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Lisbon, The Melting Pot of Cultures

Charles Nagy Jul 28, 2023
184 People Read
Lisbon
Table of Contents
  1. Popular Lisbon Neighborhoods
  2. Hotels/Apartments in Lisbon
  3. Popular Tourist Attractions in Lisbon
  4. Churches in Lisbon
  5. Popular Musumes in Lisbon
  6. Day Trips from Lisbon
  7. Lisbon Night Life
  8. Portuguese Food
  9. Best Time to Visit Lisbon
  10. Getting around the Lisbon
  11. Lisbon Travel Tips and Fun Facts
  12. Car Rental

Experience the Rich Culture and History of Lisbon in Portugal

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is a place of stunning contrasts; from its undulating hills and quaint cobblestone alleyways, to its modern architecture, it's full of surprises. A visit to Lisbon promises a deep dive into Portuguese culture, with its rich history, vibrant art scene and mouth-watering cuisine. Whether you're a first-time visitor or returning for a second helping, Lisbon will inspire, delight and enchant you.

So pack your bags, grab your camera and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in one of Europe's most dynamic cities!

Portugal, Lisbon

I feel a special connection to Lisbon because it's where my partner Pedro is from. Our priority when visiting is spending time with his family and friends. Apart from exploring Lisbon's top attractions main sights and tourist traps, we also take the time to soak up his culture and eat lots of food. As a result of what Pedro and his family and friends have told me, I've compiled a list of my best suggestions and travel guide for experiencing Lisbon to the fullest.

Pedro & I

Lisbon is the vibrant and charming capital of Portugal. Nestled on the western edge of Europe, this enchanting city is a melting pot of cultures, traditions, and history that dates back to the Roman Empire. With its stunning architecture, colourful streets, and lively neighbourhoods, Lisbon is a must-visit destination for any traveler.

The city is renowned for its delicious food and wine, with fresh seafood, pastries, and traditional dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Lisbon is home to some of the best museums, art galleries, and cultural attractions in Europe.

One of the most unique things about this great city is its distinct character and charm, which is reflected in its narrow streets, historic buildings, and colourful tiled facades. From the winding alleyways of the Alfama district to the chic boutiques of Chiado, Lisbon is a city that rewards exploration and discovery. Whether you're here for a short break or an extended stay, Lisbon is sure to capture your heart and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

Lisbon Homes

Lisbon City Photo

Popular Lisbon Neighborhoods

Lisbon has many unique and vibrant neighbourhoods. Exploring Lisbon and the diverse neighbourhoods is one of the best ways to experience and discover the city's unique character, charm, and personality. 

Here are some of the most popular neighbourhoods or areas in Lisbon:

  • Bairro Alto e Bica (Santa Catarina) - Bairro Alto neighborhood is filled with colourful buildings, bars, and restaurants. The area is filled with cobblestone streets making it one of the most romantic and popular areas in Lisbon.

  • Alfama - is one of the many old neighborhoods in Lisbon and has become known for its Fado music clubs, narrow streets, and photogenic places in Lisbon. Feira da Ladra is one of Lisbon's oldest markets. It's on twice a week at Campo de Santa Clara in Alfama.

  • Graça - This is an extraordinary area, both rustic and modern. This area also holds some of Lisbon's oldest churches and monasteries like Capela de Nossa Senhora da Graça.

  • São Vicente - This area is known for its vibrant nightlife and street art scene, as well as its wonderful eateries. So many beautiful views of the port, this area is also very close to Castelo de São Jorge.

  • Mouraria Quarter - is a area not far from the centre that is known for its local food and steep hills surrounded by spectacular views. Miradouro da Graça is one of my favorite places to take photos. When I'm here, I usually call my mother on FaceTime, since she also enjoys the view.

  • Baixa Pombalina - This neighbourhood in Lisbon has a lot to offer including the oldest public marketplace in Europe. As well as many historic sites such as Arco da Rua Augusta and elevator de Santa Justa. Personally, one of my favourite areas is Lisbon because it's the old city which is very unique.  

