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Top 5 things to do in Lisbon

by Ana Magalhães

If you are on the lookout for an exciting getaway in Europe, check out Western Europe. In the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal opens its doors to the Atlantic Ocean. It sure meets your expectations and you will probably find everything you wish for.Mild climate year round, a plethora of attention-grabbing places and an inimitable charm are sufficient reasons to immediately pack the passport and indulge in a Portuguese exotic delight. The only question is where to start from. Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a newbie, Lisbon is always a good idea.

Lisbon, a city with a magical light caused by the seven hills on the banks of the Tagus River. There are those who decide for a wonderful pedestrian tour and who makes the choice, also right, in between electric and elevators discover our landscapes. Thus, make sure that your escape is going to include them all.

1. Baixa Pombalina and Chiado

Once in Lisbon, start by exploring the prestigious Baixa.
Even before the 1755 earthquake, it had history. It had to be rebuilt when governed by the Marquês de Pombal, now known as Baixa Pombalina. Today it stands as the modern urban planning medal-winner and is loved by locals and tourists that pass by.

Praça do Comércio, in the old days Terreiro do Paço, is the largest square in the city, will surprise you when you see it. At your meeting we have a pedestrian street – Rua Augusta – with its magical Arch that allows you to have another look over the view of the Tagus River.
Rua do Ouro, which is a parallel street, meets the famous Elevador de Santa Justa – which many confuse, but is not from Eiffel – will take you from Baixa downtown to the Carmo Church.

The imposing ruins of the latter never quit reminding us of the 1755 earthquake.
The Rossio Square and Praça Dos Restauradores with their enchanting buildings and fountains are a great base to delve into the historical roots of present-day Lisbon.
From Rua Augusta to Avenida da Liberdade you have a variety of shops and gastronomic options that will not disappoint you.

2. Bairro Alto

A neighborhood where people of various generations still live. A neighborhood where a day trip does not find the magic of the night.
A maze of animation, conversation, food and drink, something that cannot miss and there is something for everyone.

To each door there is a different trade that goes from studios to hole-in-the-wall eateries, from the grocery store to the bar, not forgetting the famous houses of Fado – although this one was born in Alfama. In the windows you can notice a more curious sneak residents.
In one of the paths through the maze you find one of the viewpoints, São Pedro de Alcântara offering stunning views of the Baixa.

Along the viewpoint has the Calçada da Glória where you can go down to the Baixa by the Elevador da Glória, which looks more like a tram.
The Viewpoint of Santa Catarina located on one of the hills of the city, the view is splendid and once again to the Tagus River.

3. Alfama

After getting off tram 28, don’t save efforts to explore every nook and cranny of this Moorish-influenced labyrinth blended with local artisanal character. Is a neighborhood of narrow alleys with colorful but ancient buildings, perfect to enter the past, since it resisted in part the terror of the 1755 earthquake.

Alfama, considered by many to be the birthplace of Fado, where is the Fado Museum.
The most important places to visit are the São Vicente de Fora Monastery, the National Pantheon, the Cathedral of Lisbon, and because it is never too much to admire the view, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and Portas do Sol.

It is on one of the seven hills, the highest, which is the Castle of St. George. A privileged balcony where you can see, hear and feel the capital of Portugal.

4. Belém

Belém, which is 6 km from downtown (Baixa), is a must stop. In a small area there are a variety of landmarks to explore as well as the taste, the famous Pastéis de Belém.
The emblematic Jeronimos Monastery with its typical Portuguese eclectic architecture from the beginning of the 16th century. It is said that he was paid with the “pepper money”, with Vasco da Gama returning from India. By the same reign, D. Manuel I, the Torre de Belém destined to the defense of the Tagus, which in other times was surrounded by water.
Later, in 1940, the Portuguese World Exhibition was held to glorify the country’s first achievements while running the World War II. It was then that the Padrão dos Descobrimentos appeared and that the riverside area was modified, excellent for sightseeing.

In Belém there are also gardens – Jardim Botânico d’Ajuda and ardim Botânico Tropical, museums like National Coach Museum, Belém Cultural Center and Berardo Collection Museum and don’t forget to spend in the Belém Palace, the official residence of the President.

5. Parque das Nações (The Nations Park)

One of Lisbon’s manufacturing zones is now modern and luxurious. The drastic change was generated by the Universal Exposition that took place in 1998, whose theme was “The Oceans: a Heritage for the Future”.

On the Tagus river line, the cable car shows the youngest neighborhood in the city, where you can see the points to visit.
Altice Arena, Pavilhão Atlântico in Expo 98, is the largest pavilion of shows in Portugal. The Pavilion of Knowledge is a museum of science and technology, of subjects in the world of Physics, Mathematics and Technology. Quite attractive for the little ones. Pavilion of Portugal designed by Siza Vieira with its majestic palette, is now a business center and cultural stage at the same time. The enchantment of children and adults, the Lisbon Oceanarium installed on a jetty surrounded by water.

The Shopping Center, the Tower and the imposing Bridge (with 12345 km in length), the three references have the name of a navigator and explorador, that marked the immaculate era of the discoveries, Vasco da Gama – the first European to reach India by sea.
After a walk alongside the riverside area and the visit of all the mentioned points has a panoply of restaurants at your disposal for all tastes, enjoy.