Did you know that Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe? The Roman and Moor history gave Lisbon not only its unique architecture but also its soul thanks to the magical mix of Western and Eastern lifestyle for centuries.
Lisbon is my second favorite city in Europe after Istanbul. The geographical position of Lisbon, built on hills and shaped by the Rio Tejo (Tagus River), the door opener to the Atlantic Ocean, plays a huge role in the history and development of this beautiful city full of surprises.
Let me take you to 4 neighborhoods in Lisbon
Climb up to the Moorish Castle São Jorge which dominates the city since 11th century from its perfect location on a hilltop. The views from here over Lisbon and Tagus River are absolutely breathtaking. The blue colour of the sky and the river, the red colour of 25 de Abril Bridge and the roofs of Alfama meet directly in front of your eyes.
Follow the narrow cobblestoned streets down to Alfama to witness the life in the oldest district of Lisbon, once home to upper-class in Moorish times, now home to fishermen and working class.
Get lost in the labyrinths of Alfama and enjoy the view from Mirador Santa Luzia.
Don’t waste your time waiting in long queues to get in the legendary Tram 28. Instead, take alternative routes to get to the historical sights. Besides, watching these cute nostalgic yellow trams passing by is way better than sitting in it with dozens of other tourists packed like sardines in a box.
It doesn’t take long to realise that the bohemian soul of Lisbon lives in this neighbourhood.
Have a sit at the stairs in one of the colourful narrow streets of Bairro Alto, have your drink in one of the bars while getting hypnotised by the flames of the Portuguese sausage.
Take the Gloria Elevator from Avenidad de Liberdade to Mirador de São Pedro de Alcantara for a view of the Castle São Jorge from the other side.
Take the Bica Elevator for a great scenic river view down to Cais do Sodré.
Take the ferry from Cais do Sodré to cross the River Tagus and go to Cacilhas. Walk along the river, pass by the ruins of abandoned warehouses.
Have a break at the waterfront restaurant Ponto Final to have Portuguese specialties accompanied by traditional green wine while enjoying the sun shining over Lisbon and Tegus River .
Take the elevator to reach the platform which leads to Cristo Rei statue, a smaller version of the Christ statue in Rio de Janerio, for a breathtaking view of the whole city.
Visit Jeronimos Monastery which will take you back to 15th century, to the glorious era of discoveries.
Directly at the mouth of Rio Tejo you can enjoy another highlight symbolizing the Age of Discoveries. Belem Tower built as part of the defense system which is also a gate opening to Atlantic Ocean.
While you’re traveling in the 15th century, don’t forget to meet Henry the Navigator and 32 other Portuguese discoverers in Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries).
Let the 25 de Abril Bridge take you back to the modern times and start your own discovery adventure and imagine standing in front of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Now it’s time to discover new tastes. Go to the historical bakery Pastéis de Belem to have a Nata with cinnamon and sugar.
For more insights get Lonely Planet Travel Guide to Portugal.
Don’t forget to check my Pack List for useful travel items.
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