Discoveries Begin with Portugal
A 900 year old history, a people that pioneered maritime travel and a legacy of over 300 million Portuguese speakers round the world, Portugal has a heritage drawn from many parts of the globe. Once a world's first global economic, political and military power during the Age of Discoveries (15th-16th century), Portugal has since been crippled by a series of world events to become one of today's world's most peaceful countries (#3 Global Peace Index, 2017, IEP). Whether you are looking for some of the best surf in the world, or delight in seeing monuments and remarkable views, Portugal could just be *the* place for you. Taste bacalhau (salted cod), drink port (wine), appreciate some Fado (music) and seek out the source of the world famous pastéis de nata (Portuguese egg pastries/tarts). This guide should help you easily find your way around some of the most interesting places in her capital of Lisbon, and nearby historic town of Sintra.
Welcome to the modern airport and main international gateway to Portugal.
A most appealing shopping centre with top floor food court with good views.
Chiado Trindade Apartments
This is a nice, clean, modern and very comfortable apartment we stayed at with plenty of amenities available for 4 people.
Do note that this is an apartment, and so if you'll be arriving early and need to deposit luggage, you may need to contact the owner to see what options you may have (if any).
Take a stroll along the historical streets of this elegant shopping district.
An interesting relic of a place here .. A convent without its roof?
The Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a former-Roman Catholic convent located in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior, municipality of Lisbon, Portugal. The medieval convent was ruined during the sequence of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and the destroyed Gothic Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Portuguese: Igreja do Carmo) on the southern facade of the convent is the main trace of the great earthquake still visible in the old city.
Located downtown, this lift was designed by the architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, a follower of French engineer Gustav Eiffel, and was constructed of cast iron enriched with filigrana details. Inaugurated on 10 July 1902, it connects downtown to Trinidade, located many metres uphill and is the only street lift in Lisbon for public service.
Plenty of shops and cafes along this stretch .. See the interesting tiled pavements.
Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau
If you are only in town for a short few days and want to try Portuguese Codfish cake, this is a slightly more touristy place which is clean and efficient with the queues. Enjoy!
The Rua Augusta Arch is a stone, triumphal arch-like, historical building and visitor attraction in Lisbon, Portugal, on the Praça do Comércio. It was built to commemorate the city's reconstruction after the 1755 earthquake. It has six columns (some 11 m high) and is adorned with statues of various historical figures.
On the top of the arch is the female Glory rewarding Valor and Genius with two crowns (by French sculptor Célestin Anatole Calmels).
This magnificent plaza, facing the river, is also known as 'Terreiro do Paço', meaning 'Grounds of the Palace', relating to its function before the Great Earthquake of 1755. The upper floors of the yellow buildings surrounding the square are mainly used as government offices, while the lower floors often contains cafés and restaurants. King Josef I, who ruled during the reconstruction of Lisbon, is seen as a mounted statue in the middle of the square, while the arch facing north is a tribute to the explorer Vasco da Gama.
If you feel the need to have a drink in an interesting, touristy, and up market place .. Here's your spot!
They do food here too.
Rua Nova do Carvalho (aka Pink Street) used to be the city's red light district, but is now Lisbon's late night party central.
Have a drink at Pensao Amor (no points for guessing what the vertical pole in there is for), listen to Fado music at Povo (after 9:30pm) or head into MusicBox (after 11pm) and dance the night away!
Start the day with breakfast at one of the oldest and most famous cafés of the city.
This shop was open by Adrian Telles to import and sell Brazilian coffee in the 19th century, then a rarity in the households of Lisbon. Over time the space has been the meeting point for intellectuals, artists, writers and free-thinkers, weathering financial difficulties and becoming a tourist attraction, as much as another coffee-shop.
Prices are in three levels, depending on where you choose to drink: cheapest standing at the counter, and most expensive sitting outside on the terrace.
Take the E15 tram to Belem from here (about 15 minutes).
A single ticket purchased on the tram costs €2.90.
OR: take either tram 15 or tram 127 from the downtown area’s Figueira Square ("Praça da Figueira" in Portuguese) or Comercio Square.
This is one of Lisbon's many unusual museums.
Don't miss the world's largest collection of horse-drawn coaches and other royal vehicles.
The museum has one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world and is one of the most visited museums of the city.
This museum is housed in the old Horse Riding Arena of the Belém Palace, formerly a Royal Palace which is now the official residence of the President of Portugal.
The museum was created in 1905 by Queen Amélia to house an extensive collection of carriages belonging to the Portuguese royal family and nobility. The collection gives a full picture of the development of carriages from the late 16th through the 19th centuries, with carriages made in Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria and England.
Among its rarest items is a late 16th/early 17th-century travelling coach used by King Philip II of Portugal (Philip III of Spain) to come from Spain to Portugal in 1619. There are also several pompous Baroque 18th century carriages decorated with paintings and exuberant gilt woodwork, the most impressive of these being a ceremonial coach given by Pope Clement XI to King John V in 1715, and the three coaches of the Portuguese embassador to Pope Clement XI, built in Rome in 1716.
