The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, is draped atop a series of hills that overlook the River Tagus. Overflowing with historic architecture, colorful neighborhoods, and excellent cuisine, there are hundreds of reasons why you should visit this charming city. These are my tips on how to spend one day in Lisbon.
Departing every 10 minutes from Martim Moniz Square, the yellow Tram 28 is an iconic element of Lisbon that traverses the narrowest streets in the city and predates the First World War. You can hop aboard for the novelty of riding the historic tram, but, as this does get busy with both locals and tourists, I suggest you make this your first port of call. The route journeys through such neighborhoods of Graça and Alfama and the entire ride to Campo Ourique takes around one hour.
Alight in the Alfama district and enjoy a wander through the labyrinthine streets of one of Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods. You can also take in dramatic views of the city and river from the viewpoints at Castelo de São Jorge and Miradouro de Santa Luzia and get a closer look at the beautiful tiles that decorate the walls. This is also a great spot to sample traditional Portuguese cuisine once you’ve worked up an appetite for lunch. Prado specializes in organic farm-to-table plates with a contemporary twist while Restaurante Farol de Santa Luzias excels at fresh seafood dishes including bacalhau (cod) and cataplana de peixes (classic fish stew cooked in a copper pot).
A catastrophic magnitude 9 earthquake struck Lisbon in 1755, destroying residences and public buildings. An estimated 60,000-100,000 lives were lost and the devastation continued in the days following the quake in the form of tsunamis and fires. The roof of the Carmo Convent was destroyed and the remnants of the building that still stand today are in homage to the tragic event.
Although the name has changed several times since 1732, Livraria Bertrand is the oldest operating bookshop in the world. The bookshop carries a small selection of English books that make for a wonderful souvenir. It’s located a few minutes’ walk from the convent.
Fantastic World of Portuguese Sardines
Perhaps the kookiest attraction in town where you can pick up a little memento of your time in Lisbon. This store, just around the corner from the convent and bookshop, has a circus-like atmosphere and sells the famous Portuguese sardines packaged in quirkily decorated tins.
Jerónimos Monastery & Belém Tower
Round up your day of sightseeing in the Belém district where you can tour the Manueline-style Jerónimos Monastery. Afterward, catch the sunset from the ornate Belém Tower that was built in 1515 as a ceremonial gateway.
Spend your one evening in Lisbon in the Graça neighborhood where you can feast on Portuguese fare while listening to Fado music. This is an accompaniment of string instruments performed alongside live singing. The menu at Sr. Fado encompasses seafood, meat recipes, and light plates while the cozy setting creates a unique ambiance for the music.
That concludes my advice on how to spend one day in Lisbon. If you intend on spending more than one day in the city or would like to plan a wider Portuguese trip, contact me and we will create your bespoke itinerary.
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