How many times has it happen that you visit a place and then few months/years later have to dig deeper in the mind to find out how exactly the time was spent during travel! Lisbon is one such city for me – had to fight hard with my mind, had series of discussion with Deepa, had re-iterated each snap from the trip countless time and went through the Lisbon city map (which we still had from our trip – thanks to Deepa!) in order to recall the sites/monuments/things we visited in the city. I’m glad I could re-collect most of it now. So, it’s not memory loss! 😛
We loved every moment spent in the city – it’s environment, people, food, music and especially the look. Lisbon is a vibrant city with contemporary culture topped up with delicious Portuguese cuisine and Fado music – and both of these don’t need any introduction. It’s a city built on seven hills with Tagus river in front. The city is divided into multiple districts – Alfama, Baixa, Chiado, Bairro Alto, Belém – each district presenting different aspects of travelling opportunities. Such is the atmosphere that one can fall in love with the city instantly.
The district Baxia is the down town, most of which is rebuilt after Great Earthquake of 1755; Chiado is the district with a bit of historical sense but mainly the shopping district; Alfama consists of small alleys with irregular streets and congested housing; and Bairro Alto (uphill) provides magnificent views of the city and the river, especially from Jardim de Sao Pedro de Alcantara!
Travel on Tram 28 – it’s a local tram which still uses old traditional tram and passes through most of Lisbon’s historic sights, thus making it a popular way of seeing Lisbon with added local flavour (as locals use it for their daily commute).
TIP: May have to struggle at peak times for the seat, so a good idea is to take the tram from it’s starting stop and arrive a bit in advance to get one!
Another TIP: Good way is to take tram one way and then walk back.
Rossio (Pedro IV) Square is the most popular place for hanging out. The Lisbon’s main street is called Avenida da liberdade which runs from Rossio square till Marques de Pombal.
Basilica da Estrela – It’s Lisbon’s landmark basilica with great Estrela park in the neighbourhood. The city views from the top of the tomb are breathtaking. It falls on the route of tram 28.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos – is a remarkable monument in the Belém district and on the northern bank of Tagus river which celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery. In front of this, there are Centro Cultural De Belém & National Museum of Archaeology.
Few steps down is the Torre de Belém – a monument which also serves the Portuguese Age of Discovery.
Spend some time at the Praça do Comércio square during the day especially while sunset or after – the scenery is breathtaking.
Elevador de Santa Justa – Cast-iron elevator with filigree details, built in 1902 to connect lower streets with Carmo Square and another place to get nice top city views.
We travelled to Lisbon in Oct’13 for 3 days (with 1 day in Sintra) and stayed in an Airbnb apartment in the city centre. We went to Lisbon from Seville (Spain) by night bus and then flew back to Copenhagen with TAP Portugal.
Below are few places where we did ate during our visit and found them good:
Lunch at Zaafran, an Indian restaurant with a bit of Portuguese touch. But it was nice and they had a fixed lunch menu – so that was nice.
Cervejaria Portugal – Reasonably good Portuguese restaurant with good food quality and nice portions.
Hard Rock Cafe – Our usual spot for one time meal at every travel city.
Lisbon is a great city and a place which is best when explored at snail’s pace. There is so much to do/see/experience in the city that even 3-4 days may not be enough! Before we end, we snaps of Lisbon’s local life & their trams: