I have been wanting to go on holiday for a while. To start 2020 very well, I decided to spend some days in Portugal's capital city Lisbon, with friends. Also called the city of light or the city of the seven hills, I must admit, Lisbon has something unique. We stayed at a hotel near Rossio Square. Rossio is the perfect place where visitors and inhabitants come together. You can see it as a meeting point or a great area to sit and relax. Of course, when going on a trip, you want to visit a lot, which we did. We did pretty well, I guess. For this blog post, I will give you some tips you may want to know when planning a trip to Lisbon. Of course, this is based on my own experiences.
What to do
I forgot to tell you this at the beginning. Please, make sure you get a map and the right information at the tourism and travel service. I'm sure they will be ready to help you with the information you need to know. This can be helpful when you don't know the city. We realized that most of the museums were not far from each other. That made the trip easier. Such a timesaver!
Here are some great places you should visit. I've already said that Rossio is a great public space. It's characterized by a typical black and white mosaic pavement.
In old Lisbon, you can also visit one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, which is called Praça de Commércio. I love this large square because of the view that goes alongside the sea. The commercial place leading to Rossio is also directly connected with the Rua Augusta, one of the most popular shopping streets of Lisbon. When walking the street you will unavoidably walk through the Triumphal Arch. I'm sure you don't want to miss this historic building.
Castelo de São Jorge
If you haven't heard about Castelo de São Jorge, chances are high that this National Monument will be your favorite. This is the oldest castle in Lisbon and lies on the highest hill in the city. After the earthquake of 1755, most of the castle was destroyed, and in the early 20th century it was restored. One of the main reasons you should visit the castle is the magnificent view of the city. I was happy that I didn't have my heels on to climb those hills. But, I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed if you know that you will probably pass by Beco do Maldonado. It's a famous small street where you find graffiti street art of eyes on the wall. Even Madonna took a picture here.
Lisbon Story Center
We decided to go to Lisbon Story Center after we felt we didn't know a lot about the city. In just two hours, this gallery located at the Praça de Commércio introduced us in a very amusing and interactive way to the history of Lisboa. I still wonder why we didn't do that on the first day. (eyebrows frowning) If you are a little bit familiar with history you know that in 1755 there was an earthquake that changed the whole capital. Even the earthquake is showed in an immersive way. Unfortunately, I couldn't photograph that It wasn't allowed to take images.
Avenida da Liberdade
This one is for my fashionista's. Avenida da Liberdade is a large and prestigious street in Lisbon. The road with very fancy stores, boutiques, offices is also known as the Champs Elysées of Lisbon. Of course, window shopping is allowed! If your credit card is already willing to give up on you, I suggest five minutes from this place, Rua da Glória. The street with very charming yellow trams. We've seen it twice, at night and during the day. So we took some time to shoot great pictures.
When in Portugal we were suggested to go to Belém. It's a district and a former fishing village in Lisbon. You will have to take the bus or tram 15 if you go there. It was about 25 minutes away from Rossio on the bus. For Belém, you need the entire day to visit everything. This place is impressive with what it offers historically.
Torre de Bélem
Torre de Bélem is the first reason why you should go to this place. The old and iconic masterpiece gives you a view of Lisbon. Be prepared to climb the narrow spiral staircase with 93 steps to get this beautiful view. It's worth the effort.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
I guess Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is one of the most visited places in Lisbon and, I understand why. Once you are inside you are likely tempted to wander through the history of this place. This UNESCO World Heritage Site built as a reminder of Vasco Gama has an authentic vibe you only get once you are there.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
If you want to have a sight of the port, then I suggest you see Padrão dos Descobrimentos. The outside alone is striking with all those statues. To get to this place, you have to go under a tunnel which is not far from the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos. From the tunnel, It's about two minutes walking to get to the monument.
Jardin Botânico de Ajuda
Jardin Botânico de Ajuda is the oldest botanic garden of Portugal. The beautiful fountain and plants gave us the serenity we were looking for.
Palacio Nacional Da Ajuda
The imposing Palacio Nacional Da Ajuda, which was constructed for the Royal family after the earthquake of 1755, is the monument you won't regret seeing. The significant palace was also the last official living place of the Portuguese Royal family. Unfortunately, it is not finished at the outside.
Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology
Something we wanted to see, was the MAAT or Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology. Sadly, this is closed till March 27, therefore, we couldn't see a lot except admiring the beautiful San Francisco view. De Ponte 25 de Abril is an identical copy of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. For one minute, I felt like being in America.
National Museum of Ancient Art
The day before leaving Lisbon, we've planned to see two galleries. One of them is the National Museum of Ancient Art lied in a surprisingly quiet place of Lisbon. If you love art, then this is for you. We've seen some beautiful representations and designs of Antwerp and Congo.
Oceanário de Lisboa
The second one is the breathtaking Oceanário de Lisboa. It's Europe's biggest aquarium. Honestly, I was a little bit reticent about just going to an oceanarium. But I'm glad we did this. The entrance is €19,00 if you have the Lisboa Card. This card gives you here a 15 percent discount, otherwise, it will be a little high in price. You not only get to see fish but, you get informed about climate change, which is more than important at this new decade.
How to travel through the city
I know it's a lot but because I had so many of you asking me what tips I could give I have special for you a couple of them listed.
What to eat
How much to spend
What to wear
I hope that I helped you with this blog post. If you want to see more of my journey, go to my Instagram account and watch the stories Lisbon. Let me know if you already went to Lisbon or maybe you are planning a trip to go there? Enjoy your trip!
Pictures: © Christelle Olivia Zitu