When in Lisbon, you'll have to have a portuguese egg tart.
Here is a the most famous of pastelarias, and justly so. Pastries here are served right out of the oven there, with a side of confectioner's sugar and cinnamon.
Walk through the tile-covered labyrinthine passages of this expansive shop. Have a look at the staff behind glass panels turning the endless stream of delicacies, freshly baked each in its own little ramekin, over onto the waiting trays.
Whilst there is always a queue outside this famous shop, there is plenty of seating inside and lines generally move quite quickly.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this monastery was built in the 16th century. It is an outstanding example of the Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style.
Have a look around inside this famous place in Lisbon. Be sure to also see the huge chapel, from the upper deck.
Berardo Collection Museum
The permanent Berardo Collection here is made up of modern en contemporary art - with major art movements like abstract expressionism, Abstraction-Création, action painting, body Art, constructivism, cubism, De Stijl, digital art, experimental art, geometric abstraction, kinetic art, minimal art, neo-expressionism, neo-plasticism, neo-Realism, op art, photography, photorealism, pop art, realism, suprematism, surrealism.
Work on display include those from artists like Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Jackson Polock.
Admission is free!
Monument to the Discoveries
This monument celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery (or Age of Exploration) during the 15th and 16th centuries. On the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary, this monument is located along the river where ships departed to explore and trade with India and Orient.
Climbing the monument gives you a spectacular view of Belém.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the iconic fortified tower (part of a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river) was built in the early 16th century in the late Gothic Manueline style. It was said to be the last thing Portuguese explorers saw when departing as well as the first thing they saw upon return. It was later used as a prison for political prisoners, and is today one of the most recognized symbols of Lisbon and Portugal.
taxi or tram back to town
In 2014, the publisher Time Out Portugal transformed the space into a gourmet food court with 40 kiosks, including restaurants, bars, and shops.
A number of Lisbon's top chefs have stands here, making this an ideal place to sample some of their food for lower prices than at their established restaurants.
This Igreja de São Roque was one of the few buildings in Lisbon to survive the 1755 earthquake relatively unscathed. When built in the 16th century it was the first Jesuit church designed in the “auditorium-church” style specifically for preaching. It contains a number of chapels, most in the Baroque style of the early 17th century.
The most notable chapel is the 18th-century Chapel of St. John the Baptist (Capela de São João Baptista), a project by Nicola Salvi and Luigi Vanvitelli constructed in Rome of many precious stones and disassembled, shipped and reconstructed in São Roque; at the time it was reportedly the most expensive chapel in Europe.
Garden of São Pedro de Alcantara
Enjoy the excellent panoramic view from is lovely terrace/garden in the northern corner of Bairro Alto.
This was the second funicular to be placed in Lisbon and the most visited one in the city.
(the other end of the Gloria funicular)
Hotel Mundial (rooftop drink)
* OPTIONAL *
Head to the rooftop for a drink and a view.
St. George's Castle is the historical fortress high up on Lisbon city. Head up the hill from Alfama or take bus 37. Get a great view over the city and the river from here.
Walk the fantastic old neighborhood of Alfama on the way down.
A place for casual browsing and some coffee.
Campo de Santa Clara. This is one of the most striking buildings in Lisbon. It's tall dome and white facade makes it a real landmark in Alfama/Eastern Lisbon. Excellent views from the rooftop terrace. Construction began in 1681, then halted until the dome was added in 1966 and then converted to the National Pantheon. Amalia Rodrigues, queen of fado, is buried here, and fresh roses can be seen on the tomb. The church also has wide viewing platform on the rooftop all around its dome. Excellent panorama of the river and surroundings. No elevator.
Spend the rest of your evening exploring the interesting streets of the Alfama (old town) area. Seek out local Fado music and enjoy a meal here, in the midst of Lisbon's deep Moorish heritage.
Sintra is a town in the Lisbon Region of Portugal. Its spectacular setting, 28km from Lisbon, houses a Royal Palace, used by generations of Portuguese royalty prior to the 1910 revolution.
The surrounding hills are surmounted by the remains of the Moorish Castle and by the nineteenth-century Pena Palace. Historic Sintra is an heritage patrimony site declared by UNESCO.
Near Estoril, the majestic Sintra Mountains cast a veil of mystery over the town nestling on its northern slopes. The hills and the surrounding area have been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage site both for their cultural significance and for their outstanding natural beauty.
Spend today in nearby historic Sintra. There'll be plenty of walking on dirt tracks, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes (with traction on wet tiled pavements) and bring along some (potential) wet weather gear plus bottled water for this day trip.
Head upstairs and get return tickets (€4.50 adults) for the train to Sintra. One-way ticket is €2.25 (adult).
