What to see in Lisbon: the 16 best attractions and things to do

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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A city full of charm and which still maintains its melancholy and popular character. We are talking about Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The true soul of Lisbon is breathed in its neighborhoods, such as Baixa, Bairro Alto, Belem, Alfama and Chiado. Each characterized by its own peculiarities and atmospheres, but all, however, extremely fascinating.

If you are planning a weekend or a longer stay in the city, we can help you organize it what to see in Lisbon, the best attractions and things to do!



Index

  1. The Baixa
  2. Sao Jorge Castle
  3. Bairro Alto
  4. Belem Tower
  5. Mosteiro dos Jerònimos
  6. Alfama
  7. Carmo Convent
  8. Trams, funiculars and lifts
  9. Chiado
  10. Miradouro de Santa Luzia
  11. The Self
  12. Church of Santa Engrácia / Pantheon
  13. Monastery of Sao Vicente de Fora
  14. Commerce Square
  15. Monument to the Discoveries
  16. Park of Nations
  17. Other attractions to visit
  18. 6 things to do in Lisbon
  19. User questions and comments

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1 - The Baixa

One of the most famous neighborhoods in the city, located between the banks of the Tagus and the Avenida da Liberada. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755 and appropriately rebuilt in an impeccable way in the neoclassical style, becoming symbol of reconstruction and hope.

Full of pedestrian areas, shops, bars and restaurants, it is a neighborhood dedicated to socializing and sharing. Unmissable stops are the Praca do Rossio, recognizable by the white and black pavement that gives an effect of movement, the mar largo as the Lisboets call it, and the Station, in typical Manueline style with the characteristic double horseshoe entrance.
Rua da Augusta is the most popular street for shopping. In the evening the neighborhood is quite quiet, but moving towards the Tagus river comes alive with bars, clubs and restaurants.

It represents the heart of Lisbon. The Santa Justa Lift is also located here, the panoramic lift that connects the Baixa to Largo do Carmo.



Elevador de Santa Justa, be smart: be aware that the elevator is part of the city's transport system, and therefore the "ride" (ascent and descent) is included in the € 6,40 daily ticket. If, on the other hand, you buy the single ticket for ascent and descent, this alone will cost € 5,30!

2 - Sao Jorge Castle

Imposing and ancient fortified castle, the Sao Jorge Castle is in fact located on top of a hill and has overlooked the city for about 2000 years.
Initially the area of ​​the castle was all surrounded by a wall, which delimited the whole citadel. The castle inside was therefore the last defensive bulwark in the event of a raid on the citadel.

Inside it houses an archaeological museum, and a dark room, a sort of curious observatory of the city from inside the Castle, very interesting!
But it is from its towers and from the lookout that you can enjoy the real show, an enchanting view over the whole city, better than all the miradors in Lisbon. In the evening it is magnificent, the castle is illuminated and the view at sunset is impressive.
The gardens of the castle are also very beautiful, an oasis of greenery in the city full of peacocks and native species of Portugal. Be careful if you are with children, there are lots of rocks, steps and ravines where you can play, yes, but also get hurt if you are not careful.
Finally, take a look at the north wall of the walls: here is the Gate of Betrayal! it is an access used by messengers who carried secret information!

Admission to the Castle includes guided tours in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and is included in the Lisboa Card.



Discover Lisbon before the earthquake: at the entrance to the permanent exhibition inside the castle, there is a drawing that reproduces the city of Lisbon before the terrible earthquake of 1755. It is a reproduction of the sixteenth century, one of the most important testimonies of the time

  • in Rua Santa Cruz do Castelo. It can be reached by Bus 37, Chão da Feira stop. Also served by Tram 12 and 28, Miradouro Sta. Luzia stop - Get directions
  • from November to February10: 00-18: 00, from March to October 10: 00-20: 00
  • single ticket € 10,00, children up to 11 years free

3 - Bairro Alto

As the name suggests, Bairro Alto is the neighborhood at the top of the city. It was originally inhabited by wealthy familiesThen, from the 1800s it changed its face by welcoming creative personalities and artists in search of glory, which led to the opening of bookstores, antique shops and restaurants.

Today it is the district of young people and nightlife and at the weekend it is filled with kids looking for fun. It can be reached thanks to the famous Ascensor Glória, one of the most famous and photographed trams in all of Lisbon!

