Cruising to Lisbon, Portugal


Lisbon tourist information.

Lisbon PortugalLisbon, Portugal’s capital, is a fascinating and inspiring place spread over a string of seven hills north of the Tagus River. It’s a city of faded ironwork balconies, multicolored tiles, and mosaic sidewalks, of bougainvillea and red-tiled roofs . The best way to get to know this picturesque City of Seven Hills is to stroll up and down its streets, entering into narrow alleys of historic neighborhoods like Alfama, the oldest part of the city. The warren of streets that make up the Alfama, sits below the spectacularly sited Moorish Castelo de São Jorge, its ruined walls facing another hill, the Bairro Alto or upper town, famed for its bars, restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Follow the sounds of Fado and you might find an old tavern full of locals drinking the sweet liqueur Ginginha.

Charming Lisbon

Lisbon Tram 28The most enjoyable activity while in the Alfama district is a ride on the number 28 tram, going through some of the oldest quarters and many tourist attractions. The tram route connects the district of Graça with Baixa and passes through the streets and hills of Alfama. This narrow and undulating tram route is totally unsuitable for any modern trams, so historic Remodelado trams, which date from the 1930s, provide the service instead.

The valley between hills makes up the Baixa, or lower town. The Baixa district is the heart of Lisbon and was completely rebuilt after the devastating 1755 earthquake. The district comprises of magnificent plazas, which are connected by straight avenues lined with grand 18th-century architecture. This is the district of Lisbon where tourists will spend the majority of their time. The streets are lined with cafes and buzzing nightlife is within walking distance. Baixa has many of Lisbon’s most important tourist attractions and the area is a great place to be based in.

Things to do in Lisbon

Belem

Belem Tower is Lisbon’s most photographed building is found. The Belem tower stands on the shoreline, around 5km west of the centre of the city. The park and promenade in front of this chunky 16th century fortification are a popular spot for Lisbon families to enjoy the afternoon sunshine, and to watch the crowds of tourists presumably. The tower has been designated World Heritage Site status along with the nearby Jeronimo Monastery, and both are well worth the tram ride out of the city.

Castle of São Jorge

The castle of Lisbon, locally named Castelo de São Jorge is located right on top of the tallest of Lisbon´s seven hills of the historic centre of the capital city, above the old Moorish quarter. The castle is clearly visible from a long way off and it is famous for its panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. The Atlantic can be seen behind the 25 de Abril Bridge, Ponte 25 de Abril and on clear days the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Tower of Belem, Torre de Belém are visible in the distance.

Take a tram ride

In Lisbon, getting there really is part of the fun, as the charming clanking old trams are still the best way to reach the top of the steepest hills. A popular tram is number 28 that passes through the oldest quarters, while the colorful funiculars of Gloria and Bica are fun ways to reach Bairro Alto.

Go up in the Santa Justa elevator

The Elevador de Santa Justa (Santa Justa Lift) is a beautifully crafted elevator that transports passengers from the Baixa district up to the ruins of the Igreja do Carmo church. The Elevador de Santa Justa is an industrial-age marvel, with the outer ironwork structure forming glorious neo-gothic arches, while inside two sumptuous polished wood carriages whisk passengers up in style.

Listen to Fado

Whether or not you like the style of music, dinner by candlelight listening to fado in Lisbon is unmissable. Consider yourself lucky and do stop, if you hear it sung while strolling through some street in Alfama, Mouraria or Madragoa. This style is the so-called fado vadio, or amateur, sung when someone gets the urge to sing, with the guitars simply joining in.