Lisbon, as the whole country, is a city of contrasts. The Ajuda neighborhood is one of the most beautiful in the city and one of the least explored. Waking the streets of this uphill area will be a surprise. The constant river views are delightful and the atmosphere is homely.
We invite you to walk down from Ajuda’s National Palace to Lx Factory. From the royal family’s residence to a creative area, close to the river. Half an hour, downhill. Get your camera ready!
Ajuda’s National Palace
Ajuda’s National Palace is one of the most beautiful and majestic palaces in the country. The palace is located on the top of a hill, away from the river and in a heartquake safe area. After the 1755 catastrophe, the royal family decided to stay away from the river. After a wooden house was built on the same location where the palace is now standing, the first works started following a late Baroque-Rococo plan. Years passed and different occupants decided that the construction/renovation of the palace should follow a modern neoclassical style.
This is one of the most beautiful and quietest areas in Lisbon. Imagine a small village: small houses, nice neighbors, mutual help, small traditional shops, familiar faces. As you walk through the streets of Ajuda, that is what you’re going to find.
Look around. Breath in. The atmosphere in this small ‘corner’ of Lisbon is totally different. You’re not far from the city center yet you are away from all the busy streets and neighborhoods. When you walk downhill, from the Palace to the river, you’ll be amazed by great views of the river and the city’s roofs.
You won’t find many high and modern buildings. Part of Ajuda’s charm lies in the fact that most buildings are identical, classy and they have a homely feel to them. There are trees along the streets. There are small gardens on the blocks. This feels like the right place to build a family/home.
If you enter some of the oldest shops, you’ll probably find out that the person on the other side of the counter never had another job in her life. Yes, they might be old. Yes, they have been there for ages. And yes, some of those shops still have things that you might remember from the time you were a small child and went shopping with your grandmother. Truth is, sometimes, those stores are lifesavers! For those in need of a specific product and for those in need of human contact.
One of the greatest attractions of the Ajuda neighborhood is the Botanical Garden. Founded in 1768, this is one of the most incredible gardens in the country. Nowadays, it is part of the Agronomy School. There are guided tours to this Renaissance garden, with its terraces and fundamental elements: carved stone, plants, water fountains and lakes. The ornaments in the garden have Baroque influences.
Calçada de Santo Amaro
This street dates back to the 18th century when the first noble house was built. As you go down the street, you’ll be amazed by the views. You’ll be walking towards the river. The bridge will be present, along the way. Imagine a time when there were no cars, where people had to trade goods on the streets. That was the scenery a couple of centuries ago.
Calçada de Santo Amaro still keeps some of the original traits. As you reach the ‘miradouro’ (viewpoint) you’ll see the church and the square. When the festivities in honor of Saint Amaro were held, the church was filled with people and small stands were built around the square, so people could sell/buy goods.
Reaching this viewpoint around sunset will take your breath away!!!
Lx Factory is a creative hub. It houses creative industries, restaurants, bars, co-working spaces, shops and much more. This used to be a textile factory. It was abandoned for years. Founded in 1846, this industrial area was the home for a couple of different companies: from textile to food processing, passing through a printing company.
Apart from the offices and working spaces, there are restaurants where you can enjoy delicious food, there’s one of the most amazing and unconventional bookshops in the world – located in a former printing space -, bars and terraces with charming views.
This space also welcomes various creative events. Around the area, you can find graffiti walls, painted by some of the most well-known artists in Portugal. Visiting Lx Factory by day and by night is totally different. The atmosphere is different. The people around are different.
This walk, from Ajuda’s National Palace to Lx Factory will take you around half an hour. If you decide to let yourself go, it can take up to an hour. But it will be totally worth it!
We can’t reveal all the secrets but we can take you to all these places and transform your visit to Lisbon into an adventure! Come along, there’s plenty to discover!