I´ve just come back from Portugal. Only one weekend in Lisbon and I took more than 2000 pics. It was my first time in the city, although I´ve already been to Oporto years ago. Can´t say enough how much this trip has overcome my expectations. After my Iceland road trip this August I thought no place would ever impress me. And yet Lisbon did….
Lisbon was one of these few European cities still left on my bucket list. I would always think of visiting it, but at the same time I would always end up flying somewhere overseas in search of travel inspiration. It appears, I had a hidden gem right in front of me.
I came back home with an idea of taking a whole road trip to Portugal one day. And even though a lot of touristic objects and complete streets were under reconstruction, the old charm of Lisbon can´t leave anyone indifferent. It´s definitely a place for the art lovers and romantics: mosaic floors, Portuguese tiles, modern art, endless museums, regional architectural styles, beautiful windows, amazing foods and something magical in the air…
So, what can´t you miss when in Lisbon?
My 10 favorite MUST spots to explore the city:
1. São Jorge Castle
The best thing about this castle is the views. There is not much to do inside but to enjoy the panorama of the city from behind the medieval walls. You could also see the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara on the other side, which is also a nice spot for views (plus it is free). However, personally I, loved the views from São Jorge Castle more.
2. Santa Justa Lift
Located in the heart of the city, this Neo-Gothic lift immideately drags your attention. It is also hard to miss due to huge waiting lines. I loved the architecture, but the views from São Jorge Castle were definitely better.
3. Jerónimos Monastery
Another example of a beautiful Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture and a must stop to explore Lisbon.
4. Alfama District
The oldest district of Lisbon. Unfortunately, during my visit lots of its street were under reconstruction. Nevertheless, you still could see some really ancient buildings and Portuguese tiles while exploring this neighborhood.
A must stop for all creative people and modern art lovers. The place is a mix of traditional and modern: a factory/warehouse district turned into the ultimate trendy market. Art, design, literature, restaurants… you could find lots of different cool spots here.
6. Belem Tower
Located close to the Jeronimos Monastery and Monumento a los Descubrimientos (which also was under reconstruction during my visit), the tower formed part of city´s defense system. Built in the early 16th century, it played an important role in the Portuguese maritime discoveries.
7. Time Out Market
Fresh local specialties? Time Out Market is a great place to try different foods straight from the market. Gourmets could enjoy oysters at really reasonable price. However, the place tends to get really crowded. It is better to visit before/after regular lunch hours.
8. Praça do Comércio
9. Lisbon Oceanarium
One of the coolest Oceanariums I´ve been to. Aside from its permanent exposition the place often hosts really interesting temporary exhibitions. Lisbon Oceanarium is located close to Lisbon Expo and Estacion de Oriente, which makes the whole area really cutting-edge, full of art and design objects.
10. Bairro Alto & The Pink Street
The central district of Lisbon. And here the name “alto” should have warned me: it´s all about steps – ups&downs. The neighborhood is full of tourists, restaurants, cafes and yet has the most local architecture and atmosphere. Wear comfortable shoes or start from the highest point going downwards, cause it seems like not a big deal, but after a morning of ups&downs in Bairro Alto – my feet hurt the rest of the week. The Pink Street was a pleasant surprise though. Nothing special – just a pink flooring, and yet it gives a street completely new vibes.
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