To reach the neighborhood, take the Gloria lift (two trips € 3,80) from Praça dos Restauradores to Rua de São Pedro de Alcântara and the miradouro of the same name, or the elévador de Santa Justa (two trips € 5,30), that from the Baixa reaches the height of Largo do Carmo - Get directions


Dinner in the Tascas: it is the ideal neighborhood to try the typical Lisbon taverns, the tascas, where you can taste the typical cuisine of the city.


4 - Belem Tower

In the district of the same name, outside the center, on the Tagus river stands this squat tower, one of the monuments symbol of Lisbon. It is from here that the expeditions of the great navigators left into the unknown. The Belém Tower was built to serve as a lighthouse and fortress. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Given its function, inside it has no particular decorations but an austere stylistic solidity. To access the inside you have to cross a drawbridge. Inside it consists of 3 floors with several rooms, including the Audience Hall, the King's Hall and the Governor's Hall, as well as a chapel and a panoramic terrace overlooking the Tagus River

Choose the best time and skip the line: the true beauty of the tower is outside, but we do not feel we should advise against visiting the interior. In any case, if you wish to do so, come early in the morning or late afternoon, the best times to avoid queues. The visit lasts an average of half an hour. In any case, it is better to buy the entrance ticket online to skip the queue at the ticket office

  • on Avenida Brasilia, outside the center, reachable from the center by buses 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751 or by Tram 15 - Get directions
  • from October to April 10: 00-17: 30, from May to September 10: 00-18: 30. Closed every Monday, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and December 25th
  • single ticket € 6,00, children up to 12 years free

5 - Mosteiro dos Jerònimos

The most important monument in Lisbon. It was built in 1505 on the occasion of the celebrations of the exploits of the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama, returning from his navigations thanks to which he discovered the route to India. UNESCO heritage, takes its name from the monks of the Order of San Girolamo, who received it as a gift as soon as construction was completed.

In the monastery there is the church of Bethlehem (hence the name of the neighborhood) where the tombs of Vasco de Gama (left) and Luis Camoes are housed. The tomb of the best known Portuguese writer, Fernando Pessoa, is instead located in the beautiful cloister, considered the most successful example of Manueline style.

Watch out for queues: it is the most visited attraction and therefore always with a long line at the entrance. Choose the right time (when it opens) and buy your priority ticket online in advance to skip the line. Admission is included in the Lisboa Card.

  • in Praça do Impéri, on the opposite side from the Torre de Belem. Outside the center, it can be reached by Buses 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751 or by Tram 15 - Get directions
  • from October to April 10: 00-17: 30, from May to September 10: 00-18: 30. Closed every Monday, January 1st, Easter Sunday, May 1st and December 25th
  • Church free / Cloister single ticket € 10,00, children up to 12 years free

6 - Alfama

One of the most characteristic neighborhoods, the most historic of Lisbon. Here, among steep streets and hidden gardens, there are still small bars from which the Fado music and where tourists don't come in droves. You can then lose yourself in the typical melancholy of the city, admiring its red roofs overlooking the sea. To get to know the neighborhood, we recommend a walking tour through history, tales and everyday life: a local guide will make you fall in love with the ruined facades of the houses, the clothes hanging and the cars parked in a messy way ... This is Alfama. And you cannot be indifferent to this one chaotic and elusive atmosphere.
Absolutely recommended to attend a Fado show in a typical "Fado house", and if after you want to deepen the history of this music, you can visit the Museu do Fado.

The most suggestive way to reach this area is the historic Tram 28 which takes you to your destination in a couple of minutes.

Take a tram ride: crossing the Alfama by tram is a truly suggestive experience! The alleys are so narrow that at every turn it seems to hit the wall of some house! Furthermore, during the month of June the streets are the backdrop to numerous festivals dedicated to the Saints. The neighborhood comes alive to become a great party under the stars, with music, colorful festoons and roasted sardines

7 - Convent of Carmo

A truly fascinating attraction. The Convento do Carmo complex includes a Romanesque monastery and the homonymous church; both date back to 1398 and were deeply damaged by the 1755 earthquake. The Church has been deliberately not restored and remains one of the more tangible symbols of that great catastrophe.

