Down with the introduction!
There will be no introduction.
There won't be a long history lesson that usually precedes all guides.
I assume that if you want to visit Lisbon, it is not a random choice and I can assume that you have already read a bit about it.
In this post, I will focus mainly on providing you with a huge amount of really useful and specific tips related to the organization of the tour itself.
Everything I write below will add up to a complete and universal plan for visiting Lisbon. The plan is well thought out and arranged so that it can be changed and modified without any major problems, bending to your own needs. Thanks to this, you can use the information below to visit Lisbon in one day or two days, and if you want to spread everything out for an even longer time.
By default, the plan is prepared in such a way that the tour will take one or two days. Why? Because most of the time tourists spend in Lisbon. This is the option most often chosen by most and it makes no sense to pretend otherwise.
After reading this post, your head will definitely brighten up. Sightseeing will take on a different dimension. Instead of focusing on technical issues, you will enjoy the unrestricted movement around the city, which, thanks to the information contained here, will be much easier for you to master.
The goal is simple: we come to Lisbon and squeeze as much of it as possible! Let's do it!
Lisbon sightseeing itinerary
The first steps in building a sightseeing plan are never easy. The key to everything is understanding the city itself. So I decided that before I show you the Lisbon sightseeing plan full of attractions, we would look at the city a little wider.
So I divided the entry into three main parts:
- first we will look at city layout, mutual location of attractions and their distance from each other and I will propose to divide the city into parts convenient for visiting
- then I will post a specific one sightseeing routes for the parts of the city of interest to us, containing detailed locations of all attractions
- at the end I will add a short one descriptions, interesting facts and practical information for all tourist attractions included in the plan (ticket links, opening hours, GPS coordinates for navigation, etc.)
All described by me attraction have their numbers. You will find the same numbers in several places: on maps, in the table of contents, in the headings next to the attractions' descriptions, and in all descriptions below. This should make navigating this information fairly easy.
Use GPS coordinates
I provide precise GPS coordinates for each attraction. This may not seem particularly useful at first glance, but in practice, the exact opposite is true. Thanks to these coordinates, you do not have to stick to a specific sightseeing path. You can explore the city basically as you like.
How to use GPS coordinates in practice? Just click on the link next to them. Then the navigation will open on your phone and automatically calculate the path to your destination, but… you don't have to follow this path! Walk as you like, wherever you want and treat the indication on the phone only as an indication of whether you are approaching your destination or whether you have already taken the wrong direction. Visiting the city is not about walking the shortest route, but enjoying its atmosphere. Thanks to GPS coordinates, you don't have to worry about getting lost, and at the same time you have unlimited freedom of sightseeing.
In short: click on the coordinates, walk and check from time to time to see if you are going in the right direction. No nerves, no stress, pleasure. Simple and beautiful!
Tickets to attractions
Every plan has a weak point. Such a weak point when visiting popular tourist places zawsze there are admission tickets.
Just imagine that you are there and there is a line for an hour (or more) of waiting at the cash desk. You think: OK, I'll wait. I'll manage somehow. After an hour you are at the ticket office and ask for a ticket, and the lady in the window says that the next free entry to the attractions is in two hours ... What are you doing?
Are you buying a ticket and waiting for the next two hours wasting your whole day? On this day, you will definitely not have time to see everything you wanted.
Or maybe you give up entering the attractions you wanted and for which you have traveled thousands of kilometers?
Just thinking about it makes me feel faint. The more that I found myself in exactly this situation several times. Fortunately, today such situations can be avoided. How?
Many venues allow you to purchase tickets in advance online. If there is such a possibility, I always use it. I buy a ticket for a specific day, and if it is necessary to choose the time of entry, I choose the one that is most convenient for me and fits my schedule. On the day of sightseeing, I skip the entire line and enter the previously purchased ticket. Often, for the holders of such previously purchased tickets, there are even separate skip-the-line entries.
In this sightseeing plan, next to the attractions' descriptions, I will include links to the sale of admission tickets via the Internet. It is not possible everywhere and it is not necessary everywhere, but where it can be done you will find the appropriate link.
Ticket packages – an interesting option
Ticket packages seem to be an interesting option, and this one caught my attention Lisbon-Sintra Pass package – [click], which at the time of writing costs €49.
The package includes:
– Lisboa Card city card (i.e. access to 38 museums, including Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos)
– unlimited free travel in Lisbon: bus, metro, tram (including tram 28) and elevators (including Santa Justa)
– free train travel to Sintra and Cascais
– entry to the Pena Palace in Sintra
– entry to the Moorish Castle in Sintra
– telephone audio guide to Sintra
– telephone audio guide around Lisbon
In Lisbon (as in other large and popular tourist cities) there is the so-called city Card. Called Lisboa Card. It is a card that is redeemed for a specified period of validity (24, 48 or 72 hours) and during its validity you have free or discounted access to various services or facilities.
In fact, this is a topic for a separate post, which will probably be written soon, but here I will put some key information. They can make you decide to accept or reject an idea right away, even without reading the detailed description Lisboa Card.
within Lisboa Card you get free travel by public transport (buses, trams, metro), including historic tram lines (e.g. tram 28) and historic lifts.
