The beauty of Portugal’s capital Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and is such a beautiful city. With her breath taking views, colourful houses and different districts, is Lisbon a true paradise. In June 2015, I have visited Lisbon and I can really recommend visiting this city around this time of the year, because in this time it is spring and lots of trees in the city colours purple, what makes it looks beautiful! I really enjoyed it over and over again. What I can recommend as well, is to go to Lisbon for approximately a midweek. I went there for only four days and it was just enough to see most of the city. We also planned a day to Sintra (a place close to Lisbon, what I heard was definitely worth the visit thanks to all the nature and beautiful castles this place offers), but we did not have time to that, unfortunately.
In this blogpost I will tell you some more about the places to visit when you plan a city trip to Lisbon.
- Visit castelo de São Jorge and enjoy the breath taking view
This is definitely my number one recommendation when it comes to the tourist attractions to visit when traveling to Lisbon. You have to walk a little upwards before you arrive at the castle, but it is definitely worth the visit. The entrance fee of the castle is around € 20,-. The area is very big and you can see several things. When you walk through the entrance, you arrive at a big square, which is called the Romantic Garden. This square is very beautiful with a lot of beautiful trees and a breath taking view over Lisbon (at all points in this area you have an amazing view over the city). Here I made some beautiful pictures. You can also see the monument Cristo Rei and the Ponte 25 de Abril (the bridge) from here! Furthermore, there is the castle, where you can go in and upwards and just wander around. Then there is also an archaeological site, where you can look around, and there is a permanent exhibition with a restaurant where you can eat or drink something. In short, this area offers a lot and is definitely worth the price and visit.
In summertime, the area is open from 9 a.m. till 9 p.m. and in wintertime it is open from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. They also offer guided tours, so you can also take chose for this service, but in my opinion exploring the area on your own is better.
- Take a visit to Torre de Belém and Padrão dos Descobrimentos
In the district Belém, at the quay of the river Tagus, you can find these two attractions and when you have time for it, it is nice to take some time in this district. Especially the Padrão dos Descobrimentos is, in my opinion, very impressive. This is a monument made in honour of all the Portuguese explorers who have explored the world in the 15th and 16th century. You can also go into the monument and go upwards with the elevator to the roof (the monument is 52 meters high). I did not do that, I just walked around the monument and enjoyed the beautiful details of it.
The Torre de Belém is just a few minutes walking from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. This is a defensive tower and also has a beautiful architecture. It is created at the beginning of the 16th century to remember the explorations of Vasco da Gama and the magnificence of the Portuguese power in the era of the big explorations. This monument is part of the UNESCO world heritage list.
- Wander around all the colourful alleys and traditional houses in the district Alfama
Alfama is the most historical district of Lisbon and is this district you can find the castelo de São Jorge. I can really recommend going to the castle by walking, since Alfama is a beautiful district with lots of traditional houses, little alleys and colourful wall paintings. You really explore the typical Portuguese streets in this district!
- Visit the modern district of Lisbon: Parque das nações
This district is not that close to the city centre and the best way to get here is for example by bus. However, if you want to explore a new side of the city, you should definitely go to Parque das Nações. This district is very modern and there is a different atmosphere: you take yourself to paradise when you see all the palm trees, the water and the beautiful buildings. The district is built on the occasion of the Expo 98. Here, you can also find the Oceanário, which is one of the biggest aquarium of the world.
- Walk through Parque Eduardo VII
Close to our hotel was the Parque Eduardo VII, what is like ten minutes walking from the city centre. It is a huge park which is named after the king Eduard VII of the United Kingdom, who visited the city in 1902 to strengthen the alliance between Portugal and the United Kingdom. There are often events organised in the park. When I visited Lisbon, there was a book market around the park. I can also recommend walking upwards the hill, where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the city and the Tagus.
- Go to the district Belém and walk around the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Earlier I told already a little bit about the district Belém, but Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is also a big tourist attraction in this district. This is a convent, but almost looks like a big palace and the architecture is just gorgeous. In front of the convent, you can find a huge square with a fountain where you can take a nice walk.
The district Belém is not that close to the city centre of Lisbon. You can reach the district the best by taking the bus for example.
- Do some shopping in the Rua Augusta
Rua Augusta is thé shopping street of Lisbon. Here you can find outdoor cafés, international shops and lot of occasional street artists. Furthermore, this streets leads to Arco da Rua Augusta and to the Praça do Comércio.
- Have a walk around the Praça do Comércio and take a seat by the water
This is a big square in the centre of Lisbon, just next to the Tagus. At the square, you can find a statue of the former king Jozef I of Portugal, which is made by Machado de Castro. Next to the fact that you can take a nice walk around the square, you can also sit in front of the Tagus and enjoy the view over the river.
- Take the Elevador de Santa Justa which is situated in the city centre
In the city centre of Lisbon, you can find the Elevador de Santa Justa. From the outside it is already a beautiful tourist attraction, but it is even a bigger experience when you actually go with the elevator upwards. There you will find the Carmo square, where you can have a beautiful view over the city. The elevator is a design of Raul Mesnier de Ponsard and is built between 1900 and 1902.
- Go out in the district Bairro Alto
And then you have Bairro Alto; the district of Lisbon which is popular for many bars and cafés. In the evening you can find here a lot of people and you can have a nice night out. In some cafés, you can find musicians who are playing fado, the Portugese music.
Have you ever been to Lisbon? What was your favourite place?
This article is part of the GPSmyCity iOS app. You can download it, read this article offline and obtain travel directions (by foot, car or bicycle) to the places mentioned in this article. Click here to download it.
This is on the countries in Europe I have been reading a lot about this year and I am dying to visit. You have captured the city well and further my desires to want to leave now on a plane to visit!!
I’ll admit I only went to Lisbon because I was so close to Portugal, it seemed like I should make the detour and Lisbon was the obvious choice. It was one of the highlights of that trip — and I was traveling for 4 months. It’s such a great city, hopefully I’ll be back soon.
So many fun things to do! I would love to visit the gorgeous castle. I am like you and would rather explore on my own than do a guided tour. But I understand sometimes it’s a good idea to take a tour 🙂
Noel Morata (@emorata)
Its been over 20 years since I visited the capital city and it still looks amazing, I would love to go back and explore these wonderful monuments and places of interest.
Sarah Kim, Tales From a Fork
I went to Lisbon for 3 days and absolutely loved it! Yet, I haven’t done a lot of the things you did such as visiting castelo de São Jorge. Looks beautiful there.