a huge tsunami killed thousands of people. The reconstruction of this district had been entrusted to the Marquis de Pompal. The buildings in the Baixa district display a neoclassical style also known as the Pombaline style. Commerce Square is one of the famous square in the Baixa district. This square is the gateway to Lisbon.
Rua Augusta Arch - Arco da Rua Augusta
Located on Praça do Comercio, it symbolizes the rebirth of the city during its reconstruction after the destruction of the earthquake of 1755. In neo-classical style, this majestic triumphal arch is designed as the gateway to the city. At the top of the, there arc are the sculptures of Célestin Anatole Calmels which represent Gloria (Glory), Genio (Genius) and Valor (Value). It is possible to climb to the top of the arch to have a panoramic view of the city and the Tagus.
Santa Justa Lift - Elevador de Santa Justa
The Santa Justa Elevator is a chief architecture of Lisbon that provides a view of the entire city and Tagus river from its roof. It is a completely original and extraordinary building and above all, a means of getting around which was built for Lisbon residents so that they could move from one district to another (from Baixa to Chiado) without effort. This elevator is considered one of the most important tourist attraction in Baixa district.
Rossio is the historic name of Don Pedro IV square located in Baixa. It is considered the heart of Lisbon and the favorite places of Lisbon people. Here you can find statues, fountains and local cafes.
Lisbon Tram no:28
Line no: 28, is the legendary yellow tram of Lisbon. It passes in front of some of the most beautiful places in Lisbon and through small steep streets. It passes also in the popular districts as Graca, Alfama, Baxia and Estrela. The route along tram line 28 offers one of the best tours of the city and is one of the extraordinary moments of your holiday.
Sao Jorge Castle - Castelo de Sao Jorge
One of the first things to do in Lisbon is to visit Sao Jorge Castle. This imposing monument is located on a hill overlooking the historic center of the city and gives visitors one of the best views of the city. This castle is deeply rooted in the history of Lisbon that dates back as far as medieval times. This history is perfectly visible everywhere in the castle which is absolutely fascinating.
Bairro Alto and Chiado
Bairro Alto and Chiado are two neighborhoods that share similarities because one is trendy during the day while the other is trendy in the evening.
Chiado is the popular shopping district of Lisbon and also that of theaters and performance halls. There are historical monuments, traditional shops and unique restaurants and cafes.
Bairo Alto, is a district structured by cobbled streets, made up of dilapidated houses and small shops. Built at the end of the 16th century, Bairo Alto is one of the most picturesque areas of the city. The area with its famous bars, restaurants and Fado houses, is the best known area of Lisbon night.
Fado - essential musical style from Portugal- is the Portuguese musical genre which means destiny and melancholic songs. Fado, in general, has recurring themes: unfulfilled love, jealousy, nostalgia for the dead and the past, sorrow, exile ... Fado was the national song of Portugal at the time of the dictator Salazar.
You can also visit Fado Museum which is a Portuguese museum located in Lisbon and presents the history of Fado, a popular musical genre.
In conclusion, if you have time, don't forget to taste good Porto in Bairo Alto. This should be a very interesting visit to discover the typical local wine.