There is also free admission to the so-called Top 10 attractions, and dozens of other places in Lisbon and beyond. Here is a shortlist of selected attractions with free entry on the Lisboa Card:
- Jerónimos Monastery - on the list UNESCO
- Belem Tower
- viewpoint on the bridge on April 25 (Pilar7 Bridge Experience)
- Lisbon History Center (Lisboa Story Center)
- National Azulejos Museum (National Tile Museu)
- National Coach Museum
- The National Ancient Art Museum is the most important public art museum in Portugal
- Interactive Center of Myths and Legends in Sintra (Sintra Mitos e Lendas)
- ride in the Santa Justa elevator and access to the viewpoint (Santa Justa Elevator)
- Mafra Palace (Mafra National Palace)
- viewpoint on the Arc de Triomphe Rua Augusta (Rua Augusta Arch)
- National Museum of Archeology (Museu Nacional de Arqueologia) in Belem
- Tomar Convent of Christ - on the list UNESCO
- Monastery in Alcobaca (Alcobaça Monastery) - on the UNESCO list
- Monastery of Our Lady of Victory in Batalha (Batalha Monastery) - on the list UNESCO
- … and many others
How much does the Lisboa Card cost?
Prices (in 2022) are as below.
Lisboa Card on 24 h:
- adults: EUR 21
- children (4-15 years): EUR 13,5
Lisboa Card on 48 h:
- adults: EUR 35
- children (4-15 years): EUR 19,5
Lisboa Card on 72 h:
- adults: EUR 44
- children (4-15 years): EUR 23
Children under 4 enter everywhere for free.
Is the Lisboa Card profitable?
The answer is: I do not know.
It all depends on how intensely you are going to visit the city and what is really important to you.
If you count every euro spent, then make your plan, check and add up the ticket prices for entries and journeys and compare with the price of the card. Everything will become clear.
If comfort and freedom of sightseeing are important to you and you allow you to change your plans and expand them, depending on how your day is going and how it is arranged for you, then Lisboa Card is for you. You move around the city by public transport without being embarrassed and counting each ride, and you have free entry to many sites without queuing.
The less things I have to worry about while away, the better. And even if I have to pay for it a total of, for example, EUR 2 more than I would have had if I had bought all tickets separately, I definitely choose convenience.
In my subjective opinion Lisboa Card - [click] it's ok.
To make your life easier, with descriptions of attractions you can enter for free thanks Lisboa Card I will put the relevant information.
Public transport in Lisbon
Lisbon has a well-developed public transport. The most convenient way to travel is trams and buses. They have many well-placed stops. Unfortunately, the metro stops are located in such a way that it makes no sense to use them for tourist purposes.
If you have a card Lisboa Card the journeys are included in the price of the card. If you don't want to buy Lisboa Cardthen you can buy a separate card or tickets for transport. I wrote more about how to do it in the description of the 28E tram ride (point number 13 later in the post).
Car Rental - Lisbon
It is very likely that coming and visiting Lisbon will not be the main purpose of your trip to Portugal. Many people start exploring the whole of Portugal from Lisbon, and most often they do it by renting a car in Lisbon. If that is your plan to travel from Lisbon to other parts of Portugal, there are a few ways you definitely need to go for cheap and safe car rental. Be sure to read a solid guide: Lisbon (Portugal) - car rental without credit card and deposit - [click]
Lisbon - map of tourist attractions
It's time for the first map. In the picture below you can see a map of Lisbon with several areas marked where all attractions are grouped.
A quick glance is enough to get an idea of the situation. Most of the attractions that interest us are grouped in two areas, which I named: Centrum i Belem.
Belem is the name of the district of Lisbon where the attractions I have chosen are located. Several districts in the center of Lisbon are hidden under the name of the Center. However, they are so small that you can walk all of them in one day. So I used the name of the Center as a substitute, not to mention all the districts by name.
The other two attractions, i.e. the museum of traditional ornaments made of azulejo ceramic tiles (Museu Nacional do Azulejo) and the Oceanarium are located far from the center of Lisbon and must be reached by public transport (see further details in the descriptions of these attractions).
The approximate time that you need to spend on visiting individual areas is:
- Center: 1 to 2 days
- Belem: approx. 3 - 4 hours (+ travel)
- (23) Azulejo Museum: 1-2 hours (+ travel)
- (24) Oceanarium: 1-2 hours (+ travel)
Tourist attractions in the center of Lisbon
We will start with the area with the most tourist attractions, i.e. the center of Lisbon.
Below is a map with the numbers and locations of tourist attractions and the approximate route of the walk (red dots) and the route of the historic tram 28 (blue dots), which is a cult attraction in Lisbon.
Additionally, I have marked the location of some of the most important tram stops on the map.
First, take a close look at the map. Look for the walking path marked in red and the blue tram route before proceeding.
At first glance, the map may seem unclear, but surely some people immediately noticed that there are actually two (not one) sightseeing routes on the map. This is where the strength and cleverness of the plan I have proposed lie.
It is a little easier to see when you look at the picture below that I prepared specially for you.
The image clearly shows the black line that forms the dividing line between the two routes.
The first route is to the left of the dividing line and covers attractions numbered (1) through (13). The second route is to the right of the dividing line and starts at (13) and ends at attraction number (19).
I recommend doing the second part of the sightseeing route, i.e. points (13-19), in this order. If it comes to your mind to reverse the direction of your sightseeing, you will be in for a surprise, as the entire route is then very uphill. A sharp climb awaits you.
The implementation of the plan in accordance with the numbering from point (13) to point (19) makes you go downhill all the time.
There are two points on the map with the number (13). The journey from point (13) at the end of one walking route to point (13) at the beginning of the second walking route takes place by historic tram 28 (in Lisbon it is called in official timetables by 28E). Such integration of the tram into the sightseeing route means that you will arrange transport, and at the same time include one of the most iconic attractions in Lisbon.
