My wife and I have never been to Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, but it’s supposed to be a charming and culturally-rich destination with a blend of modernity and old-world charm. I understand it’s 400 hundred years older than Rome so only Athens would be older in Europe. Here are some of the must see sites and attractions we’d like to visit while in town. We probably won’t make all of these since we only have 3 days to wander before getting on a ship for an epic cruise to Rio (more on that later).
- Belém Tower (Torre de Belém): A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this iconic fortress is a symbol of Lisbon’s Age of Discovery.
- Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos): Another UNESCO site, this beautiful monastery is known for its stunning Manueline architecture.
- LX Factory: A trendy, artistic area packed with shops, restaurants, and galleries.
- Alfama District: Lisbon’s oldest district, full of narrow streets and traditional Fado music bars. A great place to explore on foot.
- Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio): One of Europe’s largest squares, filled with beautiful architecture and offering great views of the Tagus River.
- Bairro Alto: A lively neighborhood known for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and bars.
- Tram 28: Not just a means of transportation but a sightseeing experience in itself, this historic tram takes you through many of Lisbon’s most famous neighborhoods.
- Castelo de São Jorge: An imposing castle offering fantastic panoramic views over the city.
- MAAT – Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology: A contemporary museum with intriguing exhibitions and striking architecture.
- Calouste Gulbenkian Museum: Known for its extensive collection of ancient and modern art.
- Sintra: While not in Lisbon itself, the nearby town of Sintra is often considered a must-visit on any Lisbon itinerary. The town is home to the stunning Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle.
- Lisbon Oceanarium: One of the largest indoor aquariums in Europe, great for families or anyone interested in marine life.
- The Azulejo Museum: A museum dedicated to the traditional art of Portuguese tiled ceramics.
- Carmo Convent: The gothic ruins of a church that was partially destroyed in the 1755 earthquake, now home to an archaeological museum.
- Time Out Market: A bustling food hall offering a variety of local and international cuisines.
- Cristo Rei: Inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer, this statue offers a fantastic view of Lisbon and the Tagus River.
- Miradouros (Viewpoints): There are many viewpoints throughout Lisbon providing stunning views of the city. Some popular ones include Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro de Santa Catarina.
- Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa): A beautiful and historic cathedral worth visiting.
I guess Lisbon is a city best explored at a leisurely pace, so we’ll take our time to wander through its streets, enjoy the local cuisine, and soak up the atmosphere.