Lisbon is an amazing city, it’s a city we have visited on 2 occasions and one we always feel drawn back to. There are many things to see in Lisbon, whether it is the amazing sunrises over the Tagus River, the views from the many Miradoors that dot the city or just the relaxing feel of the city. I don’t know but we just love it. There are Lisbon attractions everywhere, some hidden and some in plain sight!
Lisbon, Portugal has seen many changes throughout its history. It has witnessed sailors leaving to discover the new world, it witnessed an earthquake and tsunami that nearly wiped out the whole city in the 17th century and now it is seeing a flood of tourists on a daily basis.
There are so many great things to do in Lisbon on your trip. Downtown Lisbon has a number of great sites to see.
Castelo St George
There has been a castle sitting the hill overlooking the Tagus River since 47AD. Now, that’s a long time to be watching the city of Lisbon. It is strategically placed so you could see any invaders or armies coming up the Tagus River into town. It must have been a brilliant sight to see when on the Tagus and you were returning home from the new world or a foreboding sight if you were a part of an invading army. Today you can visit what is left from the 14th-century version of the castle and let your imagination go wild on thinking about how grand it must have looked. You can also take time to wander the outside and take in the views of Lisbon. From Castelo St George the views over Lisbon are some of the best you will find.
Muse de Marina
Belem is famous for the UNESCO listed Belem Tower but a largely unknown and definitely one thing not to miss at Belem is the Maritime Museum. You will find yourself wandering the halls in awe of just how much was discovered and how it was discovered. Portugal more than any other country in the world has a rich seafaring history, after all Portugal is home of such notable sailors as Henry the Navigator and Vasco de Gama. The museum is home to over 17,000 items on display and some are so magnificent. One of the highlights are 2 full-size ceremonial barges that were built in the 18th century. These vessels have transported famous people such as Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Queen Elizabeth II.
Insider tip: Have coffee at A Beirense. It is a small coffee shop where locals stand at the bar drinking espresso. You will find it near Rossio Train station on Calçada do Carmo and after a few days, you will feel like a local with the warm welcome you will receive.
The Carmo Convent is one of the most recognisable buildings in Lisbon and can be seen from many viewpoints around the city. Now the hollow shell still stands from the day the earthquake and tsunami flattened most of the city back in 1755, where the convent caught fire. The ruins are now home to an archaeological museum. The museum is small and seems to have no real order about what’s on display inside. It features tombs, mummies, books and artefacts from the bronze age in Portugal.
For me, the museum was just a sideshow to the amazing architecture that is the ruins of the Convento Do Carmo. It’s hard to explain but the frame of the roof still stands of this magnificent Gothic design church with its high roof arcs and domes. It has a haunting feeling as you see what being exposed to the elements has done to the inside of the once magnificent place of worship. Carmo Convent is one of the must-see Lisbon sights.
Sao Roque Church
From the outside, this church presents like any other. I must admit I walked past it many times when we were in Lisbon and did not pay it a second thought. How wrong was I! Once inside you will come across the world’s most expensive chapel and it will surprise you with its beauty and design. Like many European churches, it features numerous small chapels around the center seating of the church, which is very common but it is one small private chapel on the side that will just blow your mind. Designed and constructed in Rome using the most costly materials available in its day and then transported all the way to Lisbon and reassembled in 1740.
It includes a gate made of ivory, walls adorned with gold and silver and it was blessed by the Pope. The mosaic design on the floor is something that you will just stare at in amazement, the tiny tiles are placed so delicately and make the most beautiful tiled picture. Don’t forget to look up because the roof of the church is truly amazing. Your eyes will make you think that the roof is domed but it is actually a flat roof! The way it has been painted makes it look like it is a domed roof and was a marvel back when it was first painted and still is today.
Insider Tip: Eat at
Castle of the Moors
Sintra is a trip that everyone who visits Lisbon needs to make. Located just 45 minutes from central Lisbon it is an easy day trip by train from Lisbon. Sintra is where the Portugese Royal Family and elite of Lisbon societies would spend their summers in beautiful castles and grand estates. This castle was built sometime in the 8th century by the Moors who held lands throughout Spain and Portugal at this time. Today the castle lies in ruins, but what glorious ruins they are. Sitting on a cliff top surrounded by forest overlooking the town of Sintra. The walls of the castle are still intact and provide a scary and thrilling adventure as you walk them as they snake their way over the ridges of the mountain it sits on. Sheer cliff drops down the side and clouds surrounding you add to the experience of this location. There are more well-known attractions in Sintra but for me, The Castle of The Moors is a must.
Lisbon is a great city to explore. You need to get out walking the streets, take a tram, do a tour, grab a famous Portuguese tart, dip your toes in the Tagus and enjoy this beautiful city as much as you can. Lisbon receives more sun than any other European capital which makes it perfect for exploring, experiencing and enjoying. Is Lisbon on your travel destinations list now?
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