Both parts of the Lisbon city center walk are also available as interactive Google maps. I present links to them below:
- sightseeing in Lisbon: attractions (1-13) - route on the Google map - [click]
- sightseeing in Lisbon: attractions (13-19) - route on the Google map - [click]
What does the division proposed by me above give us? A great opportunity to adapt the sightseeing plan to your needs and the time we have! Here are some examples.
Lisbon in one day
Suppose you only have one day to visit Lisbon. You know right away that you need to combine both routes into one. You can do it without much effort as both routes are connected by a historic tram ride. So you follow the first route (1-13) (you can even, to save time, skip selected attractions that are less interesting to you), then from point (13) to the second point (13) you take a historic tram and then do the second route (13-19) .
At the end you are at point (19), from which - if you still have the strength and time - it is very close to the 15E tram stop (located next to point 2). By tram 15E you can quickly get to the Belem district with attractions numbered (20-22).
The plan is extremely demanding, but feasible. I don't think you can see more in one day.
Lisbon in a day and a half
In this case, you have several options to choose from:
- you do the entire route in the center of Lisbon in one day (points 1-19), and in the remaining half a day you do Belem, i.e. attractions (20-22)
- you do half the route in the center of Lisbon and Belem on one day, and you complete the other half of the route in the center of Lisbon in the remaining half of the day. You can travel by historic tram 28 on any day. On the map I have additionally marked one of the tram 28 stops (symbol 28E), which is located near point (4) and is the closest to the 15E tram stop. It may turn out that if you divide the routes according to your own idea, you will have to change from tram 28E to tram 15E or vice versa. It's best to do it here.
Lisbon in two days
In this case, there are additional possibilities, because the sightseeing can include other attractions that were not in the previous plans, namely: the Azulejos Museum (23) and the Oceanarium (24).
The order of sightseeing can be arranged similarly to the previous proposals, which I described in the plan for one day and one and a half days, or according to my own idea.
Lisbon in three and more days
If you have more than two days of time in Lisbon, first of all, it is worth slowing down a bit and sightseeing at a slower pace, soaking up the atmosphere of the city. Spread out my suggested sightseeing routes over three days (e.g. half the center in one day, half the center in the second, and Belem, the Azulejos Museum and the Oceanarium in the third).
Additionally, it is worth remembering that it is located right next to Lisbon Sintrafor which you need to spend at least one day.
If you have three days at your disposal, it seems tempting to do Lisbon in two days and dedicate the third day to Sintra.
Central Lisbon neighborhoods
While preparing for your trip to Lisbon, you will probably be reading not only this post, but also entries from other travel websites. Most of the authors of the texts use the historical and tourist names of the districts of Lisbon in their studies. The districts in Lisbon are small, so there are quite a lot of them, and at the beginning it is difficult to find out about them. There is no reason why I should not make your life easier, even reading other texts. So I prepared a special map on which I marked the approximate location of the districts in the center of Lisbon. I put the map of districts on my map of attractions. In the background you will find the exact location of attractions on the map of the districts.
If you find information about an attraction that is not in my plan and you want to incorporate it into your own sightseeing plan, the map below will allow you to do it in the blink of an eye.
Tourist attractions in Belem
There is one more map missing to complete the information about visiting Lisbon: Belem district, where there are other attractions.
I present the map below. It is very simple, so it does not require any special comment.
Detailed descriptions of attractions in Lisbon
1. Commercial Square (Praca do Comercio)
The Commercial Square is the point where all roads in Lisbon connect. It is the main communication, tourist, historical junction ... quite simply: the main point of the city. The easiest way to get here is no matter where you are in Lisbon. It was no coincidence that I placed the first point of our trip here. Starting the tour from Comercio Square gives you the opportunity to build a universal itinerary, accessible to every tourist visiting Lisbon.
By the way, this place is extremely important for the history of the city, and there are many interesting events connected with it. Be sure to read the entry in which you will find a lot of interesting facts about Plac Handlowy - [click]
Commercial Square (Praca do Comercio), GPS coordinates:
38.707113, -9.136262 - click and route
2. The Arc de Triomphe in Lisbon (Arco da Rua Augusta)
The first project involved the construction of a belfry, but over time the idea changed and the project was transformed into a rather complicated triumphal arch, commemorating the reconstruction of the city after the catastrophic earthquake of 1755.
As befits a triumphal structure, the symbolism it contains presents symbolic figures: Glory, Bravery and Mind (at the top of the building) and historical figures at the top of the arch façade.
At the very top, at a height of 30 meters, in the center stands a 7-meter tall female statue of Glory. On her right hand (our left hand), seated, she finds a statue of an amazon dressed in a high helmet, representing Bravery. On the left hand side of Glory (our right) lies the statue of Jupiter, personifying the Mind.
The sculptures of figures standing at the height of the main part of the arch above the columns are (looking from our left): Vasco da Gama, Viriato, Marquis de Pombal (i.e. Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo) and Nuno Álvares Pereira.
There are also two lying figures at the same height. They are personifications of the two main rivers of Portugal: the Tagus and the Douro.
There is a viewing point at the top of the triumphal arch. Admission is paid and tickets can be purchased online.
Most of the way to the top of the arch can be reached by elevator, but for the last few meters you have to walk up a spiral staircase.