  • Príncipe Real - This neighbourhood is known for its beautiful gardens and vibrant nightlife. During the day, tourists can wander around the Mercado do Príncipe Real to grab a bite to eat or browse through the many shops selling handmade products made by local artisans. 

  • Belém - This is a must-see area in Lisbon. It's the area to some of the city's most famous landmarks such as the Tower of Belém and Jerónimos Monastery. There's plenty of museums and galleries to explore, as well as some delicious restaurants serving traditional Portuguese cuisine.

  • Campo de Ourique - It has retained its original charm, with many quaint and picturesque streets lined with traditional Portuguese architecture. The district is popular among locals and tourists alike for its unique cultural vibe, authentic food, and vibrant nightlife.

Bairro Alto

Miradouro da Graça

Hotels / Apartments in Lisbon

Lisbon has no shortage of places to stay. Whatever your budget, there is something for everyone. There are luxurious resorts as well as more affordable accommodations. You're sure to find the perfect hotel in the port city of Lisbon, regardless of whether you prefer modern amenities or a more traditional experience. Here is a list of hotels by star rating.

The following are my recommendations for hotels and apartments by neighbourhood. In Lisbon, you can find high end luxury apartments for very affordable rates, which are just as good to stay in. Below are all three- to four-star reviews with an 8.0 or higher rating. During peak season, these are great places to stay.

Hotels in Lisbon

Apartment in Lisbon

Popular Tourist Attractions in Lisbon

Lisbon boasts a diverse array of attractions worth exploring, each providing a unique and memorable experience of Lisbon. Catering to various interests, the city centre offers history, culture, and natural attractions alike.

For your first visit to Lisbon, here are some of the most popular attractions and activities

  • Praça do Comércio is Lisbon's grand central square. Also called Rossio Square. It's situated near the Tagus River and is one of the largest squares in Europe. The area has a long history, as it was once used for trading goods and hosting royal events. It is absolutely beautiful and grand, many restaurants around and it's a great place for people-watching. It's not located in central Lisbon but it's very close and you need to check it out.

  • Santa Justa lift - This is an elevator in central Lisbon, very close to Rossio Square. It was built in 1902 by an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel. It quickly turned out to be a major tourist attraction but in my humble opinion, you can get much better views of the city on other sites. If you do choose to ride the lift, go in the early morning otherwise the line gets very long with other travelers.

  • The Castelo de Sao Jorge - St. George's Castle is situated on steep hills, but it is a must-see place because it represents the birth of the Portuguese capital. Since it was built as a fortress in the 12th century, many kings and queens have called it home. The observation deck at St. George's Castle has some of the best Instagram photos in all of Lisbon. GetYourGuide offers guided tours. To avoid long lines, book your tickets in advance.

  • Tram #28 - is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It is quite a fun and bumpy ride to do together with your family, friends or your travel companion. It is a very old tram running with the technology of 100 years ago and it goes through quaint little neighbourhoods of Lisbon region.

  • Padrão dos Descobrimentos: The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) is a monument in the Belem district that overlooks the Tagus River. The monument faces the river, so the best way to view the entire monument is from a boat ride.

  • Torre de Belém: This is a small castle in Lisbon, Portugal, designed to protect the city’s defence system. It was built in the 16th century, during Portuguese maritime discoveries. Today it hosts a small museum with guided tours throughout the day.

  • Reservatório da Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras - is a historic reservoir, it's an architectural jewel. It's an iconic monument of the old city. It was built in the 18th century to supply the city with fresh water and is now a popular tourist attraction. The reservoir is open to the public and can be visited on a guided tour.

  • Pink Street - (Rua Nova do Carvalho) is a street in Lisbon, Portugal, that is known for its pink-painted pavement. in the past, it used to be the red light district of Lisbon because so many sailors would gather around to socialize, drink, gamble and visit a brothels. Today, the area is known for its trendy bars, restaurants and clubs.

  • Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira - Palace of the Marquises of Fronteira is a 17th-century palace. It's known for its stunning gardens and azulejo tilework and the birth place of tiles - which is a key feature of the culture and identity of Portugal.

  • Cristo Rei - Is a statue of Jesus Christ located in Almada, Portugal, similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro. It stands with open arms across the Tagus River from Lisbon. You can not miss this statue if you are in the city.

  • Lisbon's Botanical Garden - Located in the heart of the city. The garden was founded in 1873 and features plants and trees from all over the world. It's a perfect place to be when the weather is extremely hot and I can easily spend two or three hours here while Im visiting Lisbon.

The hop on hop off bus tour is the most convenient way to see everything.

Click here to book

Hop on Hop Off

Pink Street

Lisbon

Churches in Lisbon

One of my favourite things to do when I go to a new city is to visit old churches, mostly because I admire the historic architecture and artwork. Lisbon has some of the best artwork and architectural churches in Europe.

Here's a list of some of the churches I've visited.

  • Mosteiro dos Jerónimos - Known as one of the most important hall churches in all of Europe. Also use to be a former monastery. The building is considered a monument to Lisbon. There are plenty of guided tours or walking tour to join.

  • Sé Cathedral - This is a Roman Catholic church built in the 12th century right next to St. George's Castle.

  • Basílica da Estrela - an 18th-century church with Baroque architecture. Known to have a beautiful garden that surrounds the church. Great church to visit while you experience lisbon.

Mosteiro Dos  Jerónimos

Popular Musumes in Lisbon

MAAT

Day Trips from Lisbon

There are so many day-trip destinations from Lisbon, which offer a wide range of experiences, from stunning natural beauty to rich cultural history. Whether you're interested in exploring ancient castles, quaint fishing villages, or picturesque towns, there is something for everyone just a short drive from Lisbon.

Here's a list of the major cities just outside Lisbon or popular day trips:

  • The town of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is known for its magnificent palaces and castles. Two of its most notable attractions are the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. Trains are the easiest and cheapest way to get there from the city center. Rossio train station has direct trains. I would say Sintra is one of the most popular day trips from Lisbon. Sintra should be on your must see places.

  • Cascais - Located just 30 minutes from Lisbon, Cascais is a charming coastal town that is popular for its sandy beaches, quaint fishing villages, and trendy shops and restaurants. There are lots of different city guides, my favourite is GetYourGuide.

  • Óbidos - A medieval walled town located about an hour north of Lisbon, Óbidos is known for its narrow streets, traditional houses, and stunning castle. It is also famous for its cherry liqueur, which is sold in small, edible chocolate cups.

Sintra

Sintra

Lisbon Night Life

Lisbon's vibrant and eclectic nightlife has something for everyone. You can start the evening in Bairrio Alto with dinner and drinks. Most places are open until 2-3 a.m. After that, if you still want to dance, head down to Cais do Sodre for some underground discos. It is also possible to take a taxi to the popular club Lux Fragile.

There are many clubs and bars in Principe Real that cater to the LGBTQ+ community. There are a lot of bear bars and high-energy dance clubs here that start no earlier than 2 am. At Finalmente Club, a trashy and kitsch drag show starts at 3 am and guarantees a fun time. If you love a good drag show at Finalmente Club to your trip to Lisbon.

Lisbon Night Life

Portuguese Food

Portuguese cuisine combines Mediterranean ingredients with flavours from China, India, Brazil, and Africa. Due to the country's long and rich history of seafaring, seafood plays a prominent role in many Portuguese dishes. You can not go wrong with fish soup and it's one of my favourites.

Codfish, known in Portuguese as "bacalhau", is a traditional Portuguese food. A staple of Portuguese cuisine, codfish can be prepared in 365 different ways! Most menus have this on them and I recommend you try it at least once.

The Time Out Market, also known as Mercado da Ribeira, is the perfect place to sample all that Portugal has to offer in terms of food and delicacies. On the first floor, you can even book a cooking class.

