One of the best things about Lisbon is to explore the intricate streets downtown or to explore the riverfront. You can also enjoy the sun in one of the many terraces across town. For all these sightseeing suggestions there are places to visit, and tours are easily accessible.
Bairro Alto, Bica, Cais Do Sodré and Santos
During the day, the historic Bairro Alto and Bica quarters fascinate visitors with their traditional neighbourhood feel. Bairro Alto is home to a multitude of alternative shops, second-hand clothes stores, hairdressers, record stores, art galleries and much more. They blend with the diversity of the local people to create a truly unique ambiance. At night everything changes and a party atmosphere prevails. The area is the epitome of Lisbon’s nightlife. From here, you can drop down through Bica, to Pink Street in Cais do Sodré and Santos.
The charm and elegance of the city centre – Marquês de Pombal, Avenida da Liberdade, Baixa and Chiado
As you set out from Marquês de Pombal, towards the distant river, you find yourself walking down the Avenida da Liberdade. Numerous topflight international brands have shops along both flanks of this broad avenue, with its trees and outdoor cafés that draw you on to downtown Lisbon.
In Rossio, the statute of D. Pedro V (King Pedro V) points the way to Rua Augusta, and its shops, restaurants, and street artists. At the other end, this street opens out into Terreiro do Paço. Here you can take a break at one of the many outdoor cafés and restaurants, right next to the river Tagus, before climbing the majestic Arco da Rua Augusta (Rua Augusta Arch) to enjoy the unique views or visit Lisbon’s Story Centre, where you can explore the main events of the city’s two-thousand-year-long history. Not to be missed is Chiado area, diversity and modernity intermingle with the history of the poets and artists, who stamped their mark and who, in the 19th Century, made this a hothouse of literature and poetry, a starting point for romanticism.
A ride on tram 28 – Alfama, Castelo, Graça, and Mouraria
The city becomes increasingly iconic and picturesque, the further you go into its historical and medieval districts. As you walk along the stone-paved, narrow and often steep streets of Alfama and Mouraria you are transported back in time. Perched at the very top of this hill is Castelo S. Jorge (St. George’s Castle), built during the 7th Century.
On your way there, you will bump into some unique people, stories and traditions. The popular and yet melancholy music of Fado infuses the air and tells you that you are in the Alfama.
From Mouraria, a melting pot of peoples and traditions, climb up to Graça. Don’t forget to stop at the various viewpoints along the way, particularly those of Graça and Senhora do Monte. Take a seat on one of the garden benches and drink in the landscape before you.
You could also get to Graça on the famous No. 28 tram. A ride on this emblematic symbol of the city allows you to take in most of the historical and cultural heritage that Lisbon has to offer.
A new Lisbon in the waterfront
The Parque das Nações is Lisbon at its most modern. On the east side of town, contemporary architecture now covers a vast area of urban regeneration. The most notable buildings, the ones everyone wants to see, are the awning of the Pavilhão de Portugal (Portugal Pavilion) and the Gare do Oriente (Oriente Train Station).
The numerous small parks, many of them right on the river, and the famous cable car make it an excellent place for a family outing.
What’s more, the cultural offer is extensive and diverse. The Oceanário (Oceanarium) is one of the biggest attractions. Of all the species it holds, most visitors make a beeline for the enormous mantas and fearful sharks, kings Oand lords of the massive central tank.
After having contemplated nature for a while, it is time to learn a little more at the Museu de Conhecimento – Ciência Viva (Science Museum).
Belém is synonymous with history and the Portuguese discoveries. It was from this historic location that the great adventurers set sail in their frail caravels, on a mission to discover the world.
The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery) and Torre de Belém (Belém Tower), both UNESCO World Heritage sites, are Manueline-style monuments, whose imposing architectural wealth transports us back to the heyday of the Portuguese Empire.
Why not taking a cooling stroll amongst the gardens and fountains of the Praça do Império, which lies between the two monuments? Although altogether more contemporary, the Centro Cultural de Belém (Belém Cultural Centre), with its numerous exhibitions and cultural events, should also be on your must-see list. At the Musem dos Coches you can enjoy the dazzling and unique collection of coaches and accessories.
On your way there, pick up a Pastel de Belém (Belém pastry), one of the city’s most famous edible titbits and now well-known all over the world.
Lisbon region – Sintra and Cascais
Sintra, classified by UNESCO as a Cultural Landscape and World Heritage site in 1995, has inspired artists and poets throughout its long history. The fresh, luxuriant and lush countryside melds harmoniously with the architectural exuberance of the mansions and palaces that cloak Sintra in mystery and romanticism.
A mere 25 km outside Lisbon, Sintra is a beguiling town, bursting with personality and history, which welcomes you in the form of the centrally located Palácio da Vila (Town Palace). Stroll around or take a carriage and travel back in time, to explore Palácio da Pena (Pena Palace), the apogee of 19th Century Romanticism. Pena Palace is one of those unique monuments and places that mere words can barely describe. The Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) and its imposing walls tell of a very different Sintra, of the wars and battles of a long-gone time.
Cascais offers beaches, leisure opportunities, shops and lifestyle, all to be found along the seaside too. Just 30 minutes outside Lisbon, relaxation is the name of the game here. Cascais is a reinvented fishing village that is now an elegant seaside resort, brimming with good food, cultural events, and shopping opportunities, all set against the background of a picturesque historic centre.
Lisbon is amongst the most competitive cities for international events, being a friendly and tolerant and secure city by tradition. Currently ranks as the 9th city in the world and 8th at the European level for congresses and was recently awarded as the “Best Destination for City Break”.
Lisbon offers state-of-the-art technology and can supply a wide range of technological networks for telephone services, data communications, international and satellite connections, mobile communications and cable TV, thus ensuring ease of contact with the rest of the world. High-performance digital infrastructures and technological level leading to the selection of Lisbon (Oeiras) for the new Google Centre. Lisbon also hosts two European Agencies: European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).
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