Let us take a walk on memory lane to get to the bottom of this subject: the first reference appeared on the 17th Century, on the book of São Nicolau de Oliveira. “O Livro das Grandezas de Lisboa” (The Book of Lisbon Grandeurs): it surely resumes the content, where the saint describes his city with details.
The seven giants — São Jorge, São Vicente, São Roque, Santo André, Santa Catarina, Chagas e Sant’Ana — all of them were visible when arriving in Lisbon by the river.
But São Nicolau de Oliveira forgot one hill: Graça, the highest of the city, only shadowed by São Jorge’s Castle. The truth is that this oblivion was very convenient at the time: in fact, it’s always better to share similarities with the legend of Rome than having one too many hills…
the capital of Portugal is one of the smallest capital in Europe but then full of atmosphere. The elevated positions of the seven hills are located on the north bank of the river Tagus.
Castelo de Sao Jorge is dominating the skyline above the oldest quarters of Lisbon, Alfama. The gardens make a pleasant escape, and there are lovely views from the terraces over the city and the river.
Arco de San Jorge leads you into the medieval quarter of Santa Cruz and a separate gateway into the castle. The castle terrace is a good spot to watch the sunset. Another attraction here is Camara Oscura, located in one of the inner towers. Camara Oscura provides live 360 grades images of the city.
The Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge
is one of Lisbon’s most notable landmarks and the date name remembers the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974. The suspension bridge closely seems like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francesco and the matter of fact is that the American consortium that constructed the Golden Gate Bridge also constructed Ponte 25 de Abril. Road level is 70m above the River Tejo (Tagus) and the total length of the Ponte 25 de Abril is 2.3km.
Lisbon has an excellent network of buses, trams, metro trains and elevators (funiculars). A good idea is to take number 28 Lisbon tram that connects Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique and passes through the popular tourist districts of Graca, Alfama, Baixa, and Estrela. A good and useful website Lisbon Guru travel guide trams, funiculars and lift where they go and which one to ride.
Belém a place to visit
situated on the Tagus River, known for its seafood restaurants and houses decorated with colorful tiles. Belem is 5km to the west of the Baixa district and downtown Lisbon. Number 15E tram takes around 15 – 18 minutes, departs from Praça do Comércio, cost around €3.00.
Here in Belem are the historic landmarks that recall Portugal’s seafaring past, like the 16th-century seafront Tower of Belém, built between 1515 and 1520 to guard the entrance to Lisbon harbour The sail-shaped Discoveries Monument that was built in 1960 to mark the 500th anniversary of Prince Henry the Navigators death.
There are several other museums in Belem to visit Museu da Marinha (Portugal’s maritime history museum). Mosteiro dos Jeronimos a must visit when you are in Belem. Coach museum – Museu Nacional dos Coches featuring coaches and carriages from the 17th Century.
Pasteis de Belem to taste
A popular break is to enjoy Pasteis de Belem especially the popular and famous custard tarts.
This excellent website lisbonlisboaportuga includes most Belem information worth to know.
Alfama the oldest quarter and Fado Music
Alfama reaches across a hill between Castelo de San Jorge and the river Tagus. A working-class quarter, a community mainly populated of fishermen. Narrow cobbled lanes, staircases and secret patios and gardens. The natural mixture between Alfama quarter and Fado, the traditional music, must be experienced during your Lisbon stay. In our opinion, there are two ways to find out.
First visit” Casa do Fado this Museum opened not long ago and it describes the history and traditions of Fado.
The second way is to visit clubs-restaurants in Alfama. There are several clubs located in the back streets where it is performed each night.
Club de Fado, professional musicians, entrance fee.
Pateo de Alfama Dinner time good fado and folksong show.
Cafe Luso one of the oldest Fado Houses. Restaurant. Minimum spend. Show until 02.00
Tasca do Chico is not a restaurant. small place. It’s ideal for those who don’t want to commit to the often expensive dinner-and-show experience. Small bites or tapas, including chouriço assado. Wise to book ahead. Fado entertainment usually starts at 21.00. The same owner to Tasca do Chico in Alfama.
Rua do Diário de Notícias 39 (Bairro Alto), 7pm-2am, no minimum spend or fee, reservations: +351 961 339 696
Rua dos Remédios 83 (Alfama), Thursday to Sunday 7pm-2am, no minimum spend or fee, reservations: +351 961 339 697