Its a little creepy, which gives it a gothic atmosphere, balances well with the remains of the convent, almost scenic, with the arches open to the sky and the blue of the sky to contrast with the pale stone covered with grass. In fact, the roof collapsed in 1755 and has never been rebuilt. The church is accessed through a Gothic portal, a few steps from the exit of the elevador de Santa Justa, in the Chiado district. The Convent dominates Rossio Square and overlooks the hill of Castelo de Sao Jorge.

  • exactly at the exit of the elevador de Santa Justa. Alternatively, you can reach it by metro: Baixa-Chiado or Rossio stops (257 meters), or by bus: Rossio, Praca Luis de Camoes, Praca da Figueira stops - Get directions
  • Mon-Sat 10 am-00pm, in summer until 18pm
  • full € 5,00, reduced € 4,00

8 - Trams, funiculars and lifts

In Lisbon, public transport is also an attraction! The tram, the most convenient way to get around the city, is legendary for its ability to tackle the steep alleys. There is a special tourist line, Tram 28, which allows you to see the whole Alfama district.

In addition to the tram, also the funicular (called lift locally) allows you to reach the "uptown" without making a hike. There are 3 lines: Gloria towards Bairro Alto, the Bica, known as the artistic funicular because of the many drawings on the wagons, and the Lavra, the least touristy in Lisbon and therefore also the least crowded. The lift understood in the classic way is instead the Elevador de Santa Justa, neo-gothic and in iron, built at the end of the 800th century by a pupil of Gustave Eiffel. With its 32 meters of ascent and two spectacular wooden cabins, it leads into the Chiado district.

Watch out for crowding: between 10:00 and 18:00 the trams are super crowded. For a good chance of finding a seat on tram 28, hop on at one of the terminus (Martim Moniz or Campo Ourique). On the other hand, if you are happy with a trip on a Remodelado tram and you are not interested in a specific route, take Tram 24. This connects Praça Luís de Camões to Campolide and, being less famous, there are almost always seats.

  • the complete journey of tram 28 starts from Largo Martim Moniz and arrives at Campo Ourique, with a duration of about 40 minutes
  • generally active every day 7: 00-23: 00
  • Gloria, Bica and Lavra lift two rides € 3,80 / Elevador de Santa Justa two rides € 5,30

9 - Chiado

Neighborhood that was severely damaged not by the earthquake, but by a great fire that broke out in 1988. Its reconstruction was faithful to the original structure, so much so that an unsuspecting visitor would not notice anything.

Chiado was Pessoa's favorite neighborhood and currently hosts numerous fine shops, but also bookshops and theaters. Pessoa spent a lot of time at the A Brasileira café, one of the most popular meeting places in the city today. The restaurant is located in the elegant Rua Garrett, overlooked by patisseries, luxury shops and bookstores. A bronze statue sitting at the bar table is dedicated to the poet, the same table where the writer spent hours and hours reading and writing.

Chiado means "cunning", "mischievous", the characteristics of Antonio Ribeiro, poet and friar, who was nicknamed "O Chiado". Chiado's most important attraction is the imposing Gothic ruins of the Church and Convent of Carmo.

The neighborhood can be reached by descending from Bairro Alto (300 meters away), or by climbing the Elevador de Santa Justa from Baixa.

10 - Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Lisbon is also famous for its Miradoures, magnificent terraces located throughout the city from which to admire the splendid sea view and on the red roofs of the lower part of the city. The most famous, the most sought after and therefore most crowded with tourists who flock there for a souvenir photo is the Miradouor de Sant Luzia, a real one panoramic terrace overlooking the city which is located just below the Castello de Sao Jorge.

The ideal place to shoot the most beautiful panoramic photo of Lisbon you could wish for! The view includes in fact the characteristic roofs of the Alfama but above all the splendid azulejos of the belvedere wall. Equally beautiful is the facade of the nearby church of Santa Luzia, embellished with two splendid mosaics depicting the Terreiro do Paço and the crusaders reconquering Lisbon.

In the heart of Alfama, on Rua do Limoeiro. You can get there with the historic Tram 12 and 28, stop Miradouro Sta. Luzia - Get directions

11 - The Self

The Lisbon Cathedral, better known as La Sè, has an imposing structure, almost a fortress and was built where once there was an old mosque. Although it has survived in perfect condition, suffered damage from various natural disasters. For example, the great earthquake of 1755 destroyed some parts of the church.

