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Portugal’s historic capital enjoys a beautifully scenic location on the banks of the vast Tagus River. With a mild climate, fabulous food, and stunning architecture, it’s time for you to pay a visit.
Stroll through the ancient streets of Alfama
Put on comfortable shoes and take a walk in the oldest part of Lisbon. This maze of narrow, steep streets and squares dates back to 5e century. Crowning the neighborhood are the ruins of Castelo de Sao Jorge, the 11e century Moorish citadel. Lisbon is said to have been built on seven hills and is famous for its many miradouros (observation terraces) located around the historic center. Climb up to Miradoura of Santa Luzia and enjoy the fantastic panorama over the red tile roofs of the city to the river.
Dine at the city’s food market
The Time Out Market is a gastronomic hall located in the 19 of Cais do Sodree century Mercado da Ribeira. This lively and informal collection of vendors under one roof has drawn dozens of visitors since its launch in 2014. Tempt your taste buds with a choice of 26 restaurants and eight bars. Artisanal products range from steak to pastries to sushi. If you are a wine lover, go to Garrafeira Nacional. A family business since 1927, the store offers over 2,000 wine labels as well as an excellent range of Madeira and Port.
Explore the historic town of Belém
Discover the lively riverside district of Belem, home to famous monuments and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Built in 1514, the distinctive, ornate belem tower perched on a basalt outcrop above the Tagus River, where it protected the city from invaders by sea. Visit the magnificent cloisters of the Hieronymites Monastery, home to the tomb of famous Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. Do not miss a visit to the historic Café Pasteis de Belem, inventor of the delicious Portuguese cream pie, Pasteis De Nata. Then, take a stroll through the nearby tropical botanical gardens.
Enjoy the nightlife of Bairro Alto
Quiet and low-key by day, this hilly neighborhood comes to life when the sun goes down, and revelers flock to its mishmash of trendy bars, clubs and great restaurants. If you haven’t met fado music before, watch a performance. The national music of Portugal features a moving voice, often heartbreaking, accompanied by classical guitar. Many traditional restaurants in the region present shows to accompany your dinner.
Take a traditional tram
A great way to see the old quarters of Lisbon, get on the E28 tram from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique. The hour-long journey passes through the quaint neighborhoods of Alfama and Baixa, then ascends through Chiado and wealthy Estrela. You will pass narrow streets of colorful houses, a breathtaking view of the Miradouro das Portas do Sol, the Royal Parliament Buildings and the majestic Se Cathedral of Lisbon. The last stop is the serene Cemitério dos Prazeres. Here you get a fabulous view of the 25th of April Bridge, the distinctive suspension bridge that spans the Tagus River. Keep in mind that trams are public transportation for local residents and you may have to stand for part of the journey! Ride before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to avoid the busiest hours.
Browse the beautiful works of art
Visit Lisbon Gulbenkian Museum where you will discover a vast private collection of more than 6,000 pieces of ancient and modern art. The coins include Islamic works dating from the 12e century, Egyptian and Greek objects and an extensive European collection including masterpieces by Monet, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Renoir, as well as works by contemporary artists such as Paula Rego. Calouse Gulbenkian was an Armenian oil tycoon who spent the last 13 years of his life in Portugal. Before he died, he donated his entire collection to the land that had become his home.
Hit the beach
From Cais do Sodre train station, take a train to Cascais, a charming seaside resort along the Lisbon coast. the Linha from Cascais The train line follows the Tagus estuary, joining the Atlantic Ocean. Sit on the left to enjoy the sea view as you travel. It’s a 30-40 minute ride to Cascais (the last stop on the line). The pretty town has two sandy beaches bordered by the Atlantic and many restaurants, shops and bars. Another good bet is Carcavelos beach (9 km from Cascais, several stops earlier on the same train line) which is a vast expanse of golden sand with clean blue waters ideal for swimming.
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