Monday, 9 January 2017

Lisbon Chronicles | City Guide





Lisbon is getting popular by the day and the number of visitors increases each year. Although my opinion may be suspect, this popularity is well deserved, for the Portuguese capital is a little gem, full of beauty, history and culture.

Long overdue, this guide will help you get around in the city, not missing much of the best it has to offer. Suggest you to follow the links that will lead you to posts where you can fin more specific information, tips and photos.

Lisbon, with its seven hills, stretches along the Tagus river and possess the most remarkable light, so, bring your camera and be prepared to take a lot of photos. Depending on the time you'll have you can see more or less places, but next I'll present you some of the districts that you can't miss.


BAIXA (DOWNTOWN)

Baixa Pombalina owes its name to Marquês de Pombal the Portuguese Prime Minister that, after the 1755 earthquake, commissioned the reconstruction of that part of the city. The urban planning and the construction methods used were pioneer in 18th century Europe and still resist today.

Some of the highlights of this neighborhood are Rossio Square, with its characteristic wavy cobblestone floor, the large and sunny Praça do Comércio (also known as Terreiro do Paço), one of the most beautiful European squares. On Terreiro do Paço, you can see and visit the Triumphal Arch on Rua Augusta, and the Cais das Colunas, a stone pear with two columns. The square is also home for a series of restaurants and cafés, with gorgeous terraces for you to enjoy the nice weather.

Walking from Rossio to Terreiro do Paço, you will see the Santa Justa Lift, a engineering master piece, many times wrongly attributed to Gustave Eiffel, that connects Downtown Lisbon to Chiado.

From Terreiro do Paço, you can walk along the river bank, on Ribeira das Naus, enjoying the sun.






CHIADO

Next to Baixa, you can find Chiado neighborhood, which is traditionally a shopping area where you can find from the most traditional shops (some of them centuries old) to more modern and trendy establishments.

Cafes and restaurants, churches and museums, theaters and designer shops concentrated within a few streets, make this part of Lisbon one of the most visited by tourists and frequented by the city’s habitants.

On Chiado you must visit the ruins of Carmo Church. The beauty of this partially ruined church is unforgettable. Closely you can find the Varandas do Carmo, a set of terraces with bars and restaurants where you can relax and enjoy some drinks and great views of the city. If you want a 360º view, go up to Santa Justa's Lift terrace. Another must go place on Chiado with a stunning view of the Castle is Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.








PRÍNCIPE REAL

Not far from Chiado is the neighborhood of Principe Real, one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city of Lisbon. Its gardens and quiet squares are lined with colorful palaces. There you can find antique shops, restaurants and bars. The tourists who walk around and senior citizens playing deck in the shade of trees all contribute to its undeniable charm.

The Botanical Garden and the Natural History Museum can be interesting if you travel with children.






ALFAMA

Alfama is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Europe and surely one of the most picturesque of Lisbon. This medieval neighborhood escaped the earthquake of 1755 and keeps its Moorish and Jewish roots in many of its traits and characteristics. The beautiful views of the city and the Tagus seduce both the travelers and the locals, and a walk through its alleys, squares and viewpoints is absolutely mandatory wen visiting Lisbon.

While in Alfama you can't miss a visit to Lisbon Cathedral (Church of St. Mary Major) whose construction began in the second half of the twelfth century. For great views (and awesome photos) go to Miradouro de Santa Luzia e Miradouro das Portas do Sol. The São Vicente de Fora Monastery and the National Pantheon, visible from the viewpoints I just mentioned are also on this district and interesting places to visit.

In Alfama you can also find several museums and lots of restaurants and terraces to have a drink or a coffee.







CASTELO

From Alfama you can go up to Castelo neighborhood climbing its narrow, steep streets. Covering  Lisbon's tallest hill, the Castelo neighborhood grow around the Castle walls and is one of the oldest (and smaller) Portuguese districts. Besides the neighborhood itself, the main attraction is the Castelo de São Jorge, a milenar fortification that was house to Romans, Visigoths, Moors and then to Portuguese kings. The castle holds so much history inside its walls that you should reserve a couple of hours to the visit. Nevertheless, the breathtaking views of the city that you can grasp from the walls are surely one of its greatest attractive.






BELÉM

Belém is an historic district on the West part of Lisbon closely related to to the Portuguese discoveries.  The emblematic buildings of Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), both UNESCO World Heritage sites, were built in Manueline style with exotic,  navy and maritime elements inspired by the voyages the Portuguese made around the world.

Between the two monuments one can find the refreshing gardens of Praça do Império, with its fountains and vegetation. Facing the river Tagus you'll have on your right the Centro Cultural de Belém (Belém Cultural Centre), with exhibitions and cultural events and a little further the Champalimaud Foundation, both with a contemporary architecture that is worth to admire.

In walking distance to your left, you'll find the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) and the Museu dos Coches (Coach Museum) where you can find a unique collection of coaches. You can also find the recently opened MAAT.

