Are you looking to a map and wandering what you can see in Lisbon?
People often look to a map and wander about places to travel. Be it for a weekend, or longer time, the thinking flow is usual the same: Germany? What shell I see in here? France, Paris… So romantic! Oh, Spain… Madrid? What are the tourist attractions? Look, Portugal! And Lisbon… I’ve read something about it! What to see in Lisbon?
We know, it isn’t easy. But that feeling is good. It shows that you have a spirit of a traveller, a curious mind, looking for new experiences… to know the World. Well, we don’t ask you to know so much, but we invite you to know a bit of it. To know the city from where the Portuguese built the first global empire: Lisbon.
First, you must see Lisbon Baixa. All this downtown neighbourhood was built in 18th century, after the great earthquake of 1755. Three quarters of the city lay in ruins, and was estimated from 30.000 to 60.000 people killed, because of the 12-meter tsunami and the three days of fires.
The Carmo Convent (Convent of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) is still a testimony from that time. Founded in 1389 by the Constable D. Nuno Álvares Pereira (supreme military commander of the King). Although there were many repairs through the time, the main nave of the Carmo Church still is in ruins, as if to remember the Lisboetas (Lisboners) of how fragile is life…
If we go down through the Calçada do Carmo we get to Rossio Square. The real name is Pedro IV Square (named in 19th century), but Lisboners never coped with that name. And after two centuries of the renaming, the main square is still known as Rossio Square.
Then comes Praça do Comércio, most well-known as Terreiro do Paço (another example of how the Lisboners deal with forced nomenclature), in the river’s direction. A square that embraces the Tagus river with its architecture.
Talking about Lisbon Baixa and not mention Alfama is like a sin among the ones who love this city (as we do, by the way…). This is the most typical and the oldest district of Lisbon. “House” of so many of historical attractions that we would take one hour in a tuk tuk tour to show you most of them.
The main places that you can visit are São Jorge Castle and the most beautiful miradouros (belvedere) that you ever know. Be it Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Miradouro da Graça or the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, all of them have privileged views over the Lisbon Baixa and the Tagus river.
If you want to know more about the Age of the Discoveries, when Portugal became the first global empire of the Human History, the best place is Belém. In Belém you can see two amazing witnesses of that time: Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery, two UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Belém Tower was built in the early 16th century to be part of a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisbon. Jerónimos Monastery was commissioned by D. Manuel I to serve has a house of prayer and to aid seafarers in transit. Both monuments were designed in a manner that later became known as Manueline.
After these few words, are you still asking what to see in Lisbon?