Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal is a lively place that has plenty to offer those that chose to journey there. While maybe not as flashy as many of the other European capitals, it does have a lot going for it. From its fascinating and dramatic history involving earthquakes and exploration; to its beautiful blend of European and Moorish architecture; the city’s famous trams and funiculars; and its dedicated religious, culinary and musical culture; visitor’s won’t be short of choices. To get you started, here are 14 Lisbon sights worth seeing.
1. Praca do Comercio
This prominent square found by the bank of the Tejo River sits upon the site of the Royal Ribeira Palace destroyed in the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755. Here you’ll find the Arc de Triomphe, similar to that of Paris and a statue honouring King Jose I. Around the square you’ll find a lot of cafes and restaurants that cater to tourists and one of the ferry terminals is just a short walk away.
2. Belem Tower
The Torre de Belem, or Tower of Belem is an iconic fortified tower sits just off the banks of the river at Belem, once a strategic defensive structure and gateway to the city of Lisbon. While it has been repurposed many times over the years, the real draw of the tower is the fantastic stonework on display.
3. Bairro Alto
An inner city neighbourhood home to a lot of bars and restaurants, Bairro Alto is well known for its lively, bohemian vibe and nightlife. With its almost claustrophobic cobbled streets, you’ll feel far removed from the rest of the city but you won’t mind as you can find everything you need right here.
4. Jeronimos Monastery
A UNESCO world-heritage listed site, this monastery hosts some incredibly beautiful gothic architecture, especially around its inner cloisters. The attached Church of Santa Maria is also beautiful; make sure to look up at its incredible vaulted ceiling. Here you’ll also find the tomb of Vasco da Gama, famed Portuguese explorer. Allow plenty of time for your visit here, this is a real highlight of Lisbon.
5. Sao Jorge Castle
This castle of Moorish origins overlooks the city from atop one of the hills in the city centre. Exploring the castle, you’ll come across some fantastic views of Lisbon particularly from its walls. There are plenty of ruins to walk through from the outer courtyards, to the walls of the inner fort.
6. Alfama Neighbourhood
Explore this historic neighbourhood, the oldest of Lisbon, that rests beneath the walls of the San Jorge Castle. Watch as the trams squeeze through its narrow streets and its more modest buildings. Here you’ll find several ornate churches and Fado bars, but the real joy of Alfama is just wandering through the old-fashioned streets and soaking in the neighbourhoods dated atmosphere.
7. 25 de Abril Bridge
The epic bridge that crosses the Tejo River flowing past Lisbon out to the Atlantic, named after the historic revolution and elections that occurred on that date in 1974 and 1975, respectively. Reminiscent of San Francisco’s Golden Gate, this bridge is an impressive landmark visible from almost anywhere in Lisbon. Despite that, its when you get up close and hear the din of traffic above you that you can really appreciate its immense nature.
8. Rua Augusta
This huge pedestrian street runs through the very heart of Lisbon towards the waterfront and Praca do Comercio. Rua Augusta is a great place to get your bearings, as it takes you from the city centre down to the riverfront. Plus, whatever you’re looking for whether it be food or shopping, you’re bound to find in one of its side streets.
9. Carmo Archaelogical Museum
Another victim of the devastating earthquake of 1755, this partly open-air museum sits inside the remains of the Carmo Convent. Staring at up the open roof has a strangely calming effect; on entry plenty of visitors just sit on the stairs and take it all in. Inside is a small archaeological museum with some tombs and artefacts, but the main draw is the ruined open-air nave. The Convent is accessible by the nearby Santa Justa Lift, a historic elevator, but if you want to avoid its queue you can walk up too. For plenty more museums, among other sights, take a look at The Crazy Tourist’s equally fantastic list of sights.
10. Rossio Square
Beautifully mosaic tiled square in the city centre, one of the main squares of Lisbon for centuries. Rossio Square, actually called Pedro IV Square, is a natural meeting point and near two main train stations. At the northern end of the square is the gorgeous Portuguese National Theatre and in the centre is a lovely fountain. The square is a great starting point for a day of sightseeing or shopping in Lisbon.
11. Sao Pedro de Alcantara Gardens
These beautiful gardens are below a shady courtyard set upon a terrace that overlooks the city centre. Simply a peaceful spot to sit under the square’s shade or walk through the gardens and look out at the city. There’s also a cafe in the square if you’re looking for a coffee.
12. Christ the King
Gargantuan statue on the far bank of the Tejo River, this monument was directly inspired by the similar Christ the Redeemer of Rio de Janeiro. To get here, you need to take the ferry over to Cacilhas and then take the bus up. Once you’re here, it’s all about the views, both from the terraces at the foot of the statue and from the observation deck at the top. Of course the statue itself is very impressive.
13. Aguas Livres Aqueduct
A great feat of engineering, this mighty aqueduct is found in the outer stretches of the city centre. It was used to bring water to the city from outside and covered 18km. The aqueduct is now home to a Water Museum, but just walking along underneath it gives you an appreciation of its sheer size.
14. Monument to the Discoveries
Impressive monument to the many great Portuguese explorers like Henry the Navigator. This monument is found on the riverfront boulevard in the neighbourhood of Belem. The various figures on the boat shaped structure commemorate the contribution by Portuguese seafarers to the Age of Discovery. There are also great views of Belem from the rooftop observation deck.
Hope you enjoyed this list of Lisbon sights. Have you been to Lisbon? If so, what were your favourite spots? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This post contains a sponsored link to The Crazy Tourist. This post also includes affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I may make a small commission, but at no extra cost to you.
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