The stunning 25 April Bridge, the Bairro Alto Quarter, and the Belém Tower are just a handful of Lisbon's fantastic attractions. Find out what else is on offer...
Lisbon is a relatively unexploited city and it's a bit of a well-kept secret. There is a great selection of boutique hotels, unusual and quirky shops in Chiado, a wide range of restaurants and some great sightseeing opportunities. Nightlife is lively and cosmopolitan in feel. The hills create a light breeze to keep you cool in the summer months, making sightseeing much more relaxing. The climate is as refreshing as the atmosphere.
It's useful to know that the locals commonly refer to specific historical neighbourhoods, or bairros, such as Bairro Alto, Baixa, Alfama, Chiado and Belém. Each has its own attractions. It's worth having a quick read of your Lisbon guide book in advance so you can focus on the sights you would most like to see and become acquainted with the city layout.
The city is easy to navigate by metro but you can also use the yellow trams, particularly the renowned Electrico 28 (Tram 28), which will take you all over the city and provides a cheaper alternative to city tours. The trams are a much-loved and historic feature of the city. They have been running since 1873 and even have a dedicated museum, called the Carris.
When you have tired of shopping or sitting in a café on the wide avenues in the Baxia (city centre), take a ride on Santa Justa's Elevator, which connects the lower streets of the Baxia with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square). You can walk to the beautiful St Jorge's Castle (Castelo de São Jorge), which is situated on the highest of Lisbon's hills, via a picturesque route though the old bairro of Alfama, with its maze of street and alleys carved right into the hillside. Don't miss out on a view of the Ponte 25 de Abril (25 April Bridge), which is the sister bridge of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Another high point, literally, is the famous statue of Christ the King, which is a version of the huge statue of Jesus overlooking Rio de Janeiro. If monuments are of interest, then be sure to visit the Belém area of Lisbon, which is filled with them. Don't miss the Discovery Monument, which is stunning. Look out for the Hieronymites Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimo), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Belém Tower (Torre de Belém). Put Se Cathedral and the Carmo convent and museum on your list of excursions if you enjoy religious sites. Sao Roque church is also well worth a visit. If you're still hungry for more then put Quelez Palace, the Aqueduct or the popular Oceanarium on your itinerary too. Don't forget that the historic city of Fatima is only 123 km from Lisbon. Why not make a day trip if you have a little longer?