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Portugal was my dream of younger-adult years. All I wanted was an affordable European getaway. It didn’t happen until almost a decade later, when I finally set foot in this wonderfully charming country. It was a love at first sight.
Looking for a Venetian holiday? Here is our Venice Travel Guide.
Lisbon is a charming old city which surely takes every traveller’s breath away. Once you’ve arrived in Lisbon, take a half-day break to rest and relax from the tiring long-haul flight. There are numerous attractions in Lisbon worth visiting, so spend the other half day exploring these enchanting gems:
- Castelo de S. Jorge
- Praça do Comércio
- Bairro Alto
- Santa Justa Lift
- Lisbon Cathedral
Find out more about Lisbon attractions here.
Located in western Lisbon, Belém is famous as a museum district, and as the home of many of the most notable monuments of Lisbon and Portugal alike, such as the Belém Tower (Torre de Belém), the Jerónimos Monastery, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, and Belém Palace (Palácio Nacional de Belém, official residence of the President of Portugal).
CABO DA ROCA
“Onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa”
Located in the municipality of Sintra, near Azóia, in the southwest of the district of Lisbon, there is Cabo da Roca or Cape Roca. It forms the westernmost point of the continental Europe, and of the Eurasian land mass. The captivating view from the cape often means it’s a definite must-go in travellers’ lists. Beware of the windy days and embrace the experience. Don’t forget to get the certificate of attendance manuscript handwriting as souvenir. It’s available at Cabo da Roca Tourism Office and is priced at 11.00€.
Sintra is a resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra Mountains, near the capital of Lisbon. Visitors taking public transports to Cabo da Roca often make it a day trip to Sintra as it’s one of the towns with connecting bus services to Cabo da Roca. Pastel-coloured villas and palaces studded around the terrain of this history-rich town. The hilltop 19th-century Pena Palace is known for its whimsical design and magnificent views.
How to make it a day trip?
In the morning, take Linha de Sintra from Rossio train station. It is a direct train service, and should arrive in Sintra after 40-minute ride. From Sintra train station, take Bus 434 operated by Scotturb to Pena Palace. Bus 434 a one-directional loop bus service. After visiting Pena Palace, board the same bus line and go back to Sintra train station where from there you can catch Bus 403 to Cabo da Roca. You can end the day trip by taking Bus 403 to Cascais, a coastal resort where you can spend a quality evening in. Before the day ends, catch a train ride back to Cais do Sodré in Lisbon.
ALMADA & CACILHAS
This is a wonderful idea if you want to explore the lesser-known places while you’re in Lisbon. Almada and Cacilhas are two towns on the opposite bank of the Tagus River from Lisbon. Take a short (approx. 10 minutes) ferry ride from Cais do Sodre and you will firstly arrive at Cacilhas. Almada is more connected to Lisbon via Ponte 25 de Abril, but is also easily accessible on foot from ferry port in Cacilhas. Take some time to explore Cacilhas for its famous grilled fresh fish and the little church of Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso.
From the centre of Almada, Cristo Rei (Jesus The King monument) is only a short trip away. Not only the monument itself is a sight to behold, but the area also offers a good viewpoint of Ponte 25 de Abril and the area of Alfama from opposite bank. It’s highly recommended!
TIME OUT MARKET
Once you’re back from Cacilhas by ferry, do not forget to end the day at Time Out Market Lisboa. It is a food hall located in Mercado da Riberia at Cais do Sodre, very conveniently located just opposite the terminal fluvial & train station. The excitement is ineffable to see a wide variety of delicately crafted cuisine being prepared freshly here. Sample a few dishes and you won’t regret!
Alfama is the oldest neighbourhood in Lisbon. The intertwined narrow streets and small squares form a picturesque labyrinth with the colorful buildings beside the streets. Alfama is like a maze, but people who are lost in this maze do not worry about finding their way, let alone finding a way out. If you’re here at daytime, be sure to return after dusk, look for a restaurant where you can enjoy fado alongside dinner.
Fado: a melancholic musical style of storytelling that was born in Lisbon’s streets, particularly those of Alfama.
CLASSIC TRAM JOURNEY
Taking a ride on vintage / retro trams in Lisbon is considered to be one of the most representative activities to do in Lisbon, especially the famous Tram 28. Tram 28 is an important tourist attraction running through the city centre, connecting most iconic tourists spots in Lisbon. In fact, it is the only real public transport passing through the Alfama district. To us as travellers, riding in a quaint yellow tram as it rattles and screeches through the narrow streets of the city is an unforgettable experience. However, the crowd waiting to board the tram can be overwhelming. If you do not wish to stand in a moving tram, we recommend going to one end of the tram route (Martin Moniz or Prazeres) and wait in line to get onto the tram. At dawn and after dark, there should be fewer people too.
Other famous trams/lifts include Elevador da Gloria, Elevador da Bika etc. Fares are included in a day ticket, if you have one.
GETTING AUTHENTIC LISBON’S SOUVENIR
When you’re in Lisbon, do not forget to bring home souvenirs from Conserveira de Lisboa. Here you can find various types of canned seafood, which is significantly unique to Lisbon. The shop itself is a vintage gem – as you enter the shop, there’s a whole rack of canned seafood products (for full list of products, see here) and we’re spoilt for choice, aren’t we?
Conserveira de Lisboa
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, 34, 1100-071 Lisboa
Tel: +351 218 864 009 | Fax: +351 218 871 058
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9AM to 7PM
Public Transportation (within Lisbon)
1. Trams, Funiculars & Elevators/Lifts
Public transport in Lisbon is mainly operated by Carris. Tickets can be purchased onboard (at a slightly higher fare) or from automated vending machines. If you’ll be in Lisbon for a few days, it’s definitely recommended to get Viva Viagem Card (€0.50) to enjoy special fares.
In short, if you’re taking 2-3 single journey public transport for the day, the best solution is to get a Viva Viagem Card at €0.50 and zap in-out every time you’re onboard. However, if you’re using public transportation widely and prefer freedom of unlimited rides, then day ticket may be a good choice.
Here’s a tip on day ticket:
- On the day you’re going to Cacilhas, purchase the CARRIS/ METRO/ TRANSTEJO ticket (€9,60).
- Buses operated by Scotturb are not included in day ticket.
Refer to the maps to get clearer idea of how public transportation network runs in Lisbon.
Will you be visiting fee-paying attractions? Consider getting a Lisboa Card. Not only you get free entry to many attractions in Lisbon, but also free unlimited travel on bus, metro, tram and elevators. Prices can go as low as €20,00 per day.
- Discover the best sights and attractions with the amazing Lisbon Card!
- Choose between a one, two, or three-day card that will let you access the public transportation networks of Lisbon
- Enjoy free admissions to iconic destinations such as Jerónimos Monastery, Museums, Palaces and more!
- Hop aboard the CP trains and have an exciting day trip to the beautiful Sintra and Cascais
What to do in Lisbon
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Address: Praça Dom Pedro IV 59, 1100-200 Lisboa, Portugal
Phone: +351 21 340 0380
Address: Regras, 4, Santa Maria Maior, 1100-294 Lisbon, Portugal
Phone: +351 21 884 21 20
But Portugal has a peaceful feel about it. I sit on the terrace overlooking the vineyard there and I feel cut off from the world. You need that sort of thing.– Cliff Richard
At times, we just need a vacation that will refuel us with necessary vibes and spirit. Portugal is the place for me, it’s magically bewitching.
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