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Lisbon is an incredible city with a unique culture, delicious food, and stunning architecture. It's the perfect destination for anyone looking to experience something new and exciting. So, whether you're looking to explore the cobbled streets of the Alfama district or take in the views from the top of the Castelo de São Jorge, there's something for you. We've compiled this comprehensive Lisbon travel guide to help you plan your trip. We've covered you, from the best places to stay to the must-see attractions. So, let's dive in and explore the highlights of one of Europe's most vibrant cities.
Lisbon is among the most ancient cities in Western Europe. Moreover, from the 15th century, Lisbon's port was the largest in the world. Casa da Guine e Mina is a group of warehouses that also served as customs offices at the time. This organization managed all aspects of overseas trade, giving the city immense power. Lisbon was the hub of commerce along the Cape Verde coastline.
Moreover, numerous citizens came from Flanders and Genoa to enjoy the city's wealth. After the First Republic collapsed in 1926, the anti-democratic conservative party came to power and established the New State (Estado Novo), headed by Anoniode Oliveira Salzar. The regime lasted until 25/04 1974. At that time, General Spinola led a military coup that finally created the Third Republic. Over the following years, immigration transformed Lisbon profoundly.
Lisbon was home to many exiles fleeing the various Axis countries during World War II. As a result, Portugal joined the European Union in 1986. Twelve years later, the World Expo 1998. This event changed the urban landscape of this beautiful city.
Lisbon is a shoulder-season destination. Visiting Lisbon in spring (March to May) or autumn (September to November) is best when the weather is mild. It can feel almost like a ghost city in winter when it is often cloudy or raining. Summer is also a peak tourist season. Temperatures can reach unbearable highs, and crowds can make it difficult to find accommodation.
You'll also want to be there in June if you like festivals. For example, June 13th is St. Anthony's Day in Lisbon. This holiday is a night full of parades, dancing, and grilled Sardines.
These are some of the best places to visit in Lisbon and places to visit.
You will find all the top cuisines and live music in this vast food hall. It showcases all of Lisbon's great foodie attractions under one roof. There are many restaurants, bars, and shops at Time Out Market. However, you might be wondering what a Time Out Market is. It's all the favorite food picks stuffed into a giant food hall.
Like the Forum of Rome, Alfama District is the city's oldest area. Moreover, the district's narrow streets and alleyways are a top activity for visitors to Portugal's capital. Along the streets, you will also see great cathedrals like Lisbon Cathedral or tile-fronted churches. In addition, many hidden squares have al fresco cafés and remnants of old city walls.
The state-run museum was established in 1911. It reopened in 1994, following a hiatus after the Chiado Fire. The rehang of a few decades ago, which involved 100 works of the permanent collection, gives an exciting overview of 150 years' worth of Portuguese art. It includes everything from naturalism and romanticism to surrealism and neorealism - to 1975.
This castle is the most prominent landmark of Lisbon's historical center. This great citadel rises high above the Alfama District streets. The Romans constructed it over 2,000 years ago. The city's subsequent rulers, including the Berbers and Reconquista knights, have continued to improve the citadel.
Today, it boasts vast palisades and crenulated Towers. There is also an encircling dry Moat and other anti-siege features. You will also find the Portuguese royal seal at the gate, which marks Portugal's monarchic strength.
A glance at the elegant carvings and ornate spires of the Monastery of Jeronimos will reveal the reason for this landmark. It sits near the Tagus River. It was constructed to commemorate Portugal's most incredible age, known as 'The Age of Exploration. Its unique combination of architectural styles is a testimony to the many cultures that Lisbon's explorers encountered.
This is among the preferred spots for a night on the town. This is the liveliest version of the old mansion, home to numerous clubs and associations. The Tiger Room at the front hosts DJ sets and gigs. Other rooms are available for chats or work on tablets. There are also several other smaller rooms that you can use to have a conversation.
The massive Lisbon Oceanarium in the Tagus Estuary blue waters rises like an aircraft carrier. It houses over a million visitors every year. It is also home to a variety of exhibits on marine life.
The puffer fish is beautiful; you can also see the marauding whale sharks. Besides, meet curious moray-eels and cuddly penguins. There are also exciting collections, including corals and sea anemones. If it's sunny, you can rent a pedal from the artificial boating lagoon.
Lisbon is a trendy tourist destination. But it's much less crowded than European destinations like France, Italy, and Spain. Moreover, you can start a conversation if you speak Portuguese well enough or have a basic phrasebook. People who talk to Portuguese will soon see Portuguese culture and feel the same warmth as every neighborhood or monument.
Lisboetas use the Mediterranean clock. Therefore, they eat later than in northern Europe but not as late in Spain. Lunch begins at 1 p.m. Dinner starts at 8 p.m. However, a 7 p.m. reservation at a restaurant is a great way to meet tourists. Also, the Euro is the official currency. So, always check the exchange rate for the Euro to the U.S. dollar before you travel, as it fluctuates frequently. Furthermore, tipping is not a standard practice in Europe and may result in strange looks depending on where you are.
These are some of the best foods to try while visiting Lisbon.
Portuguese for "green broth," caldo verde is one of the most popular dishes in Lisbon. Although the history of this recipe is not as long as that of sardines, it is still very traditional in Portuguese. It is a hearty soup with potatoes, onions, collard greens, olive oil, and garlic. And because it has been a staple Portuguese dish for so long, many variations exist. Moreover, this is a delicious and healthy dish you can enjoy while moving.
