Hello and welcome back to everyone. The city that we will visit today is very substantial, so we hope you rested enough to start this new adventure in the best way. What do you say, are you ready? But first we must announce where we are headed to, and this city is Lisbon.
Lisbon is a city located on the Tagus River and it is the capital of Portugal, the westernmost European city and the only one to overlook the Atlantic Ocean but also the seventh most visited in Southern Europe. Furthermore, it stands on seven hills: São Jorge, São Vicente, Sant’Ana, Santo André, Chagas, Santa Catarina, São Roque and has several important districts: Bairro Alto, Alfama, Chiado, Belém. Lisbon is a city full of virtues, so much that some “command entities” of the Portuguese multinationals are located in the city, due to its great importance in several sectors such as: financial, commercial/international commercial, economic, artistic, cultural (with its history and its universities) tourist. Even politics has its own space, Lisbon is considered the major political center of the state (being the seat of the Government and the Presidency of the Republic). Obviously its traditions in terms of folklore will not be lacking, such as the feast of St. Anthony, the most famous.
To know more ( what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
There is a lot to see!! There is so much culture and architecture that we suggest starting immediately… And so, let’s go!
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Convento do Carmo
- Sé de Lisboa: this cathedral, in Romanesque style, is the main Catholic place of worship in the city. The façade is flanked by two towers on either side of the portal. The interior is a simple cathedral with chapels and two main organs, where predominant are the arches that recall the Gothic style. Another church to visit is Santa Engrácia, famous for its dome admirable till the eastern outskirts of the city. In addition, this church has an elevator where you can reach the dome and enjoy the 360-degree panorama of the city.
- Convento do Carmo: this convent (or rather a former convent, now there are only the remains of it) was what was once considered the largest Gothic church in the city (it really stands out in the city!). Because of an earthquake, it was destroyed and never rebuilt but on the other hand what remains of it is all original. The convent is an open-air museum with a long nave and arches. It will seem to be in a beautiful convent but made even more impressive by the absence of a roof and when the sun goes away here that the lights come on making it all magical.
- Belém Tower: it is a fortified tower located in the Belém district (one of the main districts of Lisbon, where there are monuments that must be visited and therefore included it in the tour) and is part of the Unesco world heritage. The structure is dedicated to the patron saint of Lisbon, San Vincenzo. It was part of a defense system at the mouth of the river Tagus (just where it is located) and indeed it is the symbol and memory of the important role that Portugal had in the past. Its style is an example of the Portuguese Manueline art (it is the late Portuguese Gothic). Then there are different versions told about the reason for its positioning. The view from the tower (on the river) is very beautiful and the night view is so amazing too!
- If you are around Belém and you are looking for a museums, we recommend the Centro Cultural de Belém. A large exhibition center and a design museum located in a place far from the chaos of the city. Also during the weekend the center is filled with street performers (such a beauty to see!).
- Monastero dos Jerónimos: the monastery is located in the district of Belém and is considered as the triumph of the Manueline style, one of the most important monuments of Lisbon. It is of an imposing and a vaseness to be envied but it is not only important in its aesthetic level but also because here was signed the Treaty of Lisbon and because together with the Tower of Belém it is a celebration of the most important historical period of the Portuguese nation. In addition the monastery was created to celebrate the return of the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama. Its exterior part, consisting of the southern and western portal decorated with statues representing different symbols of Portuguese history. The interior, on the other hand, is large and illuminated thanks to the windows from which enters the light. The columns inside make it perfectly understand its gothic side. The structure has a chapel, a sacristy and a large annexed cloister. Well, there is still much to say and tell but we will let you discover it.
- Right in front of the Jerónimos Monastery, near the Tagus River, stands the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument to the discoveries that is born to celebrate the era of the discoveries of the Portuguese navigators. But the current monument is not the original one, it is a recreation of the previous one. Inside the monument there is an elevator that will lead you to the top where you can admire the view of the Tagus River and the Belém district; furthermore there is also a small hall inside.
- Castelo do São Jorge: it is the castle of Lisbon located on the highest hill in the historic center of the city. Of great tourist attraction especially for the wonderful view overlooking the city. The area of the castle is in the shape of a square and it surrounded by a wall that formed the citadel. The main entrance of the castle consists of a gate and a stone bridge, around a moat, now drained. The castle also has several towers, such as those of Torre de Ulisses and Torre de Couraça, where you will be able to admire the view; plus it owns a periscope that will allow you to have a 360-degree view of the city. To get to the castle you have to make a nice path made of stairs and climbs along the walls of the castle and slowly the view will become more and more visible and beautiful. This castle is an open-air museum (where there are some firearms, like cannons). We can not explain its beauty (it would be impossible!) but we can tell you that it is absolutely worthwhile to visit it.
