I fell in love with Lisbon probably on the day I was born, even though I never got it until I started to travel through the world.
When I started traveling, I began to look at my city with eyes of a tourist, and thats the best way to find some hidden secrets, or to look at places where you normally just pass through without even looking.
I’ll just share with you some 5 places not to miss in Lisbon and help you get as enamored with my city as I am.
1 — Alfama
Lisbon is such an old city that one of my favorite neighborhoods is older than Portugal, being over 100 years old.
It’s one of those more typical neighborhoods in Lisbon where you can Fado houses and still see a bit of an old times type of life, with a thigh community in the middle of a big city.
It had become a very touristy place in the last couple of years, but it’s still possible to get lost and find some old stores, where you can find fun trinkets.
Fado is part of the tradition not only in Lisbon but specifically in this neighborhood, where you can find a “Casa de Fado” almost in every corner.
And if you go there in June, the month of Lisbon festivities, “Santo Antonio”, you’ll find a party every day during the whole month.
2 — Castle
Most of my favorite places in Lisbon are connected to the city history and are sometimes older than the city itself or at least older than Portugal, this is not only because Portugal and Lisbon being an old country and city have some kind of history in it’s every corner, but also because since I have a major in history, I end up feeling a pull to these places.
The castle is a place where you can see a bit of the history of Lisbon, it existed some kind of structure in the time of the Moorish, or even the Romans, and it’s possible to go back in time, and try to remove all the new buildings through your imagination to try to see what they saw many centuries ago. Unfortunately, during the 40’s we had a policy of restoring the old monuments that end up putting them up how they thought they should be, so the castle that seems to have been well-taken during the centuries was mostly ruins in the 30’s.
Either way, even if you don’t like castles or history, the castle is a good place to visit just because of its amazing view, you can see the city, the river and so much more.
3 — Viewpoints — Miradouros
Lisbon is a city built on the top of 7 hills, it’s a bitch when you want to walk all over the city but is what creates one of the best features of the city: the huge number of sightseeing places everywhere.
I have a few favorites besides the one in the castle:
It’s opposite to the castle so you can see the castle from there.
It gives you a view similar to the one from the castle, but has a place where you can enjoy a beer or a coffee, and enjoy the sunset.
For me, it’s one of the most amazing views of the city, you can see both the river, the amazing park, and a view of the old city.
Just across the river is an amazing way to see the entire city.
4 — Belem
One of the most iconic neighborhoods in Lisbon, it’s the house of Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, Centro Cultural de Belém and the famous Pasteis de Belem (Belem custards).
It has some of the most iconic historic buildings, it was from there that most of the ships from the age of the maritime exploration, and at the same time it has a few of the more recent and modern museums in the country, having in the Centro Cultural de Belem some amazing exhibitions from time to time.
5 — Baixa
The downtown is always one of the more interesting places to go, it’s possible to have next to each other some very old buildings with very traditional shops and just around the corner some of the more modern shops in the country, it also has some of those where we can find the old traditional things updated to a more modern use.
Now we have also some traditional restaurants that are upgrading the traditional Portuguese food to something more modern and “foody” right next to some old and traditional restaurants.
In the downtown you can see one of the oldest examples of thought architecture, Lisbon was almost destroyed by an awful earthquake in 1755 in which all of these areas were completely destroyed, it was then rebuilt with larger streets, and with the available technology at the time to prevent another disaster to happen.
It’s just a place where we can see how traditional Portugal is and at the same time how far have we come in trying to modernize the country and our traditions.
But there are so many other places to go …..