Check it out: tickets for Arco da Rua Augusta - [click]
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] you have it free admission on the Arco da Rua Augusta
Triumphal Arch (Arco da Rua Augusta), GPS coordinates:
38.708432, -9.136805 - click and route
3. Town Square (Praca do Município)
You can say about him Town square or Marketbecause it is located opposite the City Hall, seat of the municipality of Lisbon. In practice, it does not play the role of a market. What immediately catches the eye (or in fact the ears) is the silence that reigns in the square. Even though it is only several meters away from the main, noisy and full of tourists Trade Square, the layout of the buildings makes Praca do Município almost completely quiet. Of course, definitely fewer tourists come here, but is that a disadvantage? 🙂
There is a pillory in the middle of the square… if you ever think to scratch something, remember that law enforcement can be painful.
By the way, pay attention to the so-called calcada portuguesa, or patterns on which paving stones are laid in squares and streets in Portugal. It is a kind of art of arranging paving mosaics, which consists in combining patterns and colors into huge, paving pictures. While walking around Lisbon, you will visit a few more squares and different, interesting graphic patterns will be used everywhere.
Town square, GPS coordinates:
38.708020, -9.139161 - click and route
4. Rua Augusta
Every self-respecting city must have a so-called a shopping street and a promenade, where a tourist can quickly and efficiently clean his wallet from cash, and when the need comes, empty most of the resources on the credit card. In Lisbon, such a street is Rua Augusta, which serves as a pedestrian street (it was excluded from traffic in the 80s, of the XNUMXth century), and at the same time is a commercial avenue with expensive and cheap shops. Here you will come across various forms of street art, spoof attempts and anything else around the world to extract money from tourists. Crowd, buzz and noise in the surroundings of picturesque tenement houses create an unforgettable atmosphere, so whether you like it or not, the Rua Augusta walk is a must on the agenda.
Augusta Street, GPS coordinates:
38.710533, -9.137669 - click and route
5. Rossio Station (Estacao do Rossio)
If you decide to visit Sintra (I recommend it !!!), you will probably take the train at the Rossio Station. Rossio Station with the Rossio Tunnel is one of the most important and largest monuments of Portuguese engineering in the 1889th century. Established in 2, the two-track tunnel under the town is 613m long. Until 1957, it was Lisbon's main railway station.
The building of the station itself is also noteworthy, with a beautiful façade in the Manueline style characteristic of Portugal, combining Gothic with oriental elements. The internal walls of the railway station are decorated with traditional ceramic tiles (azulejos), and the roof of the platform hall is supported by a solid, metal, neo-Gothic structure.
The station is really very interesting and is located just a dozen meters from one of the main squares in Lisbon (described by me in point 6 below).
Rossio Station, GPS coordinates:
38.714491, -9.140712 - click and route
6. Rossio Square (Dom Pedro IV work)
Rossio Square is the second most important square in the city. Many residents of the city say that in fact Rossio is the most important square in the city.
Beautiful, surrounded by magnificent buildings, with an extremely interesting history and iconic places, and eagerly visited by residents and tourists.
I will not settle the dispute over the palm of priority between the squares of Lisbon, because you can do it yourself by getting to know them in person. Rossio is a must-see!
It's definitely worth reading a separate entry about Rossio Square - [click]. I can assure you that visiting the square after this reading will take on a unique dimension.
Rossio Square (Dom Pedro IV work), GPS coordinates:
38.713787, -9.139358 - click and route
7. Santa Justa Elevator (Elevador de Santa Justa)
There are four vintage lifts in Lisbon, but only one - Santa Justa - moves vertically. The other three steel rope-pulled lifts (Ascensor da Glória, Ascensor da Bica and Ascensor do Lavra) move on wheels on rails arranged on steep inclines. The constructor of all lifts is one man, Portuguese of French origin (parents were French): Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard.
Inspired by the design solutions used in the Eiffel Tower, the Santa Justa elevator became Lisbon's hit on the first day of operation. It made life much easier for the residents, moving between two neighboring neighborhoods located on a steep and steep slope: Low and Bairro Alto.
Despite heavy rain on the opening day (July 10, 1902), over 3000 tickets were sold. In the first year of operation, the elevator carried over half a million (!!!) passengers, which was a result comparable to the popularity of the Eiffel Tower.
For the first five lafts of operation, the elevator was powered by a steam engine, and in 1907 it was replaced by an electric motor.
Today, the Santa Justa elevator is one of the most popular attractions in Lisbon and there is often a queue of visitors. Tourist city card holders Lisboa Card - [click] can ride the elevator without the need to purchase tickets (the elevator ride is included in the price of the card).
At the top of the elevator there is a small cafe and an additional paid viewpoint.
Santa Justa Elevator Opening Hours:
- until May 1 to October 31: 7.00 a.m. - 23.00 p.m.
- from November 1 to April 30: 7.00 - 22.00
Santa Justa Elevator Viewing Point Opening Hours:
- daily from 9:00 a.m. to 21:00 p.m.
Santa Justa elevator, GPS coordinates:
38.712133, -9.139358 - click and route
8. Carmelite Monastery in Lisbon (Convento da Ordem do Carmo)
The Carmelite Monastery is now a very picturesque ruin that has been preserved in this form. The monastery, ruined by the 1755 earthquake, was only slightly rebuilt, after which the works were suspended. The church was not rebuilt and is still functioning in a ruined form. Today, it is a living reminder of the greatest cataclysm in the history of Lisbon, and there is an archaeological museum on its premises.
The place is really impressive and I sincerely recommend visiting it.
May - October: from 10.00 a.m. to 19.00 p.m.