Inside there is a cloister, stylistically very similar to that of the Jerónimos Monastery, although smaller. Here you can see gods Roman, Arab and medieval remains, found in recent years. At the top of the Cathedral is instead guarded the Treasury: robes, jewels and relics from different eras.

  • from Igreja Sta. Maria Madalena, in Baixa just take Tram 28 and get off at the Limoeiro stop, then walk for about 200 meters - Get directions
  • Cathedral 9: 00-19: 00 / Cloister 10: 00-18: 00, Sun from 14: 00) / Treasury 10: 00-17: 00, closed Sun and holidays
  • free cathedral, cloister € 2,50, treasury € 2,50. Cumulative ticket cloister + Treasury € 4,00

12 - Church of Santa Engrácia / Pantheon

Impressive baroque monument that houses the graves of the most important citizens of the country. Built in the th century, initially as the Church of Santa Engrácia, by the infanta Dona Maria, daughter of King D. Manuel I, the church was never dedicated to worship nor did it carry out its mission. This is why the idiomatic expression "like the works of Santa Engrácia" is used, something that is never completed.

In reality, the works lasted 350 years and were only completed in the mid-twentieth century. Today the building, open at the top, is used as a national Pantheon.

  • in the heart of Alfama, can be reached on foot via Campo de Santa Clara - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, closed Mon
  • single € 4,00

13 - Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Gigantic monastery overlooking the Alfama hill. It was built like vote for the reconquest of the city from the occupation of the Moors. It is an enigmatic and fascinating construction.

Once you enter you will be faced with a series of silent and solitary cloisters, covered with magnificent azulejos that illustrate the life of Lisbon in the 1600s. The flagship of the monastery is the view of the Tagus and the city which can be admired from its roofs.

Visit the vintage market: every Tuesday and Saturday, until 17 pm, in the square just behind the monastery, Campo Santa Chiara, the Feira da Ladra, the flea market, takes place, perfect for vintage lovers.

  • in Largo de São Vicente. 900 meters (10 min walk) from the Church of Santa Engracia via Campo de Santa Clara and Rua da Verónica - Get directions
  • Tue-Sun 10 am-00pm, closed Mon
  • full € 5,00, reduced € 2,50

14 - Praça do Comércio

One of the largest and most impressive squares in Europe. The result of elegant neoclassical symmetries and virtuosity, Commerce Square, despite its name, is a large pedestrian area that represents the symbol of the renovation of the Baixa, one of the historic districts of Lisbon.

Square in shape, it measures 170 mx 170 m. Three sides are lined with stately mansions, while one is open to the Tagus River. Very close to the main port, the square has been there for centuries main gateway to the city.

Easily reachable on foot from anywhere in the city. It can be reached by taking the Rua Augusta, the "struscio" street of Lisboeti that connects it to Rossio. At the end you will find theArch of Rua Augusta, on which you can climb to admire a splendid view (€ 2,50). Reference tram and bus stop Pç. Comércio - Get directions

15 - Monument to the Discoveries

Exceptional tribute to protagonists of seafaring explorations. In the Belem area is a gigantic sculpture representing a white stone caravel. Purpose is commemorate the golden age of national history.

This monument, one of the most recent in Lisbon, was initially built as a temporary work for the Portuguese World Exhibition of 1940, then rebuilt permanently in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of the Infante Dom Enrique, said the Navigator, a key figure in Portugal's overseas expansion. The monument is located on the banks of the Tagus River, the starting point of the great seafaring adventures that brought enormous wealth to Portugal in the th and th centuries.

With the entrance ticket you can climb to the top e enjoy an exceptional panoramic view along the entire riverfront, and admire the Tagus that flows into the ocean.

  • in Av. Brasília. A few meters before the Belem Tower. Outside the center, it can be reached by Buses 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751 or by Tram 15 - Get directions
  • lun-ven 11:00-17:00, sab-dom 11:00-18:00
  • full € 6,00, reduced € 3,00

16 - Park of Nations

The beating heart of modern Lisbon characterized by futuristic buildings and the most admired aquarium in Europe. On the occasion of Expo 1998, this huge area lying along the east bank of the Tagus River was the subject of one of the most successful urban redevelopment projects: a former port area on the outskirts of the city has been transformed into one of the most modern and trendy areas.

