There is a lot to see in Lisbon. Not only Lisbon’s sights make the city something special, but above all the charm of the city will inspire you. The capital of Portugal attracts visitors with its mild climate, colorful festivals and numerous historical landmarks. The largest city in Portugal is located on seven hills. So you should be prepared for steep streets and stairs. The up and down is a little tiring, but you can always enjoy another great view of the city!
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Lisbon:
The Baixa district – Praça do Comércio & Arco da Rua Augusta
In the heart of Lisbon is the Baixa district , the actual city center. Destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, it was then rebuilt using strictly geometric streets and squares.
Many visitors stay here because Baixa not only has numerous sights, but also good transport links to all other parts of the city.
Through the triumphal arch Arco da Rua Augusta you enter Praça do Comércio , the most magnificent square in Baixa. In the center is the equestrian statue of the Portuguese King José I.
Numerous small cafes can be found on Praça Dom Pedro IV, also called Rossio. The square particularly catches the eye with its unusual mosaic pattern.
The ruins of the Igreja do Carmo commemorate the destruction caused by the Lisbon earthquake. In the preserved part of the church there is an archaeological museum.
By the way, you can go up the triumphal arch. Above, a viewing platform offers a beautiful panorama of the city.
Santa Justa Elevator
The Elevador de Santa Justa passenger elevator has connected the districts of Baixa and Chiado for over 100 years . It was originally operated with steam engines, later with an electric motor, and overcomes the 8-meter height difference between the two locations.
The elevator tower catches the eye with its neo-Gothic architectural style and the elevator cabins with wooden decorations and brass fittings radiate nostalgia.
After you have reached the upper level, you can continue on a spiral staircase and admire the drive of the elevator. Further up there is a café with a wonderful view.
One of our Lisbon highlights in terms of architecture is the Cathedral Sé de Lisboa in Alfama . It is the main church and at the same time the oldest church in the city. The church was originally built in the Romanesque style, but also features Gothic and Baroque elements.
The cathedral was restored in the 20th century as it had been damaged by the earthquake 300 years earlier. How far back the history of Sé de Lisboa goes can be seen in the eastern cloister. Remains of buildings from antiquity are exhibited there.
The 28E tram
The little yellow tram number 28 is something of an institution in Lisbon. Commissioned in the 1930s, it exudes nostalgic charm.
The tram goes from Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique. One after the other it goes through the Estrela district with its baroque basilica, past the Portuguese parliament and over the busy main square of the city.
Torre de Belém
One of the most important sights in Lisbon is Torre de Belém. The tower is located in the district of the same name at the mouth of the Tagus River and was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Built in 1515, the tower originally served as a lighthouse. In addition, enemy ships could be targeted from there in times of war.
Miraculously, Torre de Belém survived the 1755 earthquake while its twin tower on the other side of the river was destroyed.
The gardens in front of the tower invite you to stroll, and from the 35-meter-high viewing platform you can look far out over the sea.
You will also find the first depiction of a rhino inside the tower, made by a European artist.
Jeronimos Monastery – Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
In the Belém district there is probably the most impressive evidence of late Gothic in Portugal. The Hieronymite Monastery was built in the early 16th century with income from the flourishing maritime trade. It survived the 1755 earthquake largely unscathed.
The 300 meter long monastery, in which numerous Portuguese kings are buried, impresses with its richly decorated facade and the ornate mosaics. The ornate cloister inside is definitely worth seeing.
Embellishments and motifs from seafaring recall Portugal’s heyday as a trading power. It is not surprising that you can also visit the tomb of the Portuguese seafarer Vasco da Gama in the Jeronimos monastery. In 1498 he discovered the sea route around the Cape of Good Hope to India.
BONUS – Pasteis de Belém
Pasteis de Belém is an institution in Belém. Here you can find the best pastel de Belém from Lisbon, maybe even Portugal. Pasteis are a Portuguese specialty. They are small puff pastry tartlets filled with cream pudding and they are simply delicious!