Our Super Local from Aveiro (Portugal), Paulo Costa, found out that PWaL team was participating in Discoveries (Travel & Tourism startup accelerator), that takes place in Lisbon, and decided to give us some tips where to go and have a great time in the city.
If you are in Lisbon at the moment or planning to go in the nearest future, check out Paulo’s tips to make your time in the city unforgettable.
Main sights to check out:
- Praça do Comercio/Terreiro do Paço (Commerce Square & Palace Square) and Arco da Rua Augusta (Street Augusta Arch) – you can visit the top of the arch and see the breathtaking view over Lisbon.
- Walk along Augusta street until the Rossio station. This neighborhood is called Baixa Pombalina (all the buildings are constructed after the big earthquake of 1755). The disaster has destroyed the whole neighborhood, leaving the ruins behind, but nowadays the area is very beautiful, full of tourists, and locals. There are many cool bars for the night time and shops for the day.
- São Jorge Castle. This place has a beautiful view above the Baixa Pombalina neighborhood and the river.
- The Glória Funicular (Elevador da Glória). Actually it’s a tram that provides a very unique and authentic experience within the city. This funicular connects two the most traditional neighborhoods: Praça dos Restauradores and Bairro Alto. It takes 265 meters going up and down.
- When get out of the funicular, you can see on your right the view point São Pedro de Alcântara. It offers an amazing view over the city centre and the magical São Jorge Castle. Also this view point lays in the heart of Bairro Alto – the best neighborhood to go for a drink, a meal or just to hang out with friends.
- Santa Justa funicular (a piece of art made by a Gustav Eiffel’s pupil and it connects Baixa Pombalina with Bairro Alto. Go all the way up and sit in a little café enjoying the most amazing view over Lisbon and river Tejo.
- Bica funicular – also pretty amazing view over the city.
- Viewpoint Santa Catarina (Adamastor). It’s near Bairro Alto, right next to Calçada do Combro.
Neighborhoods to visit:
- Cais do Sodré (near Bairro Alto, but closer to the river). Go all the way down and you’ll enjoy a live music on every corner, small bars and bifana (traditional Portuguese meat sandwich) places.
- Chiado – a poetic neighborhood with little bohemian cafés and old book shops.
- Alfama and Mouraria – those neighborhoods are the most typical of Lisbon with very traditional streets and houses covered with all types of tiles (azulejos). Alfama is also very famous for its fado (a traditional Portuguese music genre) in restaurants.
- Belém – go there for the most delicious custard tarts in town (Pastel de Belém) and to visit Mosteiro dos Jeronimos (one of the oldest monasteries in town, 1495).
- Get a bright yellow cute tram number 28 (Eléctrico 28) nearby Rossio Railway Station. You will pass all the touristic points through its windows. The whole trip is around 37 minutes and you will be able to see Basílica da Estrela, the famous Castle and also Chiado neighborhood (where the poet Fernando Pessoa was born). This trip is actually an excellent summary of the city and costs only € 2,85. But beware of pickpockets. As the tram usually gets quite packed, you wouldn’t even notice how your wallet disappears.
On the other side of the river:
- O Cristo Rei (Christ the King) – a Catholic monument that was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).
- If you go to visit the statue, don’t miss the incredible view over the Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge) – because of the similar coloring and size, it is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (USA).
Personal comments from Paulo:
- Portugal is a very secure country, but during the high season in the touristy zones, beware of pickpockets (just as you would in any other country).
- You can walk everywhere and anytime and nothing will happen :).
- August is the hottest month. Also there are pretty much 269 sunny days, so don’t forget your sunglasses and a sunscreen.
- The beaches are very close to the city. I advice Guincho, just after Cascais and Portinho da Arrabida. The only problem that it could be a bit hard to get there by public transport. Hire a car or share an Uber if you are in a group of friends.
- The public transport in Portugal functions good and arrives on time, but it doesn’t take you everywhere.
- Think about going to Porto! It’s only 4 hours away by bus and it’s a beautiful city, totally different from Lisbon!
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