I thought to take you to Lisboa, my native town, for a 3 day trip
I bought the plain ticket directly on the Ryanair website two months ago and I spent €120,00 (In low season costs a lot less: I traveled with €40,00 in October, round trip)
Starting from Brescia – the city where I live now – I reach Orio al Serio with the Autostradale bus, in my opinion exceptional service and always on time. Smoothly I arrive at the airport.
The flight from Milan (BGY) to Lisbon, Portugal (LIS) takes less than 3 hours.
I relax reading
And there it is, Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, seven hills reflected in the waters of Tagus River (Tejo) that, after having crossed the whole country, merges forever with the Atlantic Ocean.
The fluvial port of Lisbon played a leading role since ancient times, various peoples from the Mediterranean arrived here attracted by the commercial possibilities offered by the privileged position, Phoenicians were one of these that, in 800 a.C. founded Alis Ubbo or Olissopo from which the current name Lisboa cames from.
Lisboa Airport – Portela – Welcome to Lisbon – waiting for my suitcase and I’m ready
It might seem strange, but the Lisbon taxi service is not expensive at all. I choose it to reach the center from the airport and it will cost me €12.35
Here you can know more about how to move in Lisbon
Primo Giorno – First day
Take the 15E tram in Praça da Figueira – downtown, reachable by subway, Rossio station – I signed the tram stop you see, right down angle, yellow-colored?
Enjoy the 35-minute journey and step out at the Jeronimos Monastery
First of all, a nice breakfast: we absolutely must stop by the Pasteis de Belém
Pasteis de Belém
At the beginning of the nineteenth century there was a refining of sugarcane with an attached shop of various items. As a consequence of the liberal revolution in 1820, in 1834 all the monasteries of Portugal were closed and clergy and expelled workers.
In an attempt to survive, someone from the monastery decided to sell sweet pastries in this shop, quickly nicknamed “Pastéis de Belém“.If you see a big queue don’t be scared, I’ll teach you a truchet: get in, sit down and soon you will be served!
Everyone gets in line ignoring that is only for the counter!
You can order some take away pasteis at the table also, in packs of 6 units
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
The Jeronimos Monastery (Hieronymites) was classified as “Cultural Heritage of All Humanity” by UNESCO in 1983
Principal example of Manueline architecture, this monastery is the most remarkable Portuguese monastic complex of its time and one of the main churches in Europe.
Its construction began, on the initiative of King Manuel I, at the dawn of the sixteenth century and extended for a hundred years:the Infante Dom Henrique, in 1452, had them built there the Hermitage of Santa Maria de Belém, and in that church, great navigators such as Pedro Álvares Cabral, Vasco da Gama and others, watched before leaving for their great journeys to sea.
In 1496, before the discovery of the sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, D. Manuel I asked the Holy See for permission to build a large monastery in place of the old hermitage of the Order of Christ, at the entrance of Lisbon, near the banks of the Tagus.
Donated later to the monks of the Order of Saint Jerome, it is now commonly known as Jerónimos Monastery.
Click here for a virtual visit
In the east wing of the Jerónimos Monastery, previously occupied by the monks’ rooms, is the National Museum of Archeology in Lisbon
At the end of the square of the Museum of Archeology there’s the Planetário Caloust Gulbenkian.
Inside the mysteries of the cosmos are revealed and you can enjoy an imaginary journey through the planets, a visit to the Moon, followed by an expedition to the polar region. In addition, the planetarium presents interesting audiovisual documents on lunar and solar eclipses, the movement of the stars and the solar system, and more.
I love that place! Peek here
Next to the Planetarium there is the Navy museum:
Museo da Marinha the best place to relive the glorious past of Portugal. The halls of the museum retrace the great adventures of sailors and explorers who with their discoveries expanded the horizons of the world.