Salt cod (or Bacalhau) is a staple in Portuguese cuisine. It is also one of the most beloved appetizers there. You will find many variations of this simple dish in different restaurants, which means you can try many on your next trip.
Leitao the Portuguese term for suckling pork. It is one the most popular dishes in Portugal and pairs well with a glass of Espiante, a Portuguese sparkling wine. They spit-roast the piglet on a wood fire and then top it with spices, salt, and pig fat. This ensures the pig's skin is crispy while the juices remain inside. Leitao is common during festivities.
Alheira is usually made from chicken, game, and bread, with fat. It has a slight vinegary, smoky flavor. Alheira is one of the few Portuguese sausages that you can eat whole. You can grill or bake them at home. However, they are often deep-fried in a restaurant and served with homemade chips and a fried egg. This is a great, filling, budget-friendly meal.
These sandwiches may look simple. This is because back in the days, they were made from dry, leathery meat. But today, they are made perfectly. Three types of meat sandwiches are easy to find in Lisbon: the bifana and the pork loin. It is also prego. This is a beef sandwich made with beef. And the sandes de Leitao is a roll with shredded roast pork and a pepper-and-salt sauce.
These are some of the best areas to stay in Lisbon. The historic hotels are from the 18th century with charming rooms and suites. The hotels feature indoor lap pools, rooftop running tracks, outdoor swimming pools, floor-to-ceiling windows, a lounge area, marble bathrooms, rooftop bars, and suites with separate living rooms.
Belem has a lot to offer. There are the Museu Nacional dos Coches and many other prominent attractions. Moreover, beautiful parks surround them, and you can take a scenic riverside walk past the romantic monuments of Portuguese explorers. Avenida da Liberdade is another promising area. It's upscale, residential, and less noisy than other downtown areas. You can quickly get to Sintra via the Rossio train station. There are also excellent transport connections to the rest of the city.
Alfama is Lisbon's best-kept secret. Wander through Medieval alleys or stairways. Miradouros overlook red-roofed houses that slope down to the river. You'll also find artisans' workshops, restaurants, and cool bars. Boutique hotels are also available for guests to enjoy a stay.
Avenida da Liberdade is an area of high wealth. The avenue's spine is a broad, leafy avenue. It boasts a parade of luxury shops, including Armani and Miu Miu, and art galleries and boutiques. While few significant attractions are here, it leads to Parque Eduardo. It also hosts Feira an Aveda, the largest flea market in town.
Moreover, NcQUOI has fine dining and some of Lisbon's most famous cocktail bars, such as Monkey Mash and Red Frog. Furthermore, this is the right choice if you want a large, luxurious hotel with boutique or mid-range amenities.
The area is famous for its nightlife. It is located close to ferry services. It is also a transportation hub that makes it an excellent choice for arrivals and departures, late night and early morning. Another place to go for Lisbon nightlife is Cais do Sodre's Pink Street. It overcame its negative reputation and is now hip and cool.
Alcantara has seen a rise in creative entrepreneurs and creative professionals over the years. It is now a mixture of the working class and the modern. Besides, you can reach the center or Belem in under 10 minutes by bus. This is the best area of Lisbon to live in if you are looking for an entrepreneurial and creative atmosphere.
Baixa is the most popular area in Lisbon to stay in for first-timers. This is because it is the most centrally located part of Lisbon. Baixa district is situated between Chiado and Alfama. It is also the tourist heart of the city. It has historical sights, restaurants, cafes, bars, and shops.
The Marquis of Pombal rebuilt the neighborhood after the 1755 Earthquake. As a result, it has a grid-city layout. These streets have many neoclassical Pombaline-style buildings. The downtown district is also home to many pedestrian streets and sidewalks. This makes it easy for you to explore the area on foot.
If you arrive by boat, you will first notice Praca do Comercio. This is Lisbon's largest square. It is right on the waterfront. This Commerce Square was built upon the remains of the royal palace, which was destroyed during the 1755 earthquake.
The plaza has Lisbon's main tourism office, stylish restaurants, and cafés. It's also a popular area to meet and relax. The Tagus River is the backdrop to the stone towers at the pier, making it the ideal location for photos.
Lisbon's train (CP) connects to major cities and nearby towns. They are reliable, frequent, and easy to use. You can buy tickets at stations or online via the Comboios de Portugal mobile app. Metro Lisboa is also very user-friendly. There are four color lines. The red line takes you to the airport. However, make sure to validate your tickets before boarding.
Lisbon's bus network (Carris) runs 24 hours a day. Lisbon's taxis also offer excellent service, especially if you don't use them during rush hours. Coop taxis are the most trusted. You can also find Uber and Cabify here. These are both Spanish rideshare companies. Follow the signs to find the Uber pickup point at the airport.
Violent muggings and pickpocketing have become more common among tourists. Some people also reported the existence of violent gangs, as well as a lazy force. Therefore, it would be best if you were cautious when traveling at night, particularly around the top attractions and in Lisbon's suburbs. Also, avoid withdrawing cash from ATMs at night.
Northern Lisbon at night is dangerous, especially near Martin Moniz and Intendente. These areas are notorious for housing a rougher crowd as well as brothels.