Things To Do In Lisbon
Lisbon is a multifaceted city, one of the most beautiful South European destinations that sits by a peninsula and has ancient districts and palaces and museums. If this Portuguese capital is what you have next up on your bucket list, then here are a line of things to do when in Lisbon. From history buffs to city fans, foodies to shopaholics, Lisbon caters to all.
Seen the whitewashed red-roofed houses in Lisbon’s postcards? Well, yes, that is Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest housing district that sits by the river Tagus. With its narrow alleyways and slopes lined with cafes and Fado bars, Alfama is a great place to just stroll, shop, stop by cafes for a cup of coffee or go to a Fado bar to listen to the melancholic romantic Fado music. In the area you will also be able to go sightseeing to places like Lisbon Cathedral and Museo do Fado.
Ride Tram 28
Oh well, one of the most iconic of Lisbon is the Tram 28, a city car tram that takes you from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique. You will be taken past Lisbon’s most famous landmarks and be able to understand the geography of the city too. This ride also saves you the tedious uphill walk to the St. George’s Castle. The tram is a fun way to take yourself through Lisbon’s old town but make sure you don’t disturb the locals on the tram who use it to get to work everyday. Avoid midday hours, especially after 11 am, and respect that fact that it may be a joyride for you but is the means to their bread and butter for the residents of Lisbon.
Go to a Beach Town
Yes, beaches are all the rage in Lisbon. Especially in summers. So if you are around during spring or summer then head to the nearby small beach town called Cascais that is best known for its beautiful beaches and shopping and flea markets. It is splendid with pastel coloured houses and a pretty coastline. Visit the Praia da Ribeira beach for sunbathing, paddling, swimming and other water activities. Guincho beach is renowned for surfing and Boca do Inferno or Hell’s Mouth is a great place to enjoy the view. You can easily reach Cascais by catching a train from Lisbon.
Visit the St. George’s Castle
Lisbon is the city of seven hills and on the tallest of these hills sits the Castelo de Sao Jorge or simply known as St. George’s Castle. From the top of this castle you can see all the way to the Tagus River, enjoy the view of the Baixa District buzzing with life. The castle has 11 towers and many battlements and parapets, gardens and a small museum to teach you all about its history going back to the Romans, Moorish rulers and later the Portuguese kings who pushed the Moorish out.
Wander around Belém
Belem is one of Lisbon’s historical neighbourhoods that isn’t particularly located in the heart of the city or on a strategic point, but is quite easy to reach with the help of Tram 15. Here you will find many places to visit while you walk around; from the Jerónimos Monastery to the tall majestic Belém Tower. While the former is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the burial place of Vasco da Gama, the latter was built to protect and guide the sailors and seafarers during the Age of Discovery in Portugal.
Go for Nightlife in Bairro Alto
Lisbon’s nightlife is centred around the Bairro Alto neighbourhood where days are slept in and nights come alive. It is true, not at all exaggerated. In fact, if you visit this area in daytime you will find many shops and businesses closed. Visit the area after sundown and you will be in party heaven, with most bars playing hip music and people spilling out of every corner in their best party attire. Here the cocktails and shots are pretty cheap to, costing not more than 3 or 4 euros, you must taste Morangoska - a cocktail made from vodka and strawberries!
Visit the National Azulejo Museum
The National Azulejo Museum is the centre of Lisbon’s cultural and architectural evolution, as it shows the city’s progress from the invasion of Moors in the 8th Century and their subsequent culture to the 16th Century flourish of Portuguese tile-making with the oxide coatings that were discovered. The museum’s most beautiful display is its wall of tiles and wall panels that take your breath away. The small convent church inside the museum is also worth checking out for its azulejo art.
Listen to Fado
Fado music is Portugal’s own brand of music that is a mix of romantic and melancholic. It has a slow languid rhythm and due to its traditional and ancient nature it has recently been added to UNESCO World’s Intangible Heritage list. If you have been wondering how to spend your nights in Lisbon without partying away, then this is the answer. Head to one of the Fado bars where you can club your visit with dinner and drinks too. Alfama has many Fado bars, as does Bairro Alto. A few Fado shows are also held at various theatres across town.