November - April: from 10.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m.
closed on Sunday
Carmelite Monastery in Lisbon, GPS coordinates:
38.711982, -9.140670 - click and route
9. Church of St. Rocha (Igreja de Sao Roque)
Often overlooked in sightseeing plans due to its unpromising appearance from the outside. Don't be influenced by this. Just go inside. You must do it. The sparse exterior is a deliberate architectural maneuver that contrasts with the absolutely amazing interior. A classic combination of two adversities to achieve a greater WOW effect!
The omission of this facility when visiting Lisbon is definitely a mistake that most tourists still make. Especially pay attention to the chapel of St. John the Baptist (Capela de São João Baptista).
Find out more in a separate post: Church of St. Rocha in Lisbon – [click]
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] then you are entitled to a 40% discount on admission to the Museum of St. Roch
St. Roch, GPS coordinates:
38.713387, -9.143444 - click and route
10. St. Peter of Alcantara (Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara)
St. Peter of Alcantara is the perfect place to enjoy the view of Lisbon. Here you can clearly see the undulating nature of the city. Looking from the vantage point, you will probably recognize a few places where you have already been during the walk and those you will visit.
From here, the districts of Baixa, Alfama and Graca as well as the wide Avenue of Freedom (Avenida da Liberdade), running almost from Rossio Square to Marquis Pombal Square, are within your sight. From the terrace there is also an excellent view of the castle of St. George.
The viewpoint consists of two spacious terraces. The upper terrace is wooded and therefore has a pleasant shade all day long. There are benches for relaxation and (important in summer) a kiosk where you can buy something to cool down. The lower terrace is exposed and very sunny. It is not hard to guess that most people gather on the upper terrace in search of a moment of rest.
The upper terrace at the St. Peter of Alcantara, GPS coordinates:
38.715278, -9.144236 - click and route
11. Luisa de Camões Square (Praça Luís de Camões)
Luís de Camões Square is one of Lisbon's favorite meeting points. In this square, there is always someone waiting for someone and looking for someone. Most of them are waiting sitting on the steps under the monument in the middle of the square. The popularity of the square is due to its location. Hence, it is close to popular bars and restaurants in Bairro Alto (which might be worth using).
From the height of the monument's pedestal, all traffic in the square has been calmly watched since 1867 by Luís de Camoes - widely recognized as the greatest writer in the history of Portuguese literature, a Renaissance poet, later referred to as "the prince of poets".
In his modern time, completely underestimated or even anathema, he became a legend in the era of Romanticism and a model for typical, unhappy romantic poets. He wrote mainly about despair, death, unhappy love and the hellish torments of sinful lovers.
Over time, his work "Lusjada" was recognized as the national epic of Portugal, and therefore a statue of the poet was erected in the square. I wonder what he would write after more than 150 years of observations of Lisboners waiting and meeting under his feet.
Luis de Camões Square, GPS coordinates:
38.710583, -9.143487 - click and route
12. Bica elevator
The Bica elevator is one of four historic elevators built in Lisbon, designed by the same engineer: Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard.
The elevator is in the form of tram cars operating on the principle of a typical cable car. Two identical wagons are permanently attached to the two ends of a transport rope wrapped around a pulley located at the upper end of the journey. The wagons counterbalance each other. When one goes up the hill, the other goes down at the same time.
The first commercial lift run took place in 1892 and was preceded by many years of testing.
Initially, the elevator was powered solely by gravity. Water tanks were installed on the wagons. The tank of the wagon that was to slide downwards was filled with water. The extra mass created an extra force that caused a car with a greater mass to slide down while pulling up the lower car.
In 1892, a steam drive was installed in the elevator, and in 1914 an electric drive.
During the next modernization works in the same year, an accident happened. One of the carriages got out of control and slid down under its own, hitting and completely destroying the lower station of the elevator. The device was out of service for another nine years.
Currently, the Bica elevator is operating normally. A comfortable sidewalk runs along the tracks on which the lift carriages run. Down from the sidewalk there is a beautiful view of the alley along which the elevator moves. I recommend you to walk down the footpath along the elevator tracks to its lower station and then back up by taking the elevator.
Walking down the elevator tracks, you can turn right and visit the interesting viewpoint of St. Catherine (Miradouro de Santa Catarina).
I have marked the location of the Bica elevator, the viewpoint and the route to reach it on the map below.
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina point is approximately 150 meters from the lift. In the evening, people come to this place to have a good time (play, sing, drink wine) and look at the illuminated city and the night-lit April 25 Bridge, reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] the ride in the Bica elevator is free (included in the price of the card).
Bica Elevator - Upper Station, GPS coordinates:
38.710787, -9.145793 - click and route
Bica Elevator - Lower Station, GPS coordinates:
38.708564, -9.146717 - click and route
Viewpoint Miradouro de Santa Catarina, GPS coordinates:
38.709528, -9.147705 - click and route
13. Tram 28E
Visits to Lisbon are said to not count unless you take the tram. Here, when tourists say "tram", they always think about tram 28, and more specifically about tram 28E, because this is its full designation. I am writing about it because some people may have doubts whether 28 is the same tram as 28E? I answer: yes, it is the same tram. It is simply called tram 28.
In the plan I have prepared, we get on the tram near the Bica elevator, and get off near the viewpoint, on one of the highest hills in Lisbon.
In this way, we cover the long and difficult uphill route by tram, and we pass the most beautiful parts of line 28.
