Lisbon: City break in the best city in the world is written by The editorial staff, RejsRejsRejs.
The popular boy in the class
Portugal's beautiful capital and largest city Lisbon experiencing an increase in popularity in these years that only a few other major cities in the world can show. And as an emphasis on its growing popularity, in 2019 the city was named “the world's best city break destination” by the World Travel Awards. It is often called tourism's response to an Oscar.
But what is it that makes a trip to the city of Lisbon so special beyond the - by Western European standards - low prices and the pleasant climate and the good food? In the following, you can read about four aspects that, among many others, have helped to make Lisbon the special city it is today.
Lisbon, which is the capital of Portugal, is known for its many old and beautiful trams. Among them are the little yellow remodelado models. They date back to the 1930s and are still decorated with the original polished wooden benches. They are the most famous and have over time become a kind of landmark for the whole of Lisbon.
If you think it looks a bit steep when driving around Lisbon's narrow, hilly and often very winding streets, it may be reassuring to know that these trams are called remodelado - which in Danish means 'renovated' - because they had their brakes and electrical system upgraded in the 1990s.
The most classic and popular tram line in the city is number 28. This route connects the square Martim Moniz with Campo Ourique and passes through the popular tourist areas of Graça, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela.
Today, however, trams in Portugal's capital are used mostly by tourists, as local people increasingly use the metro and bus. They do this, among other things, because the trams are usually full of tourists. But also because the trams are more expensive than other of the city's means of transportation; 2,90 euros for a single ticket against 1,45 euros for a metro ticket. However, a trip with one of the old trams is worth the whole price.
Tip: Buy a day pass at a metro station, which applies to buses, metro and trams in Lisbon. That way, you avoid hassle with payment when you step into the often crowded trams. And you also save money unless you go around everything else in town.
Extra tip: If you want the best opportunity to get a seat on the most famous tram routes in the popular times, get on at the beginning of the tram route.
The Seven High in Lisbon
Lisbon is known as 'The City of the Seven High' or 'Cidade das sete colinas'. The nickname first appeared in the book Livro das Grandezas de Lisboa from 1620 written by the monk Nicolau de Oliveira. He wanted to equip Lisbon with some of the same qualities and virtues as the 'Eternal City' of Rome, which according to legend is also claimed to have been built on seven hills.
When Oliveiras arrived in the city of Lisbon by boat, he immediately named the seven hills on which Lisbon, in his view, was built. In addition to São Jorge, where the castle of the same name reigns supreme, the hills are São Vicente, Sant'Ana, Santo André, São Roque, Chagas and Santa Catarina.
On São Vicente you will find the famous Alfama district with its narrow streets - and the many tourists. Sant'Ana is located between Martim Moniz and Rua Portas de Santo Antão. Santo André is topped by Largo da Graça and Miradouro da Graça
Chagas is located next to the historic square Largo do Carmo. Santa Catarina is made up of the lively Bairro Alto district close to Largo Camões. São Roque is also located in the Bairro Alto district, but in the part that is close to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara park with the beautiful view.
Tip: A good place to start your trip around the highlands of Lisbon could be São Jorge, where the castle is located. Here you will find the most complete view of Lisbon's old center, the Tagus River and '25. april 'bridge. The castle itself looks more impressive from the outside than from the inside, but the view from the castle is worth the whole trip.
The voyages of discovery
The history of Portugal and Lisbon is inextricably linked to the great voyages of discovery. Portugal's heyday as a seafaring nation brought Portuguese explorers, traders, and colonizers to Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
In the Belém district you will find plenty of evidence of the time when Portugal as one of the world's largest seafaring nations discovered, mapped and colonized other continents in the 15th and 16th centuries. Among the great explorers of the time were Bartolomeu Dias, who reached the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean in 1488; Vasco da Gama, who led the first fleet around Africa and later to India in 1498; and Pedro Álvares Cabral, who in the year 1500 became the first European to 'discover' Brazil.
One of the most significant monuments commemorating this period in the history of Portugal and Lisbon is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos. It is located in the same place on the banks of the Tagus River, from where the ships were once sent to India and the Orient.
Tip: In addition to Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Belém district also has a beautiful park, which is nice and cool on a hot summer day. The temperature here is often 4-5 degrees below the temperature in the center of Lisbon when it is warmest.
In the district is also the famous monastery Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also in this district that you can taste the famous cake Pastéis de Belém in Rua de Belém Nos. 84 to 92.
The squares of Lisbon
Much of Lisbon's life is centered around the city's many squares and squares. The city of Lisbon has as many as 108 squares and squares; of which several large and well-known places such as Praça de Luís de Camões, Praça do Príncipe Real, Praça dos Restauradores and Praça do Comércio.
The most central square in the city is Praça de Dom Pedro IV - popularly called Praça do Rossio - which is a tribute to the Portuguese king Pedro IV, who balances on top of the square's high pillar. Throughout history, the square has been the scene of popular uprisings, bullfights and executions. Today, it is used for more peaceful events, in particular as a favorite meeting place for locals and tourists in Lisbon.
Another very popular place - especially among tourists - is Praça do Comércio right on the water. Here you have a view of the river, the cities on the other side of the river, the central part of the Baixa district and the castle São Jorge, which rises above the city - and which is especially beautiful in the evening with the lights on.
Tip: When it's really hot in this beautiful city in summer, Praça do Comércio is one of the cooler places in the city center. It lies down to the river, from where the wind from the Atlantic Ocean penetrates.
A refreshment here in the shade of an umbrella at one of the many cafes and restaurants is not to be despised. Be aware that the prices are higher than most other places in the city, and that the square is usually full of tourists - at least in the summer.
What to see in Lisbon? Sights and attractions
- Castle of São Jorge
- The 7 high
- Monastery of Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
- Monument to the São Tomé Discovery
- The square Praça do Comércio
- Praça de Dom Pedro IV
Good trip to Lisbon and Portugal.
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