If there is a mandatory city to visit in Europe is Lisbon. A city break in Lisbon will take you into a journey of ancient history, delicious food, majestic architecture and a flamboyant lifestyle. My city, is the city that makes you fall in love for ancient traditions that only here exists. Listen to the sentimental Fado, tasting the Portuguese custard tart or eating codfish in a million ways, are traditions that you have to experience when you visit Lisbon. Lisbon is also known as the city of the seven hills that embellishes Portugal. With so many attractions to visit, I want to simplify and show you the 10 best sites that should be seen in my town.
It has been months that I wanted to write this article! I’m finally doing it! Finally, I have the chance to present you my city, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. To make it practical, I decided to list the 10 best places that you need to visit in Lisbon.
The first mandatory stop in Lisbon is Belém. In Belém there is plenty to do, starting with the worldwide famous Portuguese custard tarts or pastel de nata. At the original house where the pastel de nata started to be commercialized, Pastéis de Belém, you can eat the most tasteful warm custard tarts. You can sprinkle on top cinnamon or icing sugar.
In Belém you can also visit the classified Unesco World Heritage “Jerónimos Monastery” known by its Manueline late gothic architecture style.
Right next to the Monastery is Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB). CCB is a cultural centre where you can see the most extravagant and exquisite art from all over the world. From Mondrian to Andy Warhol, you can find renowned art in CCB.
Torre de Belém or Belém Tower is a monumental building worth to be visited. It was the place where Portuguese explorers would embark or disembark. Ten minutes away by walk, there is another historical building: Padrão dos Descobrimentos, which celebrates the Portuguese Age of Exploration.
2)CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE
Castelo de São Jorge or São Jorge Castle gives name to one of the most beautiful hills of Lisbon, hill of São Jorge. Here you have a panoramic view over the city. The historic castle had its origins on the 8th century BC with the Roman empire, but only on the 11th century was built as we see it now.
Take a ride with a tuk tuk towards the castle, it’s easier and less tiring. The walk to the top of the the hill can be exhausting. Half way you can stop and admire a different view over Lisbon from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia/ Santa Luzia Viewpoint. Lisbon has several viewpoints spread around the city.
An alternative to tuk tuk is taking the tram Nr. 28 to the castle that passes by Lisbon Cathedral.
ARCO DA RUA AUGUSTA, PRAÇA DO COMÉRCIO, PRAÇA DOS RESTAURADORES
On Praça do Comércio/ Comércio Square you can watch the sunset over the river or walk down the Rua Augusta/ Augusta Street, where you can see the Arco da Rua Augusta/ Rua Augusta Arch. On Augusta Street you can also do some shopping. The long avenue of Augusta Street has plenty of fashion and souvenir stores.
In the historic center, when walking down from Augusta Street, you will get to two squares: Figueira Square/ Praça da Figueira and Restauradores Square/ Praça dos Restauradores. In Figueira Square there’s some markets and you can try a Portuguese piglet sandwich. On the other square, Restauradores Square, you can visit the flamboyant circus decorated sardine store: “O Mundo Fantástico da Sardinha Portuguesa”.
In Restauradores Square it’s mandatory to stop at Ginjinha. Ginjinha drink is a sweet alcoholic drink with sour cherries.
In Chiado you can take a picture next to the sculpture of the famous Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa at the oldest café in Lisbon: A Brasileira.
I recommend you to go at Santini, in Chiado, and try the best icecream in the world. It’s made from fresh ingredients with an original Sicilian recipe.
PINK STREET AND BAIRRO ALTO
Pink Street in Cais do Sodré, close to the historic center, gets heated up at night. Pink street is a must go site in the nightlife of Lisbon.
Walking up the street, from Pink Street up to the hill, you will get to Bairro Alto where everyone gathers outside the bars and enjoys drinking and dancing.
Alfama offers the most authentic tradition of Portugal: Fado. Fado is a Portuguese music genre that carries deep, soulful and nostalgic feelings. There is several restaurants in Alfama with live Fado shows. My recommendation goes for Casa de Fado Porta d’Alfama. They serve very tasty codfish dishes that Portugal is known for.
7)TIME OUT MARKET
Time Out Market Lisboa is like the other Time Out Market‘s spread around the world. The one from Lisbon, has Portuguese typical homecooked inspired food with an exquisite touch.
8)AVENIDA DA LIBERDADE
If you like fancy food, cocktails or designer fashion stores then Avenida da Liberdade/Liberty Avenue is the place for you. One of my favourite places is the Sky Bar at the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade that has a beautiful view over Lisbon whilst you can watch the sunset.
9)PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES
The new and modern part of the town emerged with Parque das Nações/ Nations Park in 1998, built to exhibit the Expo’98. Tall buildings, such as São Rafael Tower, and important modern architectural styles started in Parque das Nações.
The amazing and long riverside is surrounded by restaurants and bars, enable you to enjoy the best view over the river.
One of the main touristic attractions of Parque das Nações is the Lisbon Cable Car.
QUINTA DA REGALEIRA AND PALÁCIO DA PENA
I reserved the best for last. Sintra is a magical place filled with historic majestic palaces, mansions and villas. The ancient buildings are a delight for anyone that likes to discover secret labyrinths lost in old history. Sintra is in the outskirts of Lisbon, but it’s so worth it to take a trip to visit the Quinta da Regaleira with the beautiful Poço Iniciático/ Initiation Well and Palácio da Pena/ Feather Palace with muslim influences.
SHORT TOUR VIDEO
I truly hope I have left you a desire to visit my city, the city that I grew up.
I would like to recommend an Airbnb that I stayed in where the service and quality are five stars. The Geronimo Guest House Belém is located close to all attractions in Belém and the rooms are decorated by themes. My room was inspired by the Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Next week I will bring you the 10 Best Sites to Visit in Porto, the second main city of Portugal.
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