Best Things to do in Lisbon
Lisbon is a city on the rise, billed as a modern metropolis to challenge London, and jam-packed with attractions. From Roman foreigners to exotic Berber pirates, Moorish builders to fierce Reconquista knights, there’s plenty of history here, all wrapped up in spectacular castles and heritage neighbourhoods. But there’s also a freewheeling vibe and a sense of the unexpected here.
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1. Torre de Belém
If you only explore one landmark while touring the Portuguese capital, make it this one. This great structure soars high above the seafront of the Lisbon quays, displaying a veritable fusion of architectural styles ranging from Mudejar to Moorish, Gothic to Romanesque. It has been kept guard over the Tagus River’s mouth since its construction in the 16th century under the patronage of Saint John.
Lisbon, like Rome, was on seven hills. Unlike in Rome, city planners in this city built a network of funicular trains to assist with transportation to and from the city’s upper neighbourhoods. Riding on some of the tracks, such as the old Ascensor do Lavra, which goes back to the late 1800s and has been a national heritage site, is a real treat. There’s also the Ascensor da Bica, which meanders up the narrow cobblestone streets off Largo do Calhariz.
3. Alfama District
The compact little Alfama District is Lisbon’s answer to Europe’s other ancient cities’ old town centres. It is the city’s oldest section, like the Forum of Rome’s armies though this one dates back from the Moorish of Africa instead of the monarchs of Latium. Exploring the district’s maze of winding streets and alleys is a popular pastime for visitors to Portugal’s city. On the corners, great cathedrals such as the Lisbon Cathedral and tile-fronted chapels show themselves as you walk. There are also remnants of ancient city walls and hidden squares with plenty of al fresco cafes.
‘Did you go to Sintra?’ is a common query from visitors to Portugal’s capital. Despite being a completely different city and more than a half-hour drive from Lisbon, the magnificent town of Sintra remains one of the major draws here. Day trips are popular, but some visitors will want to spend several days exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is high above the mythical Mountains of the Moon, with elegant baroque churches, colourful mansions, and the stately palaces of former Portuguese monarchs and queens.
5. National Tile Museum
Any ceramics enthusiast will tell you that Portugal is the spot to go for tiles. The National Tile Museum in Lisbon is to everything fired in a kiln. The museum traces the significant history of tile production and related industries back to the Moors’ introduction of them to Iberia. The blue-hued azulejos are, of course, the highlight of all the shows. These renowned ceramic pieces of art established the country’s reputation for ceramic craftsmanship.
6. St George’s Castle
St George’s Castle is without a question the most obvious landmark in Lisbon’s historic centre. Over two thousand years ago, the Romans built a massive citadel that rises tall and firm above the streets that make up the old Alfama District. It has since been by successive rulers of the city, ranging from the Berbers to the Reconquista knights. It now boasts mighty palisades and crenulated turrets, as well as an encircling dry moat and other anti-siege features. Pass beneath the large gate and take note of the Portuguese royal seal, which symbolises the country’s monarchic power and You can Check also Tap Portugal Change Flight.
7. Monastery of Jerónimos
The ornate spires and grand carvings of the great Monastery of Jerónimos should be enough to explain why this massive monument nestled near the Tagus River’s banks exists. It was to commemorate Portugal’s most glorious era, known as “The Age of Exploration.” It is also another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the metropolis.
8. Lisbon Oceanarium
The massive Lisbon Oceanarium emerges like a hulking plane carrier from the blue waters of the Tagus Estuary. Inside, the structure contains many exhibits about marine life, which attract over one million visitors each year. You can get up close and personal with colourful puffer fish while also keeping an eye out for prowling sharks. You’ll come across inquisitive moray eels and cuddly penguins.
9. National Museum of Ancient Art
Portugal’s prestigious state art collection is at the State Museum of Ancient Art. Nuno Gonçalves’ pious images contrast with Josefa de Bidos’ chiaroscuro portraiture. The majority of the canvasses originate from the 16th to the 19th centuries and came into public ownership following the early modern era’s Liberal Wars.
10. Museu do Oriente
It only takes a trip to Sri Lanka or Goa to realize how far Portugal’s famous Renaissance Empire extended. The Museu do Oriente in Lisbon is to these far-flung eastern corners of the country, and the space itself is enormous. It is in a massive former fish processing factory that now houses modern exhibition rooms. The tour focuses on all things Asian, with tales of Chinese rituals and seafaring across the South China Sea.
11. Mercado da Ribeira
Lisbon’s most renowned food market has two distinct sides. The downstairs section, for example, is teeming with local fruit and vegetable vendors touting succulent legumes and Mediterranean fruits every morning of the week, so get there early if you want the best bargains. The upstairs section features more modern, often quirky food stalls and cutting-edge restaurants.
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