Museo da Marinha
Next stop: Torre de Belém
The railway line and the Av. da India is an insurmountable barrier for those who want to access from the Jerónimos Monastery to the Torre de Belém or vice versa – shoul use the overpass. For the monument to the discoveries instead we can use the underground passage. See in the picture below:
I chose the overpass and… what do you say, shall we relax for a moment ?
let’s stop at the Confeitaria Nacional Belém, a small bistro on the banks of the Tagus, unpretentious, where you can enjoy the Portuguese spirit. We order at the desk and sit outside, having the view of Torre de Belém
One Pastél de bacalhau (cod meatball) one Rissól de Camarão (shrimp ravioli) and an imperial (so-called small draft beer) Sagres, which is the most beloved national beer.
Torre de Belém
The Torre de Belém (originally Torre de São Vicente) is one of the major tourist attractions of Portugal and the country’s greatest architectural symbol. Together with the Jeronimos Monastery and the Monument of the Discoveries forms the most visited trio in the country.
Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983, it was elected one of the seven wonders of Portugal on 7 July 2007.
The Torre de Belém is located on the right bank of the Tagus River, where the beach of Belém once existed, originally it was surrounded by water, but over the centuries it has been surrounded by the beach, eventually incorporating it into the mainland.
It is an icon of the architecture of the reign of Manuele I of Portugal
The Torre de São Vicente belongs to the defensive formation of the Tagus basin, which was erected by João II of Portugal in 1514, composed at south by the tower of São Sebastião da Caparica (1481) and at west by the Tower of Santo António de Cascais (1488).
Over time the tower lost its defensive function and the ancient deposits of explosives gave way to the dungeons. On the four floors of the tower, remain the Governor’s Hall, the Hall of Kings, the Hall for Audiences and, finally, the chapel with its characteristic sixteenth-century vaults.
The monument reflects Islamic and oriental influences, which characterize the Manueline style. Nationalism is also implied, as it is all surrounded by decorations of the coat of arms of Portugal, including inscriptions of crosses of the Order of Christ in the windows of the bastion.On the last Sunday of the month admission is free
For information regarding opening hours and price you can visit the Tower’s website
On the pavement a poem by Fernando Pessoa:
Wave that, rolled, turns,
Small, to the sea that brought you
And when you step back you get upset
As if the sea were nothing.
Why do you take with you?
Only your cessation,
And, when returning to the ancient sea,
You do not take my heart?
Not far from the Tower of Belém there’s another monument we must visit:
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
We get struck by the marble floor in front of the monument where a 50-meter-diameter wind rose is depicted, designed by architect Luis Cristino da Silva and offered by South Africa in 1960.
In the center ther’s a 14 m wide planisphere, decorated with plant elements, wind roses, buffoons, a mermaid, a fantastic fish and Neptune with a trident and a trumpet mounted on a sea creature. Dates, ships and caravels mark the main routes of Portuguese expansion, between the 15th and 16th centuries
The original monument in perishable materials was erected in 1940 on the occasion of the Portuguese World Exhibition to honor the historical figures involved in the Portuguese Discoveries. The current replica in concrete and stone was inaugurated in 1960.
Prices and timetables here
We take the elevator that leads to the top of the monument and look what a view!
That wonder in front is the Monastery of the Jeronimos, where I will go next.
On the left you can catch a glimpse of the CCB – Centro cultural de Belém, which hosts a permanent exposition of modern art, and guess what. Entrance is free!
Breathtaking the view from here, isn’t true? Behind me the 25 de Abril bridge
It’s all for today.
It was a full day and it’s dinner time. I would have an idea: nearby there’s a restaurant where we can eat marisco (seafood): Cervejaria Portugália.
A curiosity: in Portugal, in a Cervejaria – literally brewerie – besides drinking beer, we eat seafood and other tasty things.
Elétrico 28 (tram 28)
From the Rossio‘s square – with homonymous underground stop – take Rua Augusta.
The Rua Augusta is a pedestrian street, often a meeting place for street artists, artisans and street vendors. It is one of the most important commercial streets where there are several shops of the most famous international brands.
At the end of the street we find the Arco da Rua Augusta, a triumphal arch based on a project by Eugénio dos Santos. Its construction was planned in 1759, at the time of the reconstruction Pombalina, after the terrible earthquake of 1755, which destroyed the center of Lisbon, but the works were completed only in 1873.