Details related to the tram journey, such as prices and purchase of tickets, timetable or detailed route, can be found in a separate entry: Tram 28 in Lisbon - [click]
Tram 28 route map:
Departure from: Calhariz (Bica) stop (tram 28E), GPS coordinates:
38.710830, -9.145996 - click and route
End of the journey: stop R. Graca (tram 28E), GPS coordinates:
38.719035, -9.129866 - click and route
14. Viewpoint of Our Lady of the Hill (Mirador de la Señora del Monte)
The Mirador de la Señora del Monte viewpoint is widely regarded as the best viewpoint in the city. It provides a wide panorama of both the new and the old part of the city. Probably important is the fact that it is the highest point of view in Lisbon. The entire city, including even the castle of St. Jerzy is at your feet. Everything is clearly visible.
It may be a big surprise for you that despite the views it offers, it is one of the quietest places in Lisbon. It's just that most tourists don't come here.
Panoramic photos from the viewpoint are available below. You can rotate it and zoom in.
Next to the viewpoint there is the Nossa Senhora do Monte chapel. Pregnant women come to her to ask for the protection of their fetus.
The chapel that stands here today is not an original building. The original was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake. Only some elements have survived in the original form, such as the San Gens stone chair. The superstition says that future mothers must sit in it in order to ensure their happiness.
Viewpoint of Our Lady of the Hill, GPS coordinates:
38.719138, -9.132819 - click and route
15. Graca viewpoint (Miradouro da Graça)
Descending from the highest viewpoint in Lisbon, which I described in the previous point, we will come across another viewpoint: Miradouro da Graça (although its official name sounds a bit different now, but more on that in a moment).
The point is very popular not only because of the beautiful views. I suspect that its popularity is significantly influenced by the fact that it has a small bar, which serves various tasty drinks in the shade of the trees growing here. Probably many tourists spend more time here than originally intended, enjoying the views, the shade of trees and the invigorating taste of well-chilled drinks. It is possible that you will also have such an adventure 🙂
For sure, the Portuguese writer Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen spent many days admiring the city from this place (and this is a fact). Today there is her bust here. He still looks out over the city and marvels at its sight. Currently, the viewpoint described here is called Miradouro Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, but out of habit the locals still use the old name: Miradouro da Graça.
The bar and the Graca viewpoint, GPS coordinates:
38.716611, -9.131487 - click and route
16. Castle of St. George (Castelo de São Jorge)
St. George is one of the oldest buildings in Lisbon. It survived wars and natural disasters, including the largest earthquake in 1755. It also survived the period in which it fell from grace and, neglected for hundreds of years, fell into disrepair. He survived everything.
Today it is one of the most popular monuments in the city, frequently visited and regularly renovated. Visible from almost every point in the city, it looks beautiful, emerging from the green treetops surrounding it.
It is definitely worth learning about some very interesting tidbits related to it. You will find them in a separate entry: St. George in Lisbon - sightseeing, interesting facts, tickets, map
St. George, GPS coordinates:
38.712317, -9.133013 - click and route
Entrance to St. George, GPS coordinates:
38.712580, -9.133202 - click and route
You can buy tickets to the castle directly on the castle page - [click]. If you have a card Lisboa Card, it is possible that you will be entitled to it discount on the ticket, but it cannot be used when buying a ticket online. The discount (if available) can only be used when buying tickets at the castle box office (recently it was a discount from EUR 10 to EUR 6 for an adult ticket).
17. Portas do Sol viewpoint
Many say that it is the best viewpoint in Lisbon. It does not surprise me, because each of the viewpoints in this city has its supporters and you can say the same to each of the viewpoints. However, it is certainly one of the most popular. Why? Firstly, because there is a really nice view from here, and secondly, it is close to the center. It's easy to get here and it's easy to come back from here. Doors of the Sun So it attracts a lot of people and in high season expect it to be densely populated.
Come, see, rate and compose your own list of the best vantage points. I wonder how high Portas do Sol will be on your list.
Portas do Sol viewpoint, GPS coordinates:
38.712649, -9.130242 - click and route
18. Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
The full name of the cathedral is Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lisbon. Abbreviated as I know from Lisbonmeans the seat of the bishopric. "Se" is an abbreviation of "Sedes Episcopalis", which in translation means the seat of bishops.
Lisbon became the seat of bishops in the XNUMXth century. At that time, the cathedral did not exist yet. It was built only in the middle of the XNUMXth century, and an interesting story is associated with its creation.
As I mentioned on the occasion of the entry about the castle of St. George, due to the weak defensive fortifications, the area of today's Lisbon often changed hands. One of the most permanent changes came in the 400th century when the Moors conquered the area. They built a castle and fortifications, which meant that the Muslims were able to hold the rule in this area for about XNUMX years. Only in the XNUMXth century, when Portuguese troops, backed by a multinational crusader army, recaptured Lisbon from the Arabs, the city returned to the hands of Christians. Then the main Moorish mosque stood at the place where the Se Cathedral stands today.
The decision was made quickly: the mosque would be demolished and a cathedral would be built in its place to commemorate the liberation of Lisbon from the Moorish rule. In 1147 the building was ready, and at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, the relics of the patron saint of Lisbon, St. Vincent of Zaragoza (the relics are still in the cathedral today). This is how Sé de Lisboa was created, which today is the oldest existing church in the city.
In 2020, the excavations carried out in the cathedral cloisters unveiled a part of the Moorish building with red walls that remained of the mosque that previously existed here. It was decided to keep the discovered fragments as a testimony to the long and turbulent history of this place.
A glance at the cathedral is enough to notice how massive and heavy its structure is. The Portuguese, learning from their own history and experience, decided to build a temple, which, if necessary, could also perform defensive functions. As it turned out later, the northern tower of the church during the so-called the Portuguese interregnum (1383 - 85) was used in a rather unusual way.
