The Portuguese capital offers numerous attractions to its visitors, such as strolling through its beautiful streets and discovering monuments such as the Torre de Belém. All of them are scattered around some of its most mythical neighborhoods. Below we reveal what there is to do or what to see in Lisbon in a mandatory way.
1. Alfama, one of the essentials what to see in Lisbon
It is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon, full of authenticity and without any pretensions. There is nothing like getting lost in it and discovering the corners it hides. Likewise, it could be said that it is the cradle of fado, since it concentrates many traditional Portuguese music artists in its establishments.
To get to know it better, you can take tram 28, one of the most mythical in Lisbon, in Plaza de Martim Moriz; or take the tour on foot. In this neighborhood we will find one of the jewels of Alfama: the cathedral, of Romanesque style and one of the few surviving monuments to the earthquakes and fires that the city has suffered.
Dominating the hill where the Alfama neighborhood is located is another of its treasures: the Castle of San Jorge. Its construction dates back to the 8th century, when Lisbon was ruled by Muslims. From it you can see one of the most beautiful views of the Portuguese capital.
“It could well be that Lisbon, contrary to what it seemed, was not a city, but a woman, and the perdition was only love, if the restrictive adverb has a place here, if that is not the only and happy perdition.”
2. Bairro Alto
This picturesque neighborhood houses charming squares. Among them, the Luís de Camões Square, which separates the Bairro Alto from Chiado and is dominated by the sculpture of the writer who gives it its name. Praça do Príncipe Real, next to the Botanical Garden, should also be highlighted. The latter is full of exotic species and has a butterfly farm open to the public.
The Bairro Alto is also the most famous place in Lisbon’s nightlife. And it is that it is full of small bars of different styles where you can socialize and have fun after midnight. Most are concentrated between Rua do Norte, Rua da Atalaia and Rua do Diário de Noticias.
It is one of the most important neighborhoods in Lisbon, since It houses monuments of great caliber, such as the emblematic Torre de Belém. Located at the mouth of the Tagus River, it is the most recognizable symbol of the city, as well as one of the most representative examples of Manueline architecture.
The Belém Tower is declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, like the Jerónimos Monastery. This is a tribute to the golden age of discoveries, as King Manuel I of Portugal ordered its construction to commemorate Vasco de Gama’s return from India. It highlights its facade of more than three hundred meters long, its beautiful cloister and its impressive church.
After visiting the Jerónimos Monastery, the ideal is to make a stop at the Old Confeitaria de Belém. There they follow the old and authentic recipe for Belém cakes, the delicious cream pancakes that are one of the specialties of Portuguese cuisine.
Inside the Belém neighborhood we should also talk about the Monument to the Discoveries, a huge caravel-shaped monolith erected to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. And, next to it, the Electricity Museum or the National Carriage Museum are places to see in Lisbon.
4. The Lower
Another of the neighborhoods that you have to see in Lisbon. It stands on the ruins of the old city, destroyed by the earthquake of 1755 and is the heart of it. In addition, concentrates most of the monuments, such as the Doña María II National Theater, located in Rossio Square. This square, which is considered the nerve center of the Portuguese capital, is also home to the Rossio train station.
Another place of interest in La Baixa is the Plaza del Comercio, made up of a set of arcaded buildings on three of its sides, being open on the south side to the Tagus River. In it, the Triumphal Arch of Rua Augusta stands out, designed to celebrate the reconstruction of the city after the great earthquake; and the equestrian statue of José I.
5. Park of the Nations
As a result of the Universal Exhibition, this industrial area was transformed into a meeting place for companies and tourists. In this way, we are facing one of the most modern commercial and residential areas of the city and one of the essential things to see in Lisbon. A place full of buildings of contemporary architecture.
Even before entering the Park of the Nations, the domes of the platforms of the Estación de Oriente can be glimpsed from afar, by Santiago Calatrava; and the Portugal Pavilion, by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.
Already in the Parque de las Naciones, there are many possibilities offered. From visiting the Pavilion of Knowledge, a science and technology museum; to riding the cable car that connects the two ends of the park; going up to the Torre Vasco de Gama, the tallest building in all of Portugal.