Portugal’s capital is one of Europe’s most diverse and vibrant capital cities. A view of the Castelo de São Jorge from the Alta neighborhood.
Lisbon is rising up the ranks of top holiday destinations in Europe. With its location by the ocean, rich culture and history, and warm and friendly people, it is hardly surprising that increasing numbers of people flock to Portugal’s capital. Here are just some aspects of why it is worthwhile to explore one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
Alfama and Alta
These are certainly two of the most original neighborhoods in the city worth the travel. Here there were magnificent views of the city and key attractions such as the Castelo de São Jorge. These areas have the most character, with the Azulejo tiles on the walls that tell the story of Lisbon’s rich past, as well as the traditional tram that still goes up and down the hill.
A History of Trade and Commerce
One of the aspects that makes Lisbon unique compared to other European cities is its location by the sea. This helped to establish Portugal’s position as an imperial power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with connections to the colonies of Angola, Mozambique as well as Brazil. The Portuguese explorers even went as far afield as Goa in India. The Praça do Comércio was once a bustling square filled with merchants’ shouts as people traded goods from all over the world.
Belém is a neighborhood mentioned in every tour guide about Lisbon. The most well-known tourist attraction here is the Torre de Belém, which had various functions as a lighthouse and a prison. The Jerónimos monastery, dating back to the late fifteenth century, is also worth a visit. Belem itself, like other areas of Lisbon, is very green and a great location for a simple stroll back to the city. Parks such as the botanical gardens in the Praca de Marques de Pombal offer a magnificent view of the city and its overlook on the sea.
Lisbon itself offers much more than the typical tourist attractions. Portuguese food is wonderfully diverse in taste and color. A typical dish is the Francesinha, essentially a fried sandwich in a rich sauce with a secret ingredient. Due to its location by the ocean and local rivers, seafood is also common on the menu. No trip to Portugal would be complete without a try of Portugal’s typical dish, as well as the Pastéis de Belem, a sweet and creamy custard tart. Whatever your taste, there is surely something for everyone to try in Portugal’s capital city.
Lisbon’s cheap and reliable public transport makes it the ideal location for several day trips to other locations. One particularly attractive location in Sintra, with its fairytale castle and the Castelo dos Mouros, which tells the story of a time when the Moors dominated the Iberian Peninsula. Other places, such as the city of Setúbal, about 30km south of Lisbon, have their own monuments and attractions to explore. Overall, Lisbon and its combination of culture, friendly people and attractions make it a fantastic holiday destination.