Tourist Places To Visit In Lisbon
The sunny city of seven hills, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Southern Europe. With its lovely waterside views and seagulls cawing, red-roofed Alfama district and whitewashed houses, stairs connecting different levels of streets and trams operating since ancient days - the city is a jewel of tourist delight in this part of the world. With a hoard of tourist places to visit, Lisbon far from disappoints. Here is our little list to start you on your planning!
Also known as the Tower of St. Vincent, Belem Tower is located on the island in River Tagus. It dates back to the year 1515 and was initially built with the intent of defence for the city of Lisbon from oncoming invaders from the sea. The tower also served the purpose to guide seafarers, built as it was at the time of ‘Age of Discover.’ It is also a bastion and held spaces for 17 cannons. Visit this tower and don’t forget to see the statue of Our Lady of Safe Homecoming, said to protect the sailors and seafarers out at sea.
Sao Jorge Castle
Sao Jorge Castle or St. George’s Castle is one of Lisbon’s oldest architectural marvel, located atop a hill in the famous old Alfama district of the city. The castle has a very Moorish touch, built and used as residence as it was by the Romans and Moorish kings. Later, the Portuguese used it as a royal residence until 16th Century. Today tourists find a beautiful museum here along with the royal chambers and quarters very well intact, the ramparts huge and domineering and views from the battlement area and parapets to die for.
The image of Lisbon, with its white houses and red roofs by the blue sea are courtesy this district. The Alfama quarter is Lisbon’s oldest, and holds much of its history in its lap. The city’s Moorish past is chalked in its meandering streets and Portuguese culture engraved in its Fado bars. Visit the Plaza to sit on an observation deck and see the hill-side neighbourhood, stoll down the streets to check out the Moorish gateway, Largo das Portas do Sol, local cafes and Fado bars. The streets are also painted in brilliant and rebellious graffiti, so art lovers have their hands full admiring all of that. Otherwise, you can just pull out your camera and take photos as you go, of footbridges and painted roads, stairways and colourful homes.
Lisbon’s Tram 28 is its iconic tram, one that flits across Alfama and still serves locals to get from their home to work. Moreover, it is a very coveted tourist attraction, iconic for its history and charm. The yellow tram, also known as ‘eléctrico’ as its works on that source of energy, travels through some of the city’s most prominent landmarks and sectors. You can best use this tram by taking it to the Sao Jorge Castle up the hill from Alfama’s lowlands.
Lisbon Oceanarium is a modern tourist delight in all of Lisbon’s ancient heritage charms. This place was built back in 1998 when they improvised on Lisbon’s attractions and it hosted the 1998 World Exposition. It is located in Parque das Nações area and is the largest European indoor aquarium. With its 4 unique habitat ecosystems, each representing a different range of marine animals, you will find here sting rays and sharks, otters and penguins, planktons and anemones.
The Jeronimos Monastery is a must-visit tourist attraction in Lisbon, with its marvellous design and Moorish influences, Manueline built and riverside feel. It is located in the Belém district and dates back to the 1500s, when the monastery was built to commemorate the great discoveries of Portuguese sailors. A beautiful building of gold coloured limestone rocks and latticed ceilings, Jeronimos Monastery leaves you enraptured. What’s more is, the crypt of the church here houses the tomb of Vasco da Gama, the great explorer who took the first voyage to India and made Lisbon a very rich city.
Rossio Square, also known as Pedro IV Square, is a central hub in the city teeming with local buzz. It is Lisbon’s most famous plaza and is situated in Pombaline Lower Town district, with its elegant aura. Since the middle ages, the ‘Rossio’ as it was called, has been a famous gathering place and landmark in Lisbon. During the 16th Century Inquisition, even executions were carried out here and heads rolled in blood. You can stroll here, sit at cafes drinking coffee or at bars. There is also the National Theatre nearby if you want to see some native Lisbon dramas.
Monument to the Discoveries
Padrão dos Descobrimentos, as it is called in Portuguese, is the memorial built in dedication to the Infante Dom Henrique, who later came to be known as Prince Henry the Navigator, the one who ushered in the ‘age of discovery’ in Portugal. Located on the shore of River Tagus, the memorial is in the shape of a ship with its sails unfurled and looks as if ready to set on a voyage. There are statues of many other national heroes beside the king and this has an elevator that takes you to the top to enjoy the view.