The train journey takes 40 minutes and passes through the non-descript residential areas that surround Lisbon.
The latest timetable can be found on the CP (Comboios de Portugal) website.
Ideally, arrive at Sintra by 9:15.
Inside the train station, head to the TI counter to pick up (1) a map showing the walking and bus routes and (2) combo tickets for the various attractions.
Head out of the train station and to the right.
Join the queue for Bus #434 which will take you up to the Pena Palace (at the top of the hill). Coming downhill later on foot is much more doable.
Ok, unless you speak Portuguese and because the bus is going to be very crowded, it's going to be confusing. When you arrive at this *GPS location* get off the bus (you got from the train station).
Head towards the gates, and enter the Pena Palace grounds. Here (at the entryway) you have the option of buying additional tickets here for riding the next (smaller green) bus which takes you the rest of the way up the hill to the palace in 5 minutes with no sweat.
Walking downhill later is much easier. :)
Ahhhh .. here lies the beautiful restored Pena Palace, an example of pseudo-Moorish Romantic architecture.
Some say that this palace looks like a Lego castle, but it really a paradise for photo opportunities.
Here, you get to see a good collection of furniture and the royal Portuguese apartments.
After your self-tour of the place, grab a hot drink and something to eat before heading out of the palace. There are washrooms here and some nice outdoor seating (weather permitting).
Head downhill from the Pena Palace, on to bush garden tracks towards the Moorish Castle.
downhill hike (continued)
One of the highlights of Sintra not to be missed. Visit the ruins of a castle built by the Moors from the 9th century onwards.
Apparently, when Cascais was under the rule of Sintra, a huge fire would be lit here annually to remind the people of Cascais that the Moorish Castle is there to protect them.
Use this downhill walking path after you have visited the Moorish Castle.
Regaleira Palace is part of the built heritage included in UNESCO's world heritage list as 'Sintra cultural landscape'. Its origins date back to 1697, when the property was bought by José Leite, but it was only by the late 19th century that the history of the Palace and Gardens begins. In 1892 Carvalho Monteiro, an eccentric capitalist that had made a huge fortune in Brazil, bought the property and hired the Italian architect Luigi Manini to conceive a place that gathered, on the one hand, a sum of artistic currents (Gothic, Manueline and Renaissance) and, on the other hand, the glorification of national history influenced by mythic and esoteric traditions. A great variety of Masonic symbols is present in Regaleira Palace and Gardens. An important example is the magnificent Poço Iniciático (Initiation Well), looking like an upside down tower, where at every 15 steps a plateau is reached, in a total of nine leading to the depths of the earth. The nine plateaus remind the nine circles of Hell, the nine sections of Purgatory and the nine heavens of Paradise, as designated by Dante. Everyone seems to get lost looking for the Initiation Well – hang onto the map you get when purchasing your ticket!
The summer estate of the Portuguese royal family from the middle ages until the 1910 republican revolution. Built in several steps, the oldest standing parts is a chapel built by King Dinis I during the 14th century. Around 1400 King John I constructed "the Magpie Room" (Sala das Pegas), the ceiling of which is decorated with 136 magpies (as many as there where women at the court) in a subtle hint to end gossiping. King Manuel I added the Coats-of-Arms Room (Sala dos Brasões) in the early 16th century, showing the coat of arms of the 72 foremost Portuguese noble families of the era, as well as the arms of his own family. King Alphonse VI was imprisoned in the Palace from 1676 until his death in 1683, after being deposed by his brother and successor. Most of the palace is covered by excellently crafted azulejo glazed tiles, both on the inside and on the facade. The most striking feature of the palace exterior is the two 36 m (118 ft) tall kitchen chimneys.
(Optional: There is plenty to see and do here in Sintra. If you do not have sufficient time, you can skip entering this place.)
Browse the area here for a nice place for a meal here.
Hopefully you're not too intimidated by food at the local restaurants and cafes in the area, but if you do .. Here's your back up option!
to Estação do Oriente station
Parque das Nações ("the park of nations") is a district built from scratch for the 1998 World Expo (and hence also known as Expo to the locals) in the northeastern end of Lisbon. After the Expo, many of the impressive constructions and decorations were kept, while new residential, commercial and office buildings were added to form a thriving, mixed-use district consisting exclusively of modern architecture and making the most of its river-facing location by offering a number of leisure facilities.
Although Parque das Nações is quite removed from downtown Lisbon, it is reasonably easy to get there by metro (red line), train or bus. Look for stops and stations named "Oriente", for the spectacular Gare do Oriente train station in the middle of the district.
Vasco Da Gama here is Lisbon's top shopping mall.
One of the world's largest oceanariums. Built by American architect Norman Foster, it hosts thousands of marine species of the oceans, such as sea otters, penguins and sharks. The main tank is huge, representing the Atlantic environment, with hundreds of small fishes, sharks, barracuda, snappers and a huge sunfish. Ideal for children.
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