A Portuguese meal wouldn't be complete without a Pastel de Nata and an espresso. A crispy, flaky pastry shell is filled with rich, creamy custard, and cinnamon is sometimes sprinkled on top before serving. Throughout Portugal, Pastel de Nata is available in bakeries and cafes, but my favourites are Manteigaria and Pasteis de Belem.

While Portuguese wines aren't always popular, they have won many international awards. Green wine, which is similar to white wine and served cold, is a favourite drink in the country.

Pastel de nata

Best Time to Visit Lisbon

The best time to visit Lisbon depends on your personal preferences and what you want to do while you're there. Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers.

Here's a breakdown of each season

  • In summer (June-August), temperatures are hot and the days are long. Crowds can be overwhelming at beaches during this time of year.

  • Spring (March-May) is a good time to visit Lisbon because the weather is mild and the city is less crowded. During this time, there are several festivals and events taking place.

  • Autumn (September-November) is another excellent time to visit Lisbon since the weather is still warm, and crowds are starting to thin out. During this time, the city is also less expensive.

  • In winter (December-February), Lisbon is still beautiful, and there are fewer tourists. It can be chilly outside, but it rarely snows in Lisbon.

Lisbon is best visited during the spring and fall when the temperatures are mild and the crowds are few. Nevertheless, summer is a great time to enjoy the beach and the hot sun.

Lisbon

Getting around the Lisbon

There are many ways to get around Lisbon once you arrive. One of the most popular modes of public transport is the tram, which is not only a great method of transportation but also a tourist attraction.

The underground, also known as the metro, is another efficient means of public transportation. It is the fastest way to get around the city and covers most tourist attractions. Metro fares are also very affordable, and you can purchase a rechargeable card that offers discounts.

Apart from traditional modes of public transport, Lisbon also offers several eco-friendly options. The use of e-bikes and scooters in cities has become increasingly popular in recent years due to their efficiency and environmental friendliness. In Lisbon, there are several companies that rent out e-bikes and scooters. By using these services, tourists can explore the city at their own pace and see the sights they want to see.

Taxis are inexpensive, but drivers may charge you more if you don't speak Portuguese.

You can use Bolt or Uber, both of which are very affordable. E-bikes can also be booked through the Bolt App and Uber App

You can reserve a Vespa in advance at BikesBookings

Overall, whether you prefer traditional modes of public transport or more modern and eco-friendly options, Lisbon offers something for everyone when it comes to getting around.

Vespa, Lisbon

Lisbon Travel Tips and Fun Facts

  • Portugal is one of the safest places in the world.

  • Belém Tower was once a prison

  • The Lisbon airport is inside the city limits

  • The Lisbon Oceanarium has the largest indoor tank in Europe

  • Just like Rome, Lisbon is built on seven hills

  • Lisboa Card - Access up to 38 Attractions + Public Transportation

  • The city has a bridge called the 25 de Abril Bridge, which is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

  • Lisbon is the second oldest capital city in Europe, after Athens.

  • in 2017 Madonna moved her family from London to Lisbon

  • The local language is Portuguese but you can get around speaking English as it is widely spoken throughout the city.

  • Portugal is part of the European Union and the local currency is Euro.

  • Portugal operates on 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

  • Lisbon has become a popular destination for digital nomads and startups in recent years.

  • Lisbon is a great place for tourists that want to explore Europe without breaking the bank

Lisbon

Car Rental

Here's a link if you want to rent a car in Portugal.

Table of Contents
  1. Popular Lisbon Neighborhoods
  2. Hotels/Apartments in Lisbon
  3. Popular Tourist Attractions in Lisbon
  4. Churches in Lisbon
  5. Popular Musumes in Lisbon
  6. Day Trips from Lisbon
  7. Lisbon Night Life
  8. Portuguese Food
  9. Best Time to Visit Lisbon
  10. Getting around the Lisbon
  11. Lisbon Travel Tips and Fun Facts
  12. Car Rental