Top 10 Must See Attractions in Lisbon
Located against the scintillating backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, the sun – kissed city of Lisbon still portrays its own traditional time bound manners in the century old trams trundling across the seven steep hills upon which the city lies.
From the loftiest hills to the dusty lanes that encircle the medieval castle which looms over the rooftops then to the stunning statues facing the river, this charming scene helps make Lisbon one of the finest beach and city combo destinations in Europe. Apart from the steamy month of August, when the city is almost desolate, Lisbon is a year round vacation spot. Here is an insider’s guide to ten famous attractions in this City of Seven Hills, which should be on everybody’s bucket list.
1: Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
When the famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, discovered India, this impressive monastery was built to commemorate the event. Some of the greatest historical personalities of Portugal are entombed in this place, where the principal attraction is the Gothic chapel with its fine architecture.
2: Castelo Sao Jorge
This ancient castle, dating back to the nineteenth century, is an iconic landmark of Lisbon. It is located in one of the oldest neighbourhoods of the city, Alfama. Visitors can access this monumental structure on all days from 9 AM to 9 PM. The castle simply towers over the area, making it visible from almost every corner and any cobbled winding street of this medieval city.
3: Tram 28
A ride in the vintage wooden carriage of Tram 28 is one of the major draws with tourists visiting Lisbon. The ancient transport runs through the most historic and scenic areas of the city, and offers visitors an ideal way to cover the main sights of the city at a leisurely pace. The ride on Tram 28 commences from the base of Barrio Alto, further passing through the districts of Chiado and Baixa, finally lurching past the castles and buildings and ending in the ancient neighbourhoods of Graca and Alfama. This is one of the most authentic and enjoyable things to do in Lisbon; don’t miss it.
4: Torre de Belem
This gothic tower stands at the mouth of the river Tejo at the entrance of the harbor of Lisbon. Accessed only by an elevated timber walkway, this structure is a symbol of the maritime legacy of the country. Entry to the tower is from 10 AM to 6 PM from Tuesday to Sunday. Visitors will be enthralled with the intricate carvings on the stones of this minaret which also offers heady views of the Atlantic Ocean.
5) Museu Gulbenkian
This famous museum was established in honor of Armenian Calouste Gulbenkian, considered to be one of the greatest philanthropists of the 20th century. Much of the historic artifacts and pieces of epic art pertaining to that era have been carefully preserved in this museum, making it Europe’s leading collection house. Some of the paintings by Monet, Rembrandt and Van Dyck, along with ancient Chinese porcelain are said to be priceless. The museum is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM except on Thursday and other bank holidays.
The fairy tale hill town of Sintra, located west of Lisbon, is known for its aristocratic palaces and well manicured gardens set in lush green woodlands. Sintra is easily accessible by train from the Rossio railway station, where a train departs every 20 minutes for Sintra.
7: Cascais and Estoril
To experience the best of beachside action, head to the nearby towns of Cascais and Estoril, both of which are an attractive destination in their own right. These two superb beach spots are connected by lovely coves and stretches of fine golden sand with the Atlantic promenade as a backdrop. The best beaches in the region are located on the coastal highway which runs beyond Cascais. Names like Adraga, Grande and Guincho are the most popular beaches in this area, and can be reached by convenient train connections from Cais do Sodre railway station. The coastal train departs every 20 minute from here and takes around 40 minutes to cover the distance to Cascais.
8: Lisbon Nightlife
Lisbon has an array of bars, nightclubs and live music outlets for dancing. There is a maize of bars in the Barrio Alto neighborhood, where crowds spill out on the cobbled streets till late into the night. One of the best nightclubs of Lisbon is Lux, which has a weird location in a dockland warehouse. The club has a riverfront balcony where one can sip cocktails till dawn. It also boasts a huge dance floor and has live music. To experience something wilder, head to Kremlin, which has been holding hedonist parties for over two decades.
9: Lisbon Shopping
Shopping is a major attraction in Lisbon, due to the presence of a large number of trendy high end boutiques and designer houses. Though not as popular as other cities in Europe, one can discover some excellent local products at affordable prices, providing one knows where to find them. Century old family run shops, particularly around Baixa, have been offering good deals to buyers for generations. There is an old world feel to the place with the many colorful accessories and antiques which are on sale here. International brands, like Mango and Zara, sell in the high streets of Chiado and Avenida da Liberdade at less than half the cost one would find in U.K.
10: Eating out in Lisbon
Apart from traditional Portuguese food, there are many modern restaurants serving food for the masses in Lisbon. The food here is not known to be lavish, but just simple and honest. The most well known dining option in the city is without doubt A Travessa. This institution churns out some of the best baked breads and garlic frites, so book well in advance.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is one of the most beautiful cities of Europe. The city is a vibrant, s popular vacation destination and is blessed with a wealth of historic attractions which need to be explored at an unhurried pace, as is the nature of the city and the locals.