After the Expo, the futuristic pavilions have been converted into museums, auditoriums and various attractions. One of the pavilions, for example, is the headquarters of the famous Oceanário (we advise you to buy the entrance ticket online). But the Park of Nations is not only one of the most famous tourist attractions in Lisbon, today it is also the most expensive residential area of ​​the city, a financial center, the headquarters of the international fair and a commercial center.

Easily accessible from the historic center of Lisbon because it is served by a lot of public transport. The fastest way to get there is to take the metro (7 min) and the recommended station is Oriente - Get Directions

Other attractions to visit

If you are a lover of contemporary art, a short distance from the Tower of Belem you can visit the Berardo Museum (free).

Also to admire is the 25th April Bridge, a facsimile of the San Francisco bridge. Considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, on the upper floor the cars flow, on the lower one the trains. Still on the subject of bridges, the Vasco da Gama bridge, built for the 1998 Expo, is a bridge that unites the two banks of the Tagus; it is the longest in Europe and one of the longest in the world. A short distance from the 25th April Bridge is the LX Factory cultural center, a dynamic and characteristic place built on an industrial area of ​​the nineteenth century.

One of the features you will see everywhere in Lisbon are the magnificent azulejos, colorful and decorated tiles. To find out more and discover their history, visit the National Azulejos Museum (€ 5,00).

For an exotic and Arabic touch we suggest you take a trip to the Mouraria district, a multi-ethnic district once inhabited by the Moors and today a lively and colorful area where Brazilians, Pakistanis, Africans and many other ethnic groups live together. The Estrela, dominated by the Baroque basilica of the same name, is a quiet and thriving neighborhood that hosts a beautiful park much appreciated by Portuguese families; La Graca, on the other hand, is a typically Portuguese neighborhood, great for experiencing and touching the local daily life.

6 things to do in Lisbon

Bike ride

  1. Eat pastel de nata: typical Portuguese dessert, the originals are found right in Lisbon, in the Pastéis de Belém pastry shop in the Belem district. For a deeper dive into the city's gastronomy, take a food and wine walking tour
  2. Witness a fado show: impossible to visit Lisbon without attending a Fado show in Chiado. Fado is traditional melancholy music - info, prices and tickets here
  3. Bike ride: to better discover the city, we recommend that you enjoy a wonderful tour of the hills by electric bike with an expert guide
  4. Cruise on the Tagus: to admire the city from another point of view, we recommend taking part in a sunset cruise on the Tagus river
  5. Discover the surroundings: absolutely unmissable a day trip to Sintra, Cabo da Roca and Cascais, among historic estates, lush gardens and enchanting seaside resorts
  6. Visit the Estadio da Luz and Museo del Benfica: especially if you are passionate about football, you can visit the temple of one of the most important teams in Europe, with a museum dedicated to the exploits of sports heroes like Eusébio and Paulo Futre! info, prices and tickets here

Plan your stay in Lisbon: flights and hotels

Lisbon is connected by numerous low cost flights from Italy, which arrive atLisbon-Portela Airport (compare flights from € 20,00). To reach your hotel, you can opt for a comfortable and fast private transfer.

All neighborhoods offer various types of accommodation. To be in the center and easily reach the main attractions on foot, we recommend sleeping in the Baixa and Rossio (compare the best accommodations on Booking.com from € 19,00). However, it is not bad to choose the other areas too, perhaps the Bairro Alto if you like the nightlife, since all districts are well connected to each other by public transport.

It is never very cold in Lisbon, so it is one half can be visited all year round; pay attention to the almost constant wind that, if in summer it can relieve you from the heat, in winter it can make you feel the temperatures much colder than they really are.

If you are traveling low cost, this is the right destination for you! Many attractions have very low costs. To save even more, the Lisbon Card is highly recommended, which includes almost all museums and transport (including tram 28).

If you will visit Lisbon with children, you should know that the city is safe and has lots of activities for the little ones! Starting from the aforementioned Oceanarium, one of the largest aquariums in Europe, there are also the zoo and many green areas. In this case, you can find great accommodation in the Belem district too, more residential and quiet!


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