Visting Lisbon – the capital of Portugal, is totally different to the other European cities I’ve seen so far in terms of architecture. Lisbon feels alive, colourful buildings, friendly people everywhere. In case you have only a short stay in Lisbon I can recommend staying in the Baixa district since there are many things you can explore by talking instead of using a cab or public transport. The Baixa district is considered as the downtown area in Lisbon and you can find hostels, shops, restaurants, cafes and shops besides tourist attractions. Lisbon is one of the few western European capitals that won’t break the bank – yay!
What to see in Lisbon:
Torre the Belem
Torre the Belem was built to protect Lisbon’s harbor. (It’s also an UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
Is a former monastery which was built from 1501 to 1601 and an UNESCO World Heritage Site
Praça do Comerçio
Praça do Município
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
The monument to the discoveries refers to the Portuguese discoveries. Macau is probably one of the best known former Portuguese colonies, but did you know that Angola and Melaka (Malaysia) also used to be Portuguese colonies?
It used to be the main square for revolts, celebrations and executions.
Igreja do Carmo
Inside the church that was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755 is a small archaeological museum today.
While walking around it is very easy to find spots with great views.
If you ware interested in exploring the nightlife, you can walk towards Bairro Alto and you will see in the narrow streets a variety of bars even though most of them are tiny (!) people are mingling and drinking outside.
Tip: Try a shot of sweet cherry liquor (Ginja) at a Ginjinha Bar – it’s a “national drink”. And it is said that Ginja can cure several illnesses… good reason to give it a try, isn’t it?
Of course you should not miss to eat Pasteis de nata at Pasteis de Belem once you are in Belem, they are known as making the best. Do not be afraid when you see a long queue in front of the store – it dissolves quickly. I’ve tried pasteis de nata (or egg tarts as they are called in Macau) in Asia for a few times and I didn’t expect much of a difference but the one I tried in Portugal was made in heaven! Try it yourself!
Before going to Lisbon I didn’t do much research about (yeah, shame on me) but I hope you can learn from my mistakes: Lisbon has so many hills – the biggest surprise were the many hills in the city, constantly walking up and down. Walking? – Maybe I should say hiking around the city. So don’t forget to bring comfortable shoes. Learning a few basic phrases in Portuguese is useful, especially if you are going to take a cab.