While in Belém the choice of restaurants is enormous, and if you don't decide to have lunch or dinner, a visit to the Pastéis de Belém patisserie to taste one (or more) of the worldly famous Portuguese custard pastries is mandatory.







PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES

The Parque das Nações (Park of Nations) neighborhood, situated in the eastern part of Lisbon, includes the new urban area of ​​the city arisen following the World Expo 1998.

Characterized by its contemporary architecture and the extensive leisure and entertainment facilities, the Parque das Nações quickly won the hearts of Lisbon habitants and the delight of its visitors. Some of the architectural highlights include the outstanding vaults of the Oriente Train Station, by Santiago Calatrava, and the Pavilion of Portugal, by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.

Among the cultural facilities is worth visiting the Museum of Science and Technology which features several interactive exhibits and the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world.










Lisbon is a small, beautiful and safe city and you can walk around easily. The subway covers most of the city and is most useful if you want to go across the city. Don’t forget to look to the beautiful pieces of art inside the stations, mostly tile panels and sculptures by Portuguese artists. In some parts of the city the Tram is the perfect choice. Tram 28 for the old town neighbourhoods and Tram 15 to Belém.







28 comments:

  1. Aflame looks like a wonderful place to wander around. So beautiful and historic. I love visiting historic places when I travel.

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  2. This is such a beautiful place. And a wonderful guide that you have compiled with all the info one would require to plan a visit here

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  3. This is such a fabulously detailed guide to Lisbon! I haven't made it around Portugal yet, only to Porto, but Lisbon is definitely at the top of my list. Bookmarking to use for my trip!

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  4. Lisbon looks wonderful. Thanks for such a great guide.

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  5. Great post do many details I like it. It made me excited to visit Lisbon thanks for sharing

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  6. Fantastic guide. I'm heading to Lisbon soon so this will prove super helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. After reading your guide, I realized I missed quite a few things in Lisbon. I've got to go back!

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  8. Loved this comprehensive view of many areas of Lisbon! Such a unique city of history and architecture.

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  9. Wonderfully detailed guide! Lisbon is such a great city! We went in 2015. Such beauty in the city

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  10. Thank you for your post and such a fantastic guide. Super helpful for anyone traveling out that way- I am planning my 2017 list and Lisbon is definitely a place I would like to explore again!

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  11. Lisbon is on my list of European cities to visit in 2018 and this post just got me even more excited! Your photos are so vibrant and inviting...I can't wait to see and explore it in person!

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  12. Lisbon is very picturesque, a place that everybody who loves to walk around would surely enjoy... Thanks for sharing this guide. I have saved it, who knows I will be able to visit Portugal soon...

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  13. Great Post! I am saving it for later, we are planning to visit Lisbon in late summer this year and it will come in very handy when looking deeper into all the amazing things and sights that we can do there! Thanks for putting it together :)

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  14. Nice work - Lisbon looks like a really interesting city. I haven't been to Portugal but it's a place where I would love to visit. Lisbon seems to be a very popular destination as is Porto - both on my list to visit!

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  15. Lisbon looks beautiful. So far it isn't in my wishlist though. The ruins of the Carmo Church is intriguing.

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  16. The ruins of Carmo convent is something that I always wanted to visit, but never had the chance.

    Good indications for a quick visit to Lisbon!

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  17. Great information and details for anyone who would be interested in visiting Portugal. The parks in Lisbon look beautiful and it's always valuable information to know that this city is a safe place to visit.

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  18. Great break down of the city! I think I would really love Chiado and Alfama. I love older neighborhoods.

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  19. It's always sad when a city gets taken down by an earthquake, you lose so much history! Glad to hear that Alfama avoided that fate and still has a lot of Moorish and Jewish characteristics. Can't wait to visit!

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  20. I really liked the way you divided your guide into neighborhoods to describe the city. I have been to Lisbon and you are correct in that it seemed really safe and easy to explore. Loved the trams, a great suggestion.

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  22. Thank U for the useful city guide!
    Lisbon is on my to-go list so I will defintely keep it in mind :D

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  23. Next time i go to Europe Lisbon is on my list. Looks awesome.

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  24. I've been to Lisboa and it's absolutely gorgeous!! You're bringing back memories of the good times and the city. I didn't get to visit as much as you listed here but that's more of reason to visit again!

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  25. I've visited Lisbon two or three times and I absolutely love this place! Such a lively city with so much to do. I hope that you got the chance to try pastel de nata in Belém, best pastry EVER! :)

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  26. The weather looks so delightful. I can picture how nice it would be to walk around, seeing all that Lisbon has to offer. This guide looks well organized and easy to follow. I've pinned this for later!

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  27. I've been to the Azores and fell in love, now I'd love to visit Lisbon! This is great to have a guide of places to add to my wish list.

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  28. This is a lovely introduction to my favorite city :)

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