Using a lift and two flights of steep stairs it is possible, for some years, to add the belvedere on top of the Arco for 2,5 euros.
La Praça do Comercio, formerly Terreiro do Paço, overlooking the Tagus River, is one of the largest squares in Europe, with around 36,000 m² (180m x 200m).
for about two centuries here was the Royal Palace, in whose library were stored 70 thousand volumes and hundreds of works of art, including paintings by Titian, Rubens and Correggio. Unfortunately, everything was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. Today the surrounding buildings are partially occupied by some government departments and, on the ground floor, restaurants and bars
In the center of the square, you can see the equestrian statue of D. José, erected in 1775 by Joaquim Machado de Castro, the leading Portuguese sculptor of the eighteenth century.
The area served as a parking space until the 1990s, but today this large space is used for cultural events and shows.
In the square ther’s the famous Café Martinho da Arcada, the oldest in Lisboa (235 years old), and one of favorits of Fernando Pessoa.
We can take this occasion to have breakfast
Let’s go back on our steps now: we pass under the arch of Rua Augusta again, retrace the pedestrian street until the Rua da Conceição (the third street we cross), turn left and continue until you find the tram stop 28. No matter in which direction we take it, the idea is to make the full round trip tour because from the windows of this picturesque means of transport we can appreciate much of the historical and natural heritage that Lisbon has to offer.
If you didn’t chose to get the Viva Viajem card or the Lisboa Card that I talked about here then I suggest the daily Carris / Metro ticket which costs € 6. The ticket lasts 24 hours (if, for example, we validate it at 9am today, we can use it until tomorrow 9am).
Trams arrived from the United States in the early twentieth century to replace the old horse-drawn carriages, which at the time were the main means of transport in Portugal. Line 28 was inaugurated in 1913.
Tram 28 leaves from Martim Moniz and ends at Campo de Ourique, in the Cimiterio dos Prazeres. However, since it is very overcrowded, there are trams that make smaller routes, between Graça and Estrela.
By consulting the timetable on the Carris web site, we see that the transit interval is about 10 minutes, this will allow us to get off of the tram to observe more carefully whatever attracts us along the way.
From Rua da Conceição we decide to get on the tram direct to Campo de Ourique (Prazeres) and the road gets immediately steep.
We pass next to the Academy of Fine Arts and arrive at Chiado, one of the most cosmopolitan and historical areas of the city, between Bairro Alto and Baixa.
World’s novelty since 2012: The QR code inserted in the Portuguese calçada (sidewalk) between the Sá da Costa bookstore and the Paris em Lisboa store, immediately after the intersection of Rua Garrett and Serpa Pinto, allows access to tourist information.
Here we can find theaters (National Theater of São Carlos and São Luiz), designer shops, art galleries, restaurants, cafes (the historic Café Brazileira with the famous statue of the poet Fernando Pessoa), bookshops, the Bica lift and the belvedere de Santa Catarina.
Now we go down the Calçada do Combro, which brings us to the Assembly of the Republic (we saw it in the movie “The House of the Spirits”)
We climb again towards Estrela, with its beautiful garden full of towering dragons and jacaranda trees. We can also visit the magnificent Basilica da Estrela, one of the most brilliant achievements of the late Baroque in Portugal. (Free entrance)
We continue our journey passing in front of the Santo Condestável church, built in neo-Gothic style in honor of the Constable D. Nuno Álvares Pereira (1360-1431), designed by the Portuguese architect Vasco Regaleira and inaugurated on August 14, 1951.
So we arrive at the end of the line, at the Cimitério dos Prazeres.
A monumental cemetery built in 1833, after the city of Lisbon was hit by a violent cholera epidemic: 12 hectares, cut by countless streets flanked by tall cypress trees – A place where silence and stillness invites us to contemplate all those constructions that tell the past of those who have gone away forever and of those left in pain.
“Faith holds together those who Dead separate” can be readen in a plaque.
