TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN LISBON

Friday, 1 April 2016

Most visitors going to Portugal usually choose to go for the beautiful sandy coves, rocky coastline and the gold beaches of the Algarve, in the south of Portugal, but we headed to the Capital. LISBON / LISBOA.


Lisbon is such a beautiful city. Located on the Tagus River and facing the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is the most western city in continental Europe.  We had an amazing time discovering the different areas of this city and here I give you my Top 10 things not to be missed when in Lisbon. Let's get started! 



1. TRAM 28
Trams are all around Lisbon and are very popular with the tourists. It is one of my favourite things about this city and I'm always so excited whenever I see one passing by. The best ride if you want to experience a journey on the historical trams of Lisbon is to take Tram 28. 



Tram 28 is the longest ride route in Lisbon going up and down the streets of beautiful Baixa, Alfama, Bairro Alto and Estrela, and it is the best way to see the city with just the one tram ride ticket. Be ready though because there is usually a long queue to board Tram 28 which has now become extremely popular. 

2. VISIT CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE
Castelo de São Jorge ( Castle of Saint George) stands majestically above central Lisbon and offers the best views of the city. Head up there, preferably on a sunny day, to catch breathtaking views of the orange tiled roofs and get a spectacular panoramic view of the city. 


Unfortunately, the day we went up on the hill to visit the Castle, it was cloudy and torrential rain was about to pour down (we could see it coming from afar :p )!  Luckily, we managed a pretty good shot of the city anyhow! 


3. GO UP THE ELEVADOR DE SANTA JUSTA
Also known as the Elevador do Carmo, built at the turn of the 20th century by a French Architect, the Elevador de Santa Justa is a wrought iron lift embellished with filigree and once on top, you can get splendid views of Baixa and Lisbon overall.


Looking down from the top of the tower can be very scary. As you can see from the picture, tickets are sold at the bottom of the tower and of course, there is often a queue before getting to the lift, but it is worth it. :)

This is Arco da Rua Augusta leading to Praça do Comerço 
4. TAKE A BREAK AT PRAÇA DO COMERÇO
Walking from Rua Augusta, a lively pedestrian street lined with shops and little cafés in Baixa, head to Praça do Comerço. This square is also known as the Palace Square by the locals because it used to be the site for the Royal Palace for more than 400years back in 1511.

The first day we went to Praça do Comerço, the sky was grey and it was not particularly extraordinary except that it was pretty huge with the statue of King José I in the middle. 
We went back on a sunny day and look at the difference it makes! :) 
One cannot deny that everything just looks 100 times better with blue sky and lots of sunshine! So happy that we got to go back there on a brighter day! 

5. WANDER AROUND IN ALFAMA
Alfama is one of Lisbon's oldest districts. We started from the top of the hill, from Castelo de São Jorge, and walked down through Alfama towards the Tejo River. Alfama is a picturesque little town with narrow little streets and small squares along the way where you can stop for great photo opportunities in this unique neighbourhood. 


As we headed down the hill, we were lucky enough to catch the sunset from one of Alfama's viewing points. It was really something to see! 
We stopped and watched for a while but then decided it would be best to reach our next destination when there was still light so off we went to continue our day. 


6. VISIT MUSEU NAÇIONAL DO AZULEJO
We thought we would do a quick visit to the little Tiles Museum located a bit further out from the city centre of Lisbon, but we ended up spending hours looking at beautiful tiles patterns and designs and learning all about the history. A little gem not to be missed in my opinion! 

There was so much to see, it was rather impressive! 

It's turning out to be a rather long post!
Stay with me as we discover a little more of what Lisbon has to offer.

7. SPEND AN AFTERNOON AT PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES
Parque das Nações ( Park of Nations) was originally the site of Expo 98 and since then, it has been transformed into the ultra modern side of traditional Lisbon. There is a range of activities do to around this area such as the Oceanario, one of the best aquariums in Europe, shopping at Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre, Lisboa's Casino and the Cable Car along the promenade.


We decided to take it easy and just relax that beautiful afternoon and took a nice walk along the river which lead us towards Vasco da Gama Tower and Bridge. 


8. CRISTO REI 
Head across Rio Tejo (Tagus River) and there you are in Rio de Janeiro! - hehe- Just kidding! 
Cristo Rei, (Christ the King), overlooking the city of Lisbon, was obviously inspired by the famous Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The giant statue was erected as a symbol to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared from the effects of World War II. 

To get there, you can either take a train which goes on Ponte 25 de Abril (The Golden Bridge of Lisbon, you will see it next) or take a ferry from Cais de Sobre which takes you to the region of Almada. Then walk up to the sanctuary. It is totally worth it on a bright and sunny day! 


9. PONTE 25 DE ABRIL 
And now here we are in San Francisco. :D NOT! This is the Ponte 25 de Abril in Lisbon. This bridge connects the Capital of Portugal Lisbon, to Almada on the left bank of the Rio Tejo. Because of its similar colouring and similar aspects to the suspension bridge in San Francisco, Ponte 25 de Abril is often compared to the Golden Bridge. It seems that there are many look alikes here in Lisbon right?!?! 
Beautiful Day in Almada. :) 

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST...


10. TAKE A DAY TO VISIT BELEM 
Ok... so there is a LOT to visit in Belem but for the absolute foodie that I am, there is only one place I need and HAVE to go. Pastéis de Belem. This is where Portugal's most famous dessert was born: The Pastel de nata or the Original Pastéis de Belem. 
This egg tart pastry is a Lisbon staple and can be found in most of the bakeries and restaurants & Cafés in Lisbon but nothing beats the Pastéis de Belem found in Belem! A definite must go to for a taste of this fabulous pastry. Have one, or two ... or three... or more... ^_^  they are absolutely fabulous! 
Moving away from the Pastéis de Belem, there are other beautiful sights not to be missed in Belem, such as the Jeronimos Monastery below.
I will go into more details on what else there is to do in a separate post on Belém as there are quite a few interesting sights there. 

For more on Belém click here:

I hope you have enjoyed my TOP 10 things to do in Lisbon, Portugal. 
For more about Lisbon, look for my other posts of Lisbon or find out about our short trip to Sintra from Lisbon here:  Visiting Sintra

Thanks for stopping by!

xxx

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