Historical Center of Lisbon
Amália Rodrigues sang that “Lisbon smells like flowers and the sea,” while Carlos do Carmo immortalized “Lisbon, young girl and lady.” The fado singer sang: “The light that my eyes see so pure/Your breasts are the hills, varina/The call that brings tenderness to my doorstep, city embroidered with light.” Camané added: “I look at the city and it seems/Like it’s afternoon breaking/That in Lisbon it’s always daytime.” These are just three of the many references to the city of Lisbon, inspiration for musicians, writers, and artists for centuries.
A city planted by the river, made of history and modernity. Lisbon, the city of light, where the sun shines almost 300 days a year, and where the cold is never too cold. It is easy to see why, in recent years, the Portuguese capital has become a tourist destination in its own right: it is beautiful everywhere and safe like few others, not to mention the great food available at any time. It is in the historic center that part of its charm resides, up and down narrow streets. From Bairro Alto to Alfama, from Baixa to Mouraria, from Castelo to Chiado, or from Graça to Arroios, there is much to discover on foot. You can also take a tram ride – tram 28, for example, crosses several historic neighborhoods between Martim Moniz and Campo de Ourique, with stops in Graça and Alfama, at Miradouro das Portas do Sol and Sé, in Chiado and Bica, in São Santo and the Estrela Basilica.
Lisbon’s most touristic tram
Opening of Santa Justa Elevator
Year of the earthquake that destroyed Lisbon
Being made of hills, what Lisbon has the most are viewpoints with breathtaking views, sometimes facing the river, sometimes facing the city, some with good terraces to recover. To conclude, Portuguese pavement is beautiful but can also be demanding.
Speaking of viewpoints, there is one that has the best views, with the advantage of also being a national monument. São Jorge Castle is a must-see for anyone visiting Lisbon. At the top of the hill, its entire perimeter is visitable, including its towers. From up high, a view as far as the eye can see. On the opposite side, visible from the castle, is another viewpoint, São Pedro de Alcântara, equally beautiful and with the curiosity of having a panel of tiles that gives the coordinates for everything seen from here. For a few years now, it has also been possible to climb the Rua da Augusta Arch, a landmark of the city, located in Praça do Comércio. And, of course, we can’t forget the iconic Santa Justa Elevator, a work by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard, inaugurated in 1902.
But Lisbon is also fado, in fact, that’s where this text begins. And so the experience is not complete without a visit to a fado house, where silence is made so that people can hear the melancholic voices of fado singers, in an atmosphere of sharing at the table. There are many in Alfama, but they also exist in Bairro Alto, known for its nightlife. They fill up with people and animation, and bars are discovered at every door. In Cais do Sodré, right next door, the party usually continues, with some of the city’s nightclubs located in this area.
Enjoy the capital of Portugal.
Discover more about Lisbon.