On the way back, inside the wooden carriage of our “Yellow” 28, we continue our journey to the eastern part of the city. Between ups and downs we pass by the place where we’ve started and climb the hill to Alfama.
After passing the Church of La Maddalena, is presented to us the Sé de Lisboa, monumental Cathedral of the 12th century, built on the ancient Muslim mosque of the city.
The visits are paid: Cloister and treasure € 4
The old tram continues the steep climb, passing from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia to the Largo das Portas do Sol, from where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views that Lisbon has to offer.
We now enter the old and narrow district of Alfama, the birthplace of Fado, a tangle of labyrinthine streets, forgotten by time.
The triumphant 28 continues his climb trough Calçada São Vicente, arriving at Voz Do Operaio:
If you are on this trip Saturday or Tuesday morning, get off here and take a look to the Feira da Ladra flea market. Access is rather hidden, on the left of the São Vicente Monastery
Finally, we reach the bright Largo da Graça, perched on the highest hill of Lisbon. We must stop to visit the Miradouro da Graça and Senhora do Monte and… since we are here we’ll have a coffee!
We can now say goodbye to our friend 28 and walk back to the Baixa
We take advantage of the proximity to visit the Castelo de São Jorge and let us be surprised by the panoramic view of the Lisbon valley and the Tejo river
Look here for timetables and price
Before returning, as we descend Rua Bartolomeu de Gusmão, we stop here, at number 11-13, for a good glass of national wine.
The Wine Bar do Castelo is a quiet wine bar where we find over 150 Portuguese wines by the glass, as well as gourmet specialties such as smoked meats, cheeses, olives and other tasty side dishes.
Parque das Nações
Today we’ll move to the most modern part of Lisbon where, in the east of the city, along the Tejo estuary, stands the Parque das Nações
We take the red subway line and get off at the Oriente stop.
The modern Gare do Oriente station, where rail, regular bus and metro services flow, is the work of the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The design of the metal supports of the enclosure, made of steel and glass, reminiscent of the branches of many trees in Lisbon.
On the occasion of the EXPO of 1998, this ambitious urban plan was realized, which radically transformed the appearance of the area. In fact, to make it happen, a refinery, a slaughterhouse, a landfill and various military warehouses have been demolished, leaving space for this spectacular residential district.
Numerous and talented architects gave a valuable contribution in making the Park of Nations admirable from an architectural and urban point of view, here architecture and art are combined with nature, creating a very special and unique leisure area.
Pavilhão de Portugal – The building has a large square covered by an imposing pre-stressed concrete slab, from a project by Álvaro Siza Vieira which is based on the idea of a sheet of paper resting on two bricks.
Do not miss the Oceanário de Lisboa, considered the best aquarium in the world by TripAdvisor in 2017.
With a total area of twenty thousand square meters, the Oceanário has about 7,500,000 liters of water (divided between more than 30 aquariums) and eight thousand organisms, including animals and plants, of five hundred different species.
Inside, the main attraction is the central aquarium with 5 million liters, which represents the Global Ocean, in which different species of fish coexist like sharks, barracudas, stingrays, tuna and small tropical fish. Also noteworthy are the four different aquariums which, due to its natural richness in terms of flora and fauna, represent the marine habitats of the North Atlantic, the Southern Ocean, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean – separated from the central aquarium. from large acrylic panels strategically placed creating the illusion of a single aquarium.
… I confess … I fell in love with them, Odi and Kasi, two sea-otters from Alaska
The mascot chosen by the Oceanario de Lisboa is Vasco, in reference to the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama
Taking advantage of its geographical position, the Park is also proud of its modern Marinha Parque das Nações with 600 berths, as well as infrastructures, prepared to host important nautical events.
Let’s admire one last wonder:
Vasco da Gama, It is the longest bridge in Western Europe, the second longest in Europe (just behind the Crimean Bridge, opened in 2018) and one of the longest in the world.
If you have questions and suggestions, write me in the comments
Ciao from your Crackita!
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