The capital of Portugal is an excellent stop for a weekend adventure. On that Atlantic Ocean – Lisbon is a charming little cit with tile lined streets that is a popular destination year round. With an excellent metro system, cheap hotels, being easy to navigate makes Lisbon a perfect destination for all types of travelers.
Sao Jorge Castle
Standing high above the city – the Castle of St. George can be seen from almost anywhere in Lisbon. This is a great site to visit in the morning on the first day – you can climb any of the 18 towers and walls while getting to look over the entire city and ocean.
The Alfama area is the oldest area of Lisbon, and its a great place to get lost in the narrow winding streets or head to the Se Cathedral, Lisbon Castle, National Pantheon or St. Anthony’s Church – all of which can be found in the district. The number one activity to do in this neighborhood is to ride Tram 28 which winds through the narrow streets and up and down hills as it connects Garca with Baixa. This historic trams follow a great sightseeing route – so you will get an unguided tour of the district as well! This route can take 30 minutes or longer, if a street is clogged with a parked car or traffic you may be stuck on this tram for a little longer!
One of the oldest remaining buildings in Lisbon, the Se Cathedral is an iconic symbol of the city. Laid out as a Latin Cross the interior is decorated in the original Romanesque style. The exterior will remind you of a medieval fortress. This cathedral can be found along the Tram 28 route.
Santa Justa Elevator
Expect a long line as you wait to ride the iron elevator which connects the Baixa district with Barrio Alto. You and as many as 24 other people will take the short journey up the elevator. At the top a short bridge leads to Carmo Church and the Carmo Square. You can look over the district and a nearby lookout will give you views of the entire Baixa district. For a wide open view head to the rooftop of the tower.
The official liquor of Lisbon can be found in bars and street shops all over the city. It is a Morello Cherry Liqueur and most stores are small stalls which only sell the liqueur. Served in a small cherry it can be enjoyed with or without the sour cherry inside. A shot should cost about one and half euros and each bar/stall has its own version.
Belem has always been the center of attention – in early times as the port from which ships would set sail to conquer the world and today as one of the areas with Lisbon’s most visited attractions. Make use of Lisbon’s metro Tram system – a 24 hour ticket will only cost 6 euro but will enable you to get to all areas of the city.
Pasteis de Belem
You will be able to find Pastel de Nata at nearly every bakery and corner shop in Lisbon. These wonderful delights will set you back a euro or two. Pretty much every location uses the same base a flaky cruse filled with a creamy custardy filling, you can get them topped with cinnamon or sugar. Pasteis de Belem will certainly be busy when you visit – take some of the pastry’s to go as you will be hard pressed to find a seat. Pasteis de Belem is the most iconic shop to purchase Pastel de Natas – the bakery is an essential stop on any trip to Belem.
The tower stands guard over Lisbon’s harbor. It is the last thing explorers saw as the left Portugal and would be the first thing they would see as they headed home.
Padros dos Descobrimentos
This monument was built in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. It is covered with famous historical figures and explorers. There is a museum inside – but the main attraction is the exterior of the monument.
April 25 Suspension Bridge
The oldest bridge across the Tagus River will certainly remind you of another famous bridge – the Golden Gate Bridge which inspired it’s design. This bridge was renamed the Vasco De Gama bridge after an expansion in 1998.
This neighborhood is the artistic / bohemian part of the city. Its very quite during the day but an very vibrant part of the city to visit at night. There are numerous Fado Bars to do a tour of at night. The three main sites of the city during the day are three churches (Sao Rogue Church, Carmo Church, St. Catherine Church).
Have any helpful hints for what to see in Lisbon – leave a comment below!