It has spread to Lisbon that Bishop Dom Martinho Annes is conspiring with the Kingdom of Castile. The people of Lisbon, agitated by the news, decided with their own hands to put an end to the plots carried out by the bishop, they came to the cathedral and threw the bishop through the window of the north tower.
The Se Cathedral in Lisbon, GPS coordinates:
38.709817, -9.133302 - click and route
19. The Diamond Tenement House (Casa dos Bicos / José Saramago Foundation)
Visiting Casa dos Bicos is quick and easy, as you can only see it from the outside. What is most interesting about this building is its facade. From her it was called the "diamond house". The façade of the building is decorated with stone blocks shaped into cones. Approximately 1200 stones were needed to make the façade.
It is worth noting that the stone diamond cones are not regular. The conical shape and the position of the apex of the cone in relation to the posture is different, depending on the place where the stone is located on the facade. The treatment is purposeful and serves to properly regulate the shadows thrown by stones under the influence of sunlight. The lights and shadows at different times of the day create variable geometric images and give the facade an appearance that changes throughout the day.
The tenement house in Lisbon was inspired by the Diamond Palace (Palazzo dei Diamanti) in Ferrara. Built at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, it managed to survive (though not unscathed) the greatest earthquake in the history of Lisbon.
Currently, the building houses the José Saramago Foundation, the only Nobel laureate in literature in Portugal.
A diamond tenement house, GPS coordinates:
38.709013, -9.132713 - click and route
20. Belem Tower (Torre de Belém)
Sometimes I think it used to be built with panache. Such, for example, a defensive tower, and by the way a navigation point at the entrance to the port. If it were built now, it would have the shape of a square concrete block, and the main contractor selection criterion would be the lowest price. What does this have to do with the Belem Tower? Just look at the photos. The defensive tower and at the same time a navigation point commissioned by the Portuguese King Manuel I the Happy looks fantastic. The main function of the tower was military protection of the entrance to the port of Lisbon, yet the number of decorations and the architectural charm of the building did not suffer from this. Nay! The part visible from the land is much less decorated than the one visible from the water. Builders and architects did not calculate that when the battle started, the decorations would be of no avail on the water side. They were more interested in the fact that the Lisbon defensive tower would duly welcome arriving ships, presenting itself most impressively from the water side. The Portuguese naval power greeted the newcomers with dignity.
The characteristic Manueline decorations containing maritime elements perfectly correspond to the character of the building and are now considered to be one of the most valuable monuments of this style.
The Belem Tower consists of a bastion and a defense tower. The four-story structure is 35 meters high in total. The bastion section has 17 cannon shooting ranges and a two-story gun warehouse, which started a new trend in the construction of military facilities.
The tower has been used as a prison many times. Its wet rooms often hosted political prisoners. During the civil war in Portugal, he spent two months as a prisoner (in 1833) Joseph Bem, organizer of the Polish Legion in Portugal. The legion was to fight on the side of Peter I (the emperor of Brazil from Lisbon), known colloquially as Don Pedro. Ultimately, however, the Poles did not take part in the fighting, because Don Pedro broke the agreement with them after taking Lisbon, and the protesting Bem was captured and imprisoned.
Currently, the Belem Tower is on the UNESCO list of monuments.
Originally, the Belem Tower was located in the middle of the Tagus River bed. A strong earthquake in 1755 significantly changed the course of the river bed and now the tower stands on its right bank.
Belem Tower, GPS coordinates:
38.691689, -9.215898 - click and route
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] then you have free entry to the Belem Tower
21. Jeronimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos)
The Hieronymites Monastery is a huge, vast, even shocking building. It was not accidentally found on the UNESCO heritage list. It's really hard to even see him, and it's virtually impossible to get to know him well in one visit.
It was built in thanksgiving for Vasco da Gama's successful trip to India. The discovered route allowed Portugal to derive enormous profits from trade.
It's hard to imagine the amount of work that had to be put into making it come into existence. It is also hard to believe that during the earthquake, almost nothing happened to him!
You can find more about the monastery, sightseeing and some interesting facts in a separate entry dedicated to it: The Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon - [click]
Hieronymites Monastery, GPS coordinates:
38.697569, -9.205566 - click and route
Check it out: entry tickets to the Hieronymites Monastery - [click]
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] then you have free admission to the Hieronymites Monastery
22. Pasteis de Belem cupcakes
After a long and demanding day of visiting Lisbon, it's worth taking care of the palate. Pasteis de Belem is the most famous sweetness from Portugal, specifically from Lisbon.
The world-famous delicious cupcakes were created here, as a by-product of the monastery laundry 🙂. Yes Yes! I was not wrong! If it weren't for the laundry room, there wouldn't be cupcakes in the Hieronymites Monastery.
The monks of the Hieronymite monastery consumed enormous amounts of eggs, and basically egg whites. They used it to starch habits. So there was a problem with unnecessary yolks. The best way to use them turned out to be baking cupcakes, which over time became a significant source of income for the monastery.
When the monastery was closed (in 1834), the recipe for cupcakes was sold to the family who still bakes them today, in a bakery adjacent to the monastery. The name of the Pasteis de Belem cupcakes is proprietary.
It is currently the only place where you can eat cupcakes made according to the original recipe, as the recipe itself has never been disclosed and is known to only a few people.
Of course, you can eat Belem cupcakes in other pastry shops all over Portugal, but because the original name is reserved, they are called Pasteis de Nata.
So what are Belem cupcakes?
