Lisbon is one of Europe’s great capital cities, and its ghostly narrow streets that wind their way across the city’s hills also make it one of the most atmospheric. Whether you’re the type of traveler that is searching for historical monuments, museums, and art galleries, or are after a cultural experience featuring local music and traditional foods, this city located on the banks of the Tagus River is bound to impress and thrill all visitors. If you’re considering booking a city break Lisbon is a destination you won’t want to miss. Here are just a few of the things that the Portugal’s capital has to offer.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Lisbon’s most famed and attractions and elegant structures, presenting one of the finest examples of Late Gothic Manueline architecture. The monastery’s origin dates back to 1495, and has a close connection to the renowned explorer Vasco da Gama, who spent the night in prayer at this site in 1497 before departing on his expedition to the Orient. Today visitors have the opportunity to see Vasco da Gama’s tomb, which is one of many important historical relics to be found within the monastery.
Belém Tower is located nearby to Jerónimos Monastery, and is another World Heritage Site and important work of architectural design. The tower, which is built of lioz limestone, played a major role in defending Lisbon from invaders, and was also a ceremonial gateway for naval explorers and military expeditions leaving Lisbon.
Parça de Comércio
More commonly known as the Terreiro do Paço, this square located near to the Tagus River was once home to the Royal Ribeira Palace. The palace was lost in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which caused a tsunami and fires, eventually destroying much of the city. The current square was redesigned following the earthquake and features a statue of King José I overlooking the waters of the Tagus.
São Jorge Castle
The Moorish castle overlooking the historical centre of Lisbon is São Jorge Castle, a strategic military fortification and palace, with archaeological sites dating back to the 2nd century BC. Following the reconquering of the city of Lisbon during the Second Crusade, the castle served as a royal residence for Afonso III, and later King Denis I, then King Ferdinand I.
To get a traditional taste of Lisbon food there is no better place to go than one of the local Tascas, eateries run by locals and serving-up traditional family type recipes. These small restaurants will not only provide you with an amazing meal, but they will also give you a taste of the local way of life. Don’t be surprised to hear some Portuguese folk music inside or nearby any Tasca.
Whether it’s your first time to Portugal or you’re returning for another visit, the atmosphere and history of Lisbon will leave you swept away.