Lisbon is one of the most fantastic places in Europe due to its characterized, unique atmosphere that you can’t really find anywhere else. The houses and churches decorated with tiles, the special “lift” trams going up and down the hills, the rooftop bars with breathtaking panoramas, colourful cobblestones with different patterns, delicious baked pastries and high street arts. The list is endless that makes this wonderful city special. But of course, let’s not forget that Lisbon has a huge history, besides its vibrant, cosmopolitan appearance, since its foundations are even older than Rome. For travellers interested in Lisbon we have now collected the most interesting sights that can be visited in just a few days. It was quite difficult to complete this list as you can spend weeks in the capital of Portugal and still get to know new attractions every day.
If I’m thinking about Lisbon the first thing that pop into my mind is the viewpoints called Miradouros. As the city lies in a hilly area, it almost doesn’t matter where you are, since each high point gives a beautiful panoramic view. You could spend more days visiting and spending a few minutes at the 30 most beautiful Miradouros, recommended by travel websites. If you would like to do so visit THIS site. For me, the absolute favorite is Miradouro de Santa Luzia, halfway between the cathedral and the castle.
In the 12th century, after the reign of Moor, the oldest church of the city was built over the place of a mosque. The cathedral – called Sé – was originally built in Romanesque style, but it also has a numerous other architectural characteristics since it has been heavily restored and rebuilt during earthquakes and wars. Those interested in history should definitely buy a ticket to the cathedral grounds to see the Phoenician remains from 800 BC and the foundations of the cathedral and Roman mosque.
3. St. George’s Castle
The fortress on the Castle Hill was first built by the Romans, then it was transformed into a royal residency by the Moors in the 10th century. The first Portuguese King Alfonso I, with the help of the Northern Crusaders of Northern Europe, conquered the monsoon during the Second Crusade, and later it became the seat of the Portuguese kings. It has got its name after the English Saint George, as a commemoration to the 1371 English-Portuguese Pact. It is worth visiting the castle not only for historical monuments, but also for the magnificent panorama of the Old Town.
4. St. Jerome’s Monastery
The monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. It was also classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The manueline style in Portugal is an extraordinary variant of early Renaissance, mixed with Gothic and Moorish elements, such as beautiful stone carvings. Vasco da Gama and his crew spent the night in the monastery before they headed to explore India, where he also spends his eternal peace. At the beginning of the 1500’s, the monastery was rebuilt by King Manuel I. from the tax trade with the east. The cost was 70 kg of gold a year and the works lasted for 100 years. The temple with the nearby Belém tower and the memorial of the explorers symbolizes the time of the Portuguese discoveries.
5. LX factory
Lisbon’s trendiest quarter and coolest hangout spots can be found between Belem and the city centre in the building of a former textil factory. In one of the secluded corners of Lisbon, between Belem and the city center, a former tissue factory complex is housed in the LX factory. It is an interesting experience for visitors, as they can discover the everyday life of young Portuguese artists, fashion, advertising, communication and music professionals, architects or start-up companies. Those who love sweets may also find it worth visiting here, as local youths say that it has the best chocolate cake in town.
6. Bairro Alto
Bairro Alto (literally: Upper District) is a central district of the city of Lisbon. It was created due to the flourishing trade and economic development of the 15th century. It is recommended to visit the narrow medieval streets, both in the daytime and in the night, as you can get to know two completely different faces of the area. During the day, Bairro Alto is quiet and peaceful with only a few tourists, whilst at night it becomes an outdoor party venue. Due to local residents, the party stops at midnight, but if you do not want to finish the night, you can find more pubs and bars at the Cais do Sodré train station.
7. Eduardo VII park
Lisbon’s second largest park was named after Edward VII. British King, who visited the capital of Portugal in 1903 in order to reinforce the relations between the two countries. Within the park there is an exotic greenhouse and a conservatory called Estufa Fria, where you can take a relaxing walk among tropical plants, ponds, palm trees and cacti.
8. Tram #28
Anyone who comes to Lisbon for a couple of days with the idea of using the hop on -hop off bus, I can show you a much more economical and more authentic option. Tram #28 is an intricate wooden tram operating as normal public transport. It takes a huge circle in the city, passing almost all the famous sights. A 24-hour public transport ticket, which can be used on all other public transport facilities such as the “lift” tram, is almost half as much as the tourist bus. If you avoid the tourist crowd and the pick-pockets, it is worth getting up and enjoying the ride early.
9. Santa Justa lift
The elevator was designed by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, a pupil of Gustave Eiffel the designer of Eiffel Tower, in order to facilitate traffic between the Baixa and Carmo square on the hill. Today, the elevator is becoming more and more popular among tourists so it is suggested to take advantage of early morning hours. The lift can only carry 29 people at a time, but it is worth the wait to see the spectacular view from the top. As a lift is part of a local public transport network, don’t buy an overpriced ticket at the site, but rather go with a prepaid daily, line or zapping ticket.
The Lisbon Oceanarium is the largest aquarium in Europe with 450 species of 16,000 breeds; including penguins, seagulls and other birds, otters, rays, sharks, sea foals and other bony fish, crustaceans, sea stars, corals, octopus, squid, amphibians and jellyfish. I recommend this place for families with children, as the big spaces do not feel so busy and there are plenty of programs to choose from that the kids can enjoy. Here you will find Europe’s longest bridge as well with 12.3 km long.
The above mentioned sights have been placed on the map below to make it easier to plan your day.
Transfer options from the airport
Departure: 6-9 minutes
Travel time: 25-30 minutes
Click here for timetable information.
Click here for information on ticket prices. (Tip: Those who travel less than 5 times a day might want to use the zapping ticket instead of the 24h ticket, as this ticket is cheaper and can be used outside the city lines as well.
705, 722, 744, 783 and 208 night buses can only transport up to one hand
luggage otherwise the metro or Aerobus must be used.
Departure: Rarer than the Metro
For a Schedule Info click here.
Departure: to the city centre every 20 minutes
Click here for ticketing and ticket prices