7 hills 7 amazing views
Lisboa is made up of 7 hills and scattered at the top of each await many amazing views. While the hills can be quite punishing on foot there are many funiculars and trams that connect them.
The Miradouro de Santa Catarina (right next door), or Known locally as Adamastor, is a must for its views of the river and diversity of patrons.(can look quite sketchy but actually is very safe and favortie among locals of all backgrounds). The statue “Adamastor” in the centre of the square refers to the sea giant that Luis de Camões imagined when writing “The Lusiads“. Also in the neighbourhood is the newly restored “Sao Pedro de Alcantara,” with spectacular views and small garden. Another favourite is the Miradouro da Graça (with caf é) nestled above the Castelo and Alfama districts. Probably the most thigh-punishing but considered one of the best places to see the entire city is the Miradouro da senhora do Monte.
The 28 Tram will get you close to all three, also it is quite a fun ride and an interesting way to check out the city.
Casa do Fado
Before hitting one of the many Fado clubs in Bairro Alto or Alfama a trip to the Casa do Fado e da Guitarra Portuguesa is a good place for a quick study of Fado’s history. It’s well put together audiovisual displays allow the visitor to get lost in the sights and sounds of these bluesy melancholic chants of Portugal.
The tour ends in a virtual performance that with the right kind of eyes and ears can be quite moving. Be sure to check out the ever-changing exhibitions. While the Alfama district is the home and birthplace of Fado, many of the venues are quite touristy and can be expensive.
For an alternative try Bairro Alto for some good Fado venues. Every Monday and Wednessday there is a free fado show at “Tasca do Chico“, which is about a five minute walk from the hostel. Ask in reception for more information.
Thieves Market Feira da Ladra
Beside the Igreja de São Vincente de Fora materializes one of the best flea markets in Lisboa. Browse through old wristwatches, religious paraphernalia, cheap clothes, second hand vinyl, and unimaginable arrays of intriguing junk at this entertaining and funky extravaganza. There are also some pretty solid antique shops and stalls. Every Tuesday morning and all day Saturday
Visit the Clown School (Chapitô)
This funky all purpose rendezvous point occupies the sleepy sloping premises of what was built in the 17th century as a women’s prison and that functions today a state funded school for circus entertainers. It lies in the Castelo district and its patio has spectacular views of Lisboa and the river.
No trip to Lisboa can be called a success without a pilgrimage to Belém. Belém is where the Age of Discovery began. Ships commanded by the likes of Vasco da Gama and Henry the Navigator set their sails here returning with tales of adventure, bloodshed and riches. Discovering a sea route to India Gama helped aide in Portugal’s rise to one of the world’s greatest empires.
Night out in Bairro Alto
After stuffing yourself in one of this district’s many districts many restaurants ranging from traditional to experimental or browsing in original and independent boutique shops you should stick around and let loose a little.
Whether you want to drown your sorrows at the bottom of a bottle while listening to Fado, catch some Dj’s bump electronically inspired beats, rock in an indie dive bar, cram into what looks like someone’s living room for live African Brazilian music, read Saramago to the backdrop of Jazz, pose as a mojito and caipirinha inspector or just sample a little of everything while drinking on the streets with thousands of other revellers then a night out in Bairro Alto is highly recommended.
Thursday to Saturday are people out at night in this area. Cheap beer and no covers guarantee that Lisboa is one of the hottest nightspots of all Europe.
Museum Gulbenkian (& Park)
This Museum is a great collection of art spanning almost every major period in Western history.
They also have some impressive Eastern Art. Of note to all you Art Nouveau heads is the fantastical collection from designer Rene Lalique. Across the way is the Centro de Arte Moderna, which has Portugal’s best collection of 20th Century Portuguese art. Connecting the two museums is a very nice park that can serve as a refuge from the hustle and bustle that accompanies all major cities.
Wednesday to Sunday 10am – 6pm, Tuesday 2pm – 6pm. Closed Monday. Free on Sunday.
Cross the river (Ginjal)
Try and get one of the tables sitting out over the water. After your belly is full pay 50 cents and take the elevator up to “Almada Velha.” Tip: Have a late lunch and try to catch the sunset…you won’t forget it.
Head on down to “Cais do Sodré” and catch a ferry to “Cacilhas” When you arrive head to Cais do Ginjal on foot. As you walk along the river and by the abandoned buildings you will be able to make out the ever changing contours of Lisboa, and see what has to be one of the best views of the city. If you’re hungry eat at one of the rustic, river side restaurants.
Take the long way
Ever leave a city and wonder what you didn’t see? “Never again” says Bruno from “We Hate Tourism Tours”. Bruno and his friends take travellers on trips they will never forget. Local drivers, lots of personality and lots of fun.