In four words, they are puff pastry muffins filled with pudding. Anyone who likes such sweets will be pleased, and the body exhausted by sightseeing will enjoy a solid injection of carbohydrates.
Pasteis de Belem bakery, GPS coordinates:
38.697447, -9.203237 - click and route
23. Azulejos Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo)
Azulejos are ceramic tiles decorated with patterns and paintings. They create large, azure-colored (less often multicolored) images. You will meet them everywhere, all over Portugal. They decorate the walls of buildings, rooms, parks ... they are just everywhere.
The Azulejos culture of creation and decoration came to Portugal with the Moors. It was they who developed and disseminated this decorating technique. Today it is an inseparable element of Portuguese culture.
The largest Azulejos museum is located in Lisbon, and the exhibits collected there are real works of art. The museum building itself is also not accidental. Previously, it housed the Madre de Deus monastery, founded by Queen Eleanor de Viseu in 1509.
While visiting the museum, you will learn about the production technique of Azulejos and the history of this decorative art, respecting the chronology of its development.
A very interesting exhibition and an interesting museum. Some parts of the display are really amazing and cause the typical jaw drop. A glance at the panoramic photograph below (it can be zoomed in and rotated) is enough to realize the quality of the exhibition we are dealing with in the museum.
It is definitely worth planning a visit to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo!
Bus lines 794 and 742 (bus stop called Igreja Madre Deus - Museu Azulejo). To the main entrance you need to walk a few steps along R. Me Street. Deus (GPS coordinates of the main entrance can be found below).
Bus 794 will take you directly to Praca do Comercio (number 1 on the sightseeing map).
Azulejos Museum (main entrance), GPS coordinates:
38.724962, -9.113543 - click and route
If you have a city card Lisboa Card - [click] you have to go to the Azulejos Museum for free (included in the price of the card).
24. Oceanarium (Oceanario de Lisboa)
Portugal is a country whose history and development have a special connection with the sea. So it is not hard to guess that the oceanarium in the capital of Portugal MUST be unique. And it really is! Oceanario de Lisboa is the largest oceanarium in Europe, where we can admire over 8000 types of sea creatures, swimming in 7 million liters of salt water.
A powerful and absolutely sensational facility, it gives you the freedom to observe undersea life. Fantastic, divided into four parts, the exhibition presents the fauna and flora of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Antarctic Oceans. In addition, in a huge main reservoir with a capacity of 5 million liters of water, various oceanic species live together, including: sharks, tuna and various and colorful wrasses.
Visiting the aquarium quickly turns into a great underwater adventure, absorbing all the attention of adults and children. And one thing is certain: from here the whole family will leave satisfied!
Lisbon Oceanarium, GPS coordinates:
38.762352, -9.093781 - click and route
Sintra is not part of Lisbon. It is a separate town located near Lisbon, full of unique monuments and an unusual atmosphere. It used to be the summer residence of the Portuguese rulers. Currently, it is an interesting, peculiar and unique place that has been entered on the UNESCO list in its entirety as a cultural landscape.
Visiting Sintra is a great idea for a day trip from Lisbon. You can get here by a special railway line from Rossio station in Lisbon. If you have a card Lisboa Card the cable car connection from Lisbon to Sintra is free (included in the price of the card).
I will publish a more extensive plan of visiting Sintra in a separate entry, here I will just put some basic tips that can significantly help you, or even be enough to plan your own trip.
Visiting Sintra on foot is possible, but… in my opinion, pointless. The area is vast, heavily undulating, and the most interesting objects are very far from each other.
Fortunately, a few ideas and initiatives have emerged to help you explore Sintra with great pleasure without great effort. There is a tourist tram route here, although (in my opinion) more interesting and convenient ideas are available for rent Twizy small electric cars - [click].
You rent a car for a few hours (the most interesting route is planned for 6 hours), and when you rent it, you get a GPS map and an audio guide that will lead you along the line from attractions to attractions. You visit everything on your own, at your own pace, the way you like best. You can see the map of the route proposed by the rental company here - [click].
The car rental offer is not very expensive and I recommend you take a look at this proposal: Sintra - Twizy electric tourist car rental - [click]
Entrance tickets to monuments in Sintra itself must be purchased separately. You must arrange for a ticket to enter Pena Palace in advance. In high season, the queues for him are terrible or there are simply no free tickets. You can find links to online sales below>
The most important monuments in Sintra:
- Castle of the Moors (Castelo dos Mouros) - check: entrance ticket to the Castle of the Moors - [click]
- Pena Palace (Palácio da Pena) - check: entry ticket to Pena Palace - [click]
- National Palace of Sintra (Palácio Nacional de Sintra)
- Capuchin Monastery in Sintra (Convento dos Capuchos)
- Palace of Monserrate - Palácio de Monserrate
- Quinta da Regaleira - check: entrance ticket to Quinta da Regaleira - [click]
Lisbon - accommodation and hotels
The best accommodation in Lisbon is one that allows you to feel the atmosphere of the city. It is worth putting a little effort into looking for the most attractive place, and then enjoy your stay.
Below are some suggestions that may be a good start to your own research. Clicking on the link or the picture will open a window with a detailed offer and allow you to search for something that may suit you better.
Please treat my suggestions as a good start for further research. Click, browse, book and have fun exploring!
Portugal sightseeing planThis entry is part of a complete one Portugal sightseeing plan - [click]. The guide contains plans, maps and descriptions of specific sightseeing routes.
To see all currently available descriptions of attractions in Portugal, click on the link: Continental Portugal - [click].
Safe car rental guide: Portugal - car rental without credit card, no deposit
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