- Elevador de Santa Justa: Santa Giusta iron lift, also known as El Grasciaro, is a monument located in the Baixa, the historical center of Lisbon. Behind the tower there is the ticket office for the purchase of tickets. Inside the elevator two elegant wooden cabins that will lead you to the top where you can enjoy the fantastic view over a part of the city: Rossio, the Baixa and the Castle of São Jorge, the river Tagus and the ruins of the Carmo convent (so many things!).
- Museu Calouste Gulbenkian: this museum is a true institution in the city. It houses a collection of Asian art, antiques ones (such as Greek, Roman…) and European ones (ranging from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century), a collections of mummies, Persian carpets and the collections that concern the silverware and furniture. A museum hall is dedicated to the great impressionists such as Monet, Manet, Renoir and many others. Other rooms are dedicated to the contemporary art, exhibitions, dances, music, conferences and finally a library. The exterior (like the interior) is very beautiful but above all it is really particular. It is composed of a large green space (where you can stop for a while after the visit and also here there are sculptures to learn from!) and a waterway to the side.
- Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga: one of the most important art museums in Portugal where you will immerse yourself into the true Portuguese art from antiquity to the nineteenth century. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, furniture, drawings, metals and so on. Some rooms, wow, are really beautiful!
- Medeiros e Almeida Museum: this house museum was the home of a well-known wealthy doctor (and considering the elegance and beauty of the exterior can be easily sensed). Since the doctor was also a great collector and lover of art here we find: paintings, sculptures but also a collection of fans and so on. One of the most beautiful rooms is the “Sala del Lago” in the center of which there is a sculpture, which could seem like a fountain. In this room there are jewels of his wife and objects belonging to the world of tobacco. Among the finest objects we have: clocks, Chinese porcelains and silverware. Don’t miss the Portuguese touch with the typical azulejo.
- Museu Do Aljube: the museum of museums in the history of Portugal. It is a place that will surely touch you and will make you understand the fascist period, the resistance and the repression that took place in Portugal. In this ancient palace prisoners (mostly politicians) were imprisoned during this dark period. The museum offers many examples as a testimony of all this, for example through newspapers, photos, documents and in addition the reconstruction of cells (with the representation of some statues inside) or even the places where the interrogation took place. The museum is located in the center of Lisbon, a few steps from the cathedral.
Since the city is big enough and therefore the number of museums/monuments is really big, we decided in this section that will follow to introduce some “optional” and “different” museums (for what we are used to visiting, for example the historical ones) but beautiful to visit and only for those who have time or for those who are passionate just because they are very specific and you have to be a lover of them. So here they are:
- Museum of design and fashion, as you can understand it is a museum dedicated to the design and the fashion. Museu do Oriente, the museum offers an overview of the historical and cultural relations of Portugal with the Eastern part. Cinemateca Portuguesa, a museum entirely dedicated to cinema. National Theater and Dance Museum, a museum dedicated to theater and dance. Museu da Electricidade, museum for the present and the future of the energy. MAAT, museum of art, architecture and technology (you can even just go there to see at least the fabulous and super modern architecture of the building). Museu Nacional dos Coches, museum of the most varied carriages. Museu de Marinha, museum that tells the maritime history through the many naval models.
Well, in a city so big the theaters are very numerous, here are some: Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Tivoli. All these theaters are the main ones but in the city there are others too: Theatre Camões, Teatro Maria Matos, Teatro de comuna (where often in these citizens theaters are held municipal parties).
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Elevador da Glória
Are we in a big city or not? So the fun will be really super!
