Besides being the Portuguese capital, and an important port for the country, Lisbon shines with a mixture of european, latin, and african influences.
After visiting this country, I’m nothing but amazed of it’s humour, color, tradition, and beauty. In this post, you’ll find basic information about the neighbourhoods, stuff you can’t miss, the know-before-you-gos, and the nearby excursions you’ll surely want to factor in your travel schedule, if you have the time.
- Alfama – Traditional with narrow streets, known to be the heart of the city
- Baixa – Vibrant with many shops and restaurants
- Chiado & Bairro Alto – Alternative and bohemian; Lisbon’s Montmartre
- Belém – Close to important landmarks like Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower
- Park of the Nations – Modern and vibrant with open spaces
- Commerce Square and Rossio
Visit the Praça do Comércio and Praça do Rossio at Baixa. Walk through Arco da Rua Augusta (featured below) and wander around the many shops located in the area.
Another interesting sight is the Santa Justa Lift, an elevator of beautiful manufacture that transports passengers from the district of Baixa, elevating them to the ruins of the church Igreja do Carmo.
Uphill, at walking distance from the Praça do Comércio, you’ll find Castelo de São Jorge – or what is left of it. The visit consists on walking around, and discovering the ruins of what used to be an old Royal Palace. What I enjoyed most from this visit is the view. Take a look!
Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery
These are both World Heritage Sites because of the role they’ve played in Portuguese history. They are close to each other, (both in Belém) so visiting them both is doable the same day.
This is an image of the Tower of Belém:
…and this is an image of Jerónimos Monastery:
Here in Belém is where you must try the famous Pastéis de Belém, a traditional Portuguese pastry that originated here in Jerónimos Monastery before the 18th century.
Hop aboard the Tram 28
Lisbon is well known for its yellow trams. Make sure to hop aboard the tram 28 during your stay in the city! My recommendation is to do so during the morning; it can get crowded later in the day.
LET’S TALK TRADITION
Fado is the typical music, and is known for its nostalgic, and sad hints. The best place to listen to it, in my opinion, is in the district of Alfama. The most elegant place is Clube de Fado. It’s expensive, but the ambiance, mood, service, and food is all amazing. Visit their official site HERE.
Portugal has great seafood, and Lisbon is no exception. Cod and octopus are both typical, and in June, for the fiestas of San Antonio, sardine is served a lot. Nonetheless, what you definitely can’t miss, is tasting their famous pastéis de Belém.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
About the check at restaurants
Restaurants will charge what you order from the menu, and will add to the bill the right amount according to the extra stuff you ate that was already on the table when you arrived, like bread and butter. If you don’t want to be charged for this, just leave the food untouched.
Wear comfortable shoes – they are life savers!
There’re lots of cobblestone streets, and some are uphill. Forget about heels, and consider not wearing slippery shoes. I think the best option is to wear your favorite sneakers.
Learn some key words in Portuguese, they will come in handy…
Some important ones:
*Good afternoon – Boa tarde
* Excuse me – Com licença
* Goodbye – Adeus
* Thank you – Obrigado (men) / Obrigada (women)
Sintra – 27min. drive from Lisbon
If you have time, visit Sintra. It’s a beautiful place where you can visit the distinguished Pena Palace and the enigmatic Quinta da Regaleira. Take a look!
Quinta da Regaleira:
Shrine of our Lady of Fátima
This previous year (2017) was the Centenary of the apparitions of our Lady of Fátima in Cova da Iria. You can visit the shrine (one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world) parting from Lisbon by train at Santa Apolonia Station. This place has an incredible history, and is worth visiting. Just imagine being somewhere, where the Virgin Mary has been seen before.
To read more about the story click here.
Lisbon has been keeping travelers’ hearts these past few years and that is due to its pastel tones, yellow detail, tile fever, and because it’s a place with personality that has been working since the earthquake of 1755, and the fire of 1988 in its reconstruction.
Lisbon is joy, tradition and family. One visit is all it takes to know a future one will be necessary to relive it, and keep exploring all it has to offer.
Have you been to Lisbon? Tell me about your experience!
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