Blog, Destinations, Lisbon, Portugal, Travel Tips

February 11, 2024

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We all are sick and tired of limits imposed on us by a coronavirus. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it at the moment. But what we can do is to help you forget about it for some time by imagining that you are preparing for a journey to Lisbon, Portugal. Ready? Let’s go!

Lisbon is known as one of Europe’s most charismatic and energetic cities. It is a city that effortlessly combines traditional culture with remarkable modernism and progressive thinking. Lisbon can be described as a cosmopolitan city, with good access and a few hours away from any European capital.

And there is so much to see and do that it is very challenging to have enough time to see everything you want on your trip…The city engages all the senses: Wines to be whirled, passageways to be explored, and arts to be pondered. Here we would like to present various things you can do, which cannot be missed in the Portuguese capital.

1. Visit the Castle of São Jorge

Castelo de São Jorge, Lisboa, Portugal | Photo by Antônia Felipe on Unsplash

Anyone visiting the city of Lisbon cannot afford to miss specific landmarks - and the São Jorge Castle is one of them! It is the highest point in the town and is one of Lisbon’s most symbolic landmarks. You can have a unique opportunity to feel and understand the city’s relationship with the river Tagus.

The São Jorge Castle can be spotted from many different parts of the city since it was built on the highest hill of Lisbon.

2. Listen to Fado

Fado, a Portuguese Guitar | Image by Daniel Duque from Pixabay

When in Lisbon, whether or not you like the music style, dinner by candlelight listening to live Fado music is mandatory. You really can consider yourself very blessed to hear it sung while walking through some street in Mouraria, Alfama, or Madragoa.

Lisbon is the best place to listen to this sad Portuguese music characterized by lyrics that express sadness, failure, and melancholy. In 2011, Fado named UNESCO’s list for World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

3. Go to Terreiro do Paço

Terreiro do Paço, Lisboa, Portugal | Photo by João Reguengos on Unsplash

The largest open square in Lisbon is also one of the most iconic symbols of the city and a must-see destination for Lisbon visitors. Terreiro do Paço is centered by the statue of King Dom José I, who was the one that survived the destruction of the 1755 earthquake.

Eighteenth-century symmetrical buildings with arcades surround the statue. Recently repainted in their original yellow color, ministries and other government offices nowadays occupy the buildings.

Currently, it mostly offers an enjoyable walk along the river in the late afternoon. It is also a breathtaking view from the river as you pass on a boat.

4. Go up in the Santa Justa elevator

Santa Justa Elevator, Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

One of the city’s most famous sights is the Elevador de Santa Justa. You cannot afford to miss it when you pass it while strolling through the downtown district. It really offers excellent views over this old part of Lisbon. This unique structure was built in 1902 by the Portugal-born French architect Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard to connect downtown to Bairro Alto.

At the top of the tower is one of the best viewing points in the city, providing a splendid panorama of Baixa, Castelo, the Tagus, and the impressive ruins of the church Convento do Carmo.

5. Take a tram ride

Trams in Lisbon, Portugal| Photo by POR7O on Unsplash

The Lisbon trams are one of the best ways to travel through historic neighborhoods and are among the most popular tourist attractions in the city. These antique electric vehicles are the city’s most photographed public transportation because let’s be real here: they look good in any photo. Lisbon tram 28 is the star among them, but currently, Lisbon five different routes and 58 trams; 40 are vintage streetcars. The heritage trams are small but nostalgic and an emblematic symbol of Lisbon.

6. Consider visiting the Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém

Belém, Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by Amanda Yeung on Unsplash

Lisbon is home to the finest monuments and museums like Belém Tower or the impressive Jerónimos Monastery - which symbolizes the testimony of Portugal’s maritime history. Without visiting Belém and the Jerónimos Monastery, no trip is complete. These two are jewels of the Gothic Manueline style that surely fascinate.

They are 500-year-old architectural masterpieces with a history as impressive as their absolute physical size. They represent a critical era in the country’s historical timeline. It is one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon, whether you are touring the inside or thoroughly enjoying the facade from the walkway in front.

7. Taste a pastel de Belém

This custard tart is a highlight of Portuguese cuisine, and its recipe is a closely guarded secret. It is considered one of the most delicious gifts that Portugal ever gave to the world. Lisbonites prefer to eat this sweet pastry along with their coffee.

In 2009 The Guardian acknowledged Pasteis de Belém as one of the world’s best foods.

8. Pay attention to the Oceanarium in the Parque das Nações

Lisbon Oceanarium, Esplanada Dom Carlos I, Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

The Parque das Nações is what we call a success story in the revitalization of an industrial area. It is worth visiting the Oceanarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums (and the largest in Europe).

There are around 450 different water species to see in one enormous central tank equivalent to four Olympic sized swimming pools, including sharks, rays, seabirds, and sunfish.

9. Visit the National Tile Museum and the unique Coach Museum

Abstract Tile Background at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon | Photo by Ugur Akdemir on Unsplash

These two museums are unmatched anywhere in the world. The Tile Museum is a must-see, one-of-a-kind attraction, and it tells the story of the tile in Portugal from its first uses on 16th-century walls to the present day. The Coach Museum has an unrivalled collection of horse-drawn carriages in the world, with fine examples from the 18th century - making it a highly recommended place to visit.

10. Nightlife in Lisbon

Tapisco, Lisbon, Portugal | Photo by Ben Hope on Unsplash

Lisbon is also known for its vibrant and busy nightlife. After an afternoon shopping in the elegant Chiado district, there’s nothing like a late afternoon staying for dinner and party in the Bairro Alto. It’s the place to be for those who love to spend a night out and having fun. Lisbon’s bustling nightlife was a secret identified only to a few outsiders. Since nowadays tourism exploded, many come here for cheap beers and the chance to party the night away. Furthermore, Stag do in Lisbon is considered to be a unique and affordable place to organize a party.

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