- We begin our exploration immediately starting from the main places of the city: Praça de D. Pedro IV known as Praça de Rossio, the main center of Lisbon. Here were held bullfights, festivals and today is possible to attend at some political meetings. The square houses bars, souvenir shops and at the north side of the square there is the D. Maria II National Theater (which we mentioned before). Praca do Comercio, commercial square, an immense, spectacular place surrounded by various historical buildings but at the end of it the square becomes an open space and overlook the Tagus river creating a wonderful view (especially at sunset or sunrise, such a beauty!). This represents a meeting point and a reference point for the tourists. The square has a statue in the center. In addition, the beauty of the latter is that the square is connected to a beautiful pedestrian street and to two other important places: Praça do Rossio and the shopping street Rua Augusta. So much to see in short time. Perfect, isn’t it? Praça da Figueira is a square (a secondary one) from which the Convento do Carmo is easily visible. Largo Intendente is a district of Lisbon that today is very popular and appreciated by tourists, because of the presence of so much creativity and light. Animated by skaters, young people and many creative centers and artistic workshops. Nearby you can enjoy a little shopping in Vida Portoguesa, where you will breathe a lot of originality and traditional objects (very different shopping street, it is more vintage than the Rua Augusta that we have previously mentioned). Then if you prefer something more chic, go to Praca do Principe Real where you will find The Embaixada building, a perfect place for an exclusive shopping session but where you can admire local designer products and much more. Inside the structure there is also a restaurant on the first floor. In any case the neighborhood is full of high fashion shops (like Entre Tanto), an ideal place for every fashion addict. And if this is not enough, there is the modern shopping center (with well-known brands) the Armazéns do Chiado. Mouraria, a multiethnic-oriental district, where you will probably forget to be in Lisbon for a moment. Avenida da Liberdade, a very nice place to walk around and is also the most expensive street in Lisbon where you can find many luxury hotels and shops of some of the most popular brands. Another district to not be missed is Almada where you will find many attractions, Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge over the Tagus river that connects Lisbon to the district of Almada. In addition, this bridge was built by the same company that built the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; then there is Christ the King, a large statue of Jesus Christ inspired by that of Rio de Janeiro, from which to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city. If there is still time, another famous district to visit is Ajuda where is located the famous Palace of Ajuda.
- In addition if you go to Alfama and Barrio Alto don’t forget, if you have the opportunity to see a fado show (typical Portuguese folk music) to understand the city in a better way. If you love fairy tales and colors, the Sintra district (which is part of the Unesco World Heritage) is right for you.
- Here are the inevitable Miradores (panoramic terraces) to fill your eyes with such beauty (among sky, water, houses and roofs). We have Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Alfama, a terrace facing the sea and with view over Alfama neighborhood. A few step away, near the Lisbon Cathedral, another fantastic viewpoint Miradouro of Santa Lucia. Compared to the previous one, this next Miradouro is exactly typical one with its colored balcony and above the typical wooden beams along the entire perimeter of the balcony. It is not over yet, the Miradouro of Sao Pedro de Alcantara (located in the Bairro Alto district, that is to visit, and can be reached with the elevador da Gloria) which is much more than a balcony but it is more like a square located at the top where center there is a fountain and around it some gardens. In the end Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, located in the Graca district, is maybe is the highest miradouro in the city and the one with the widest view. Many are the people who usually go to see the sunset sitting on the grass or on the walls.
- The famous market, Mercado da Ribeira (just a few steps from Praça do Comercio) to get to the heart of the culinary culture of Lisbon. You will be able to taste the many traditional dishes (in the different restaurants in it, an example is Time Out) and street food. Awesome! A place to not be missed is also the legendary flea market Feira da Ladra, full of many nice things.
- Parque Eduardo VII: is a large public park in the center of Lisbon. In the Park area there is the Carlos Lopes pavilion and a greenhouse garden, the Estufa Fria. The park is very well-finished (you absolutely must see the geometric shape of the hedges). The park is a bit downhill where at the top it will show you the beautiful panorama of the city and the ocean. In front of the park stands a tall statue in a square with behind a fountain and bordered by trees. In the evening it’s really beautiful with all that light!
- Torre Vasco da Gama: this is the super modern part of Lisbon. It is a steel tower (very similar to the Dubai sail but with its own personality) several meters high and, as you can understand, the tower takes its name from the famous explorer Vasco da Game. Also next to the tower there are cable cars. The building was created for the 1998 Expo and it is located in the Parque das Nações. It also contains a modern port and is a perfect place for bird watching lovers where you can watch different species of birds. Near the park there is the Vasco da Gama bridge that crosses the Tagus river and connects Montijo and Sacavém, a beautiful bridge, think that it is the ninth longest in the world. Always there there is the Pavilha do Conhecimento, a science museum, which we recommend to visit especially if you have ids and for them there is also the Oceanário of Lisbon, an aquarium to visit. Many attractions at a distance of a few meters, you can’t miss it!
- LX Factory: oh, it is such a great and important part of Lisbon. This is a renovated area (an ex factory) in an underground style. So amazing for those who love street art and urban style in general. It’s a place full of great restaurants (warnings: go on an empty stomach!), Local, hipster clubs, designer boutiques, local artists’ shops, graffiti and the legendary (and the most beautiful) Ler Devagar bookshop.
