Lisbon, one day around town

Apr 6, 2019 | Lisbon

There’s a lot more to Lisbon than what the eye can see. Lisbon is not only the capital city of Portugal. It’s a city of history, romance, art, tradition, and mystery! Put your walking shoes on and join us in a walk around town!
We like to start early. So, first things first, we have a coffee and a ‘nata’. Nothing like a good cup of coffee and a traditional pastry to set you on the right mood for a day in hilly Lisbon. Don’t worry, there are seven hills but we know our way around and some short cuts!

Brief historical references

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe and the World. It dates back to the Pre-Roman Era. Occupied by German tribes, then by the Moors. It was conquered by Afonso Henriques (Portugal’s first King) in 1147. During the Age of Discoveries, most of the expeditions departed from Lisbon.

In 1755 an earthquake destroyed 85% of the city. Marquês de Pombal decided to destroy what was left and rebuild from scratch the area that we now know as ‘baixa pombalina’. The Modern Architectural Plan has applied: a rectangular plan, with large streets, and two main squares: Praça do Rossio and Praça do Comércio.

Where to go, what to see and what to do?

Lisbon is a city of many wonders. Depending on your personal preferences and tastes, there are plenty of things to do. How much time do you have to spend in the city?

If you have more than two days, then you can organize your visit and discover a multitude of museums, viewpoints, restaurants and nearby places that will make you fall in love with the city and its neighboring villages. 

Lisbon’s downtown is a must see. Walking through the narrow streets and wide avenues is totally worth the while. It’s one of the most interesting features of the city. The contrast between the different areas, although they are not that far apart from each other.

We could give you a vast array of suggestions. We decided to choose a couple of places in Lisbon we love and share them with you.

Baixa Pombalina and Rossio

If you’re a fan of architecture you’ll be delighted with the buildings and the decorative details. Santa Justa Elevator is one of the most beautiful structures.

A 19th-century project designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel: Raul Mesnier de Ponsard. The Elevator is not only a mean of transportation but also, a work of art. It takes you up or down one of the steep hills of the city, from Baixa to Carmo.

In 1907 the steam engine that powered the elevator was replaced by an electrical one, that still works nowadays. At the top of the structure, there’s a platform from where you can enjoy one of the most charming views of Lisbon.

 

From the top platform, you can walk to Carmo, a former Catholic convent. This is one of the buildings affected by the 1755 earthquake. The Gothic church ruins are one of the best examples of the destruction of this natural catastrophe.

As you will be walking around, you will need to stop for a drink or a meal. This is the moment where we let you in on a secret: there is a hidden gem in downtown Lisbon! ‘Casa do Alentejo’.

It is a palace, where a handful of architectural styles mix. The entrance takes you to a Moorish palace. Take a look at ‘Sala dos Espelhos’, a banquet hall.

If you’re hungry, this is one of the places where you can try some of the Portuguese dishes or just sit at the Tavern and ask for some  ‘petiscos’ (the Portuguese word for ‘tapas’).

The Castle, Alfama, and Mouraria

Lisbon is the home of Fado. Alfama and Mouraria are the areas where you can find most of the traditional Fado restaurants.

Fado was born in the heart of these two neighborhoods and was sang in taverns, by prostitutes. It evolved into a sophisticated art and conquered the hearts of all social classes. Having a meal at one of these small taverns/restaurants is a unique experience.

Get to know more about fado on our previous post

The Castle is on the top of the highest hill in Lisbon. It’s a Moorish castle, overlooking the historical center of Lisbon and the Tagus river. It dates back from the medieval ages and is one of the main attractions in the city.

Estrela

There are plenty of small gardens and ‘green oasis’ around town. One of the most pleasant and with a wide variety of species is Estrela’s Garden. We recommend you go for a stroll at the end of the day or just enjoy a relaxing stop during the day.
The ‘Basílica’ (just in front of the garden) is an imponent building and one of the must-visit churches in town. It was a Carmelite convent and it was built under the order of Queen Maria and is the first church in the world dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The architectural styles are late baroque and neoclassical. It is a majestic building. Inside and outside.

If you want to know more about Lisbon, what to visit and where are here to help. Contact us for a tailor-made experience and enjoy your a vacation!

Subscribe

Instagram

Check our experiences for a unique vacation in Portugal!