Lisbon, Portugal was the second city on our Round the World itinerary. Honestly, I had curiosity to know the city but did not have many expectations. To my surprise, what we found was a modern, active in a relaxed kind of way city that we loved!
There are many things to do and see. This is how to spend Four Amazing Days in Lisbon!
Take a walk in Avenida da Liberdade. This is the area where all the fancy brand stores are located. It is a beautiful avenue with a central walkable area full of big trees that provide a nice shade from the sun. Stores are open every day except Sunday but there was a nice street market on the Sunday we visited. There are cafes and restaurants along the way, so that you can take a break in between your shopping.
Continue your walk and visit the Santa Justa Elevator. It is a glass and metal structure built in 1902 which is still operating and provides nice views of the city. You can also take Tram 28 which will take you to other beautiful neighborhoods of Lisbon.
If you continue walking you will pass by Restauradores Square (Praça dos Restauradores) and Rossio Square where the Train Station is located. Continue walking on Rua Augusta, which is another street full of little stores and restaurants and you will get to Praça do Comércio, a beautiful spacious waterfront square with a Triumphal Arch.
There are other places that you can visit such as St. George’s Castle, the Lisbon Cathedral or the Design and Fashion Museum Lisbon. We ended up our day at the Amoreiras Shopping Center and ate sushi at a restaurant called Sushi Cafe.
Go to Rossio Train Station and take the train to Sintra. Sintra is a picturesque Portuguese town that you can’t miss. It is set on the hills of Serra de Sintra and is full of historic buildings, palaces and gardens. It is the most popular day trip from Lisbon but it has so many places to visit that you can easily stay one night there if you have the time.
The main attraction in Sintra is the Pena Palace, a 19th century palace commissioned by King Ferdinand II. It is located on top of a hill and is painted in bright colors which made it a true sight to behold. Once you get to Sintra take bus 434, which will take you to the entrance of the Pena Palace (5 euros p/p round trip). Do not attempt to go walking (unless you are in REALLY GOOD SHAPE!) because it is a tough uphill walk and you will have a lot of more steps to climb once you get to the entrance of the palace.
Very close from the Pena Palace is the Moorish Castle, a 10th century fortification built following the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors. Once you get to the top of the castle, you will be able to see incredible views of the town of Sintra.
In the Historic Town Center of Sintra you can also visit the Palacio Nacional and the quaint town with cobblestone streets, little stores, cafes and restaurants. Another place to visit is the Monserrate Palace, which was a traditional summer resort of the Portuguese court. One day is definitively not enough if you want visit everything. We were able to visit the Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and be prepared to climb many many steps, but I can assure you it is totally worth it!
For more information about Sintra click here.
Another great place to visit in Lisbon is the Oceanarium, an aquarium which has a large main tank holding 5 million liters of seawater and four marine habitats that create the illusion of a sole ocean. It was really interesting and very easy to navigate.
Very close to the Oceanarium, in the Park of Nations is the Telecabine, a cable car that takes you to the Vasco da Gama Tower and offers great views of the park, the water and the Vasco da Gama Bridge. In the area there is also the Vasco da Gama Center, a huge shopping center which has an ocean theme all throughout the mall, even in the elevators and bathrooms!
Right in front of the mall is the Lisbon Oriente Station, one of the world’s largest train stations with beautiful architecture in glass and iron.
Take the metro and go to Belém, an area of Lisbon where the Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower are located. The Monastery is a spectacular religious complex that consists of a church and a convent in Portuguese late-Gothic style. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site worth a visit.
Inside the church there is the tomb of Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese navigator who established the sea link between Portugal and India, thus setting a new trade route which, over a century, granted the Portuguese supremacy in the Indian Ocean.
The architecture of the monastery is really beautiful. Don’t forget to take a look at the timeline that was created to celebrate the 500 years of the Monastery which presents a very interesting chronology of the history of the world, the history of the Monastery and the history of Portugal. The Belém Tower is another famous landmark located in this area, but unfortunately it was already closed and we were not able to see it.
Make sure you stop at Pastéis de Belém. They have been selling the traditional Portuguese desert Pastel de Nata since 1837. If you can’t go to Belém, go to Fábrica de Nata in Avenida Liberdade, which is also very good. It is an egg tart pastry which is flaky in the outside and creamy in the inside. Although it looks like it is burnt, it is not and it tastes delicious.
Lisbon has many interesting neighborhoods and one of them is Bairro Alto. It is a trendy area, full of bars and restaurants, great for those who look for nightlife. We went to Momento HB Restaurant and the food was very good. Lisbon is famous for its codfish or “Bacalao”. I had it and it was delicious!
Lisbon is a great city, the perfect combination of modern and traditional and it has a good transportation system which allows for easy exploration. If you have time, in less than two hours you can also visit the city of Fátima or Nazaré, a famous surfing town. I highly recommend a trip to Lisbon and will certainly like to go back for more!
DON’T WAIT, MAKE A PLAN, POSTPONE NOTHING.