- What has been visited so far, may seem like many things (and they are) but we assure you that they are close and accessible in a short time. In any case, the best means (and for some even the only one) is the subway ad take the opportunity to move from station to station to discover the magnificent underground works of art. But one of the most famous means to which you can not renounce is the Elevador da Glória, a funicular (or better a tram) that is located in the city of Lisbon and connects Praça dos Restauradores with the Jardim de São Pedro de Alcântara. It is so characteristic to take it that will lead in those narrow streets first uphill and then downhill.
- If you have time and love the sea, we recommend the beautiful beach of Cascais (less than half an hour from Lisbon). This is a true paradise for surfers and for those who look for fun and peace at the same time. This small island owns a historic center and mountains in the background. Really nice!
As for the nightlife, we have stuff, but a lot of stuff. Barrio Alto that we have seen before and, how can this place not to be the protagonist of the nightlife? Well, during the day it is quiet but in the evening it turns into a place where the fun is real, indeed there is so much vivacity in the air (think that here you can taste the best mojtos in the city). Then there are Cais do Sodré, Largo do Intendente, Alfama, Santa Apolónia and in summer many outdoor parties.
More specifically among the clubs we find:
- Gallery Club – Night Club Lisbon: disco
- Dock’s Club: night club
- CLUB NOIR: night club
- Metropolis Club: night club
- A Capela: night club
- The Lisbon Pub Crawl – Discover Lisbon: night club
- KREMLIN: night club
- THE OLD PHARMACY WINE INN lisbon: to taste some wine
In addition to these places we want to recommend some tourist places, old and modern bars, the ones that should be on your list are: Brasileira, Confeitaria Nacional, Pensao Amor (one of the most original bars in Lisbon) and Park.
Polvo à Lagareiro
After all these beauties we saw we are just curious to enter in the world of Lisbon gastronomy, few moments and here we are!
- Sardinhas assadas: one of the typical dishes of Lisbon, the sardines that are cooked in the most various ways but are mainly roasted on the grill. The sardines are served whole, with all the entrails of the fish. A simple dish that you will love!
- Polvo à Lagareiro: this dish consist of octopus that is stewed in a pot and then grilled. The result is amazing, incredibly soft enough to cut it with a fork. The octopus is served with sauce made with oil, parsley and garlic, it is usually accompanied by baked potatoes.
- Arroz de Marisco: in addition to fish, rice is also a very popular product inthe Portuguese cuisine. Arroz de Marisco is a very tasty dish, prepared with molluscs, crustaceans, vegetables and flavored with parsley. It looks a lot like the typical Spanish paella but it is much more creamy. Another Portuguese variant is tomato rice with sardines, which is also very good.
- Not just fish, not just rice but also meat. Among the typical dishes there are Cozido à portuguesa, Carne de porco à Alentejana (meat and clams, very interesting combination!) and various poultry, which in the past was considered a high quality food.
- Lisbon is the mother of the sweets and among these we find: the Pasteis de Belem (which we have already met in the previous destinations so we will not go into a detailed description) or Travesseiros de Sintra, puff pastry stuffed with egg yolks and almonds. Super good (for those who love the egg of course!).
- Bolo de Arroz: it is nothing more than a Portuguese rice muffin (yes, rice is always present even in desserts!). In your opinion what is the main ingredient? Well, what a question! The egg yolk of course!
- As for the drinks there is a typical liqueur of Lisbon that you could adore, with a strong taste and very sweet and fruity (just because it is made with cherries), the ginjinha. Try it!
Pasteis de Belem and Travesseiros de Sintra
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
Well arrived here we have to look for the places where we can taste the typical dishes of Lisbon, do you agree? So let’s take a look.
- Versículo do Faia: Mediterranean, European and Portuguese cuisine.
- DesNorte: Mediterranean, European and Portuguese cuisine.
- BA Wine Bar do Bairro Alto: wine bar with Portuguese cuisine, gluten-free menu options.
- Agulha No Palheiro: Mediterranean, European, Portuguese cuisine.
- O Vinhaca Tapas & Vinhos: Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Mercearia do Seculo: Mediterranean, European and Portuguese cuisine.
- Frade dos Mares: Mediterranean, European cuisine.
- Estamine Art Food Drink: bar/pub with healthy cuisine.
- Jam Club: bar/street food with Portuguese cuisine.
- Há Tapas no Mercado: European cuisine, Portuguese.
- Restaurante Mili: Mediterranean, Portuguese, vegetarian cuisine.
Well, we have come to the end of this endless but pleasant tour. However the journey is still long and there are still many beautiful Portuguese cities to visit. Recharge your energy and then straight to a new adventure.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Lisbon.