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Historic, Cultural, Beautiful! Lisbon and Belém—Portugal

Forts, Castles, Palaces, Architectural marvels…. Lisbon is one of the cities in Europe where you will find all of these amazing structures. The main street Avenida da Liberdade is a delight to walk down. The roadside restaurants and bars with their local cuisine, delectable aromas and vendors roasting chestnuts on street corners, awesome! While you are walking about in Lisbon, keep your eyes moving all over the place. Apart from looking side to side, look Up and Down too.

Up you will see some of the most uniquely designed street lamps in the world. They are custom made of Iron and attached to building walls. The symbol of Lisbon, a caravel with two ravens often adorns them.

Classic street lamp, Lisbon

Street lamp Lisbon

Down you will find one of their peculiar and famous art-forms, ‘Calçada Portuguesa’. This is Portuguese paving unique only to Lisbon. Skilled craftsmen carefully shape limestone cubes and place them meticulously by hand to create marvelous geometric patterns and designs.

Footpath with Calçada Portuguesa

Calçada Portuguesa

The Central train station (Rossio Railway station) is located on this avenue. The building has two distinctive intertwined horseshoe portals for the entrance and is sculptured abundantly. There is also a small turret on top with a clock in it. Here is where you catch the train to the beautiful majestic city of Sintra.

Rossio railway station, Lisbon

Rossio railway station, Lisbon

From around here, you can get a glimpse of the Moorish Castle of St. George perched on top of a hill, overlooking the city. It is a must visit, and the panoramic view from there and on the walk back down is absolutely stunning.

View of Moorish castle of St. George, Lisbon

Moorish castle of St. George, Lisbon

The walk up is a discovery tour in itself. You can walk leisurely upwards through small winding streets, passing little trinket and souvenir stores and stumble upon another iconic feature of this wonderful city.

In the neighbourhood of Mouraria, you will find the escadinhas de São Cristóvão, where a collective of artists have created the impressive mural “Fado Vadio”. To see more pictures of Lisbon, click here.

Mural of Fado in Lisbon

Fado Vadio, Lisbon

This is a tribute to fado, Lisbon’s iconic music and classified as “intangible cultural heritage”. The symbols and figures from the history of fado are portrayed over various walls, use your camera!

Fernando Maurício and Maria Severa, lyrics, bread and water on the table are a few of the elements decorating this unique corner of Lisbon. The walk down from the Castelo de São Jorge offers beautiful views of this picturesque city.

Panoramic view of Lisbon

Panoramic view of Lisbon

A kilometer south of the station you will come to the grand, regal, iconic square, Praça do Comercio (Terreiro do Paço). The building is majestic and the statue of King José I on his horse Gentil in the middle of the square is truly regal.

Praça do Comercio Lisbon

Praça do Comercio, Lisbon

It is a lovely sight overlooking the River Tagus. If you look to the south-west, you will see the statue of Christ the King in the distance. A camera with a good zoom lens will capture a decent photograph.

When walking around Lisbon, you will come across a few of these “Elevators” Funiculars. Take a ride in one, a memorable experience. To see more pictures of Lisbon, click here.

Elevador/Funicular in Lisbon

Elevador/Funicular in Lisbon

Belém—Across from Rossio Railway station is Praça Dom Pedro IV. Walk eastward across this square and you will come to Praça da Figueira. Here you can catch the E15 tram that will take you to the district of Belem, a 30 minute comfortable ride.

The journey is picturesque as you pass Praça do Comercio and under the 25th of April Bridge. It is a spectacular sight with an overall length of 2278m (approx. 1.5 miles), and the longest central span in Europe (1013m/3323ft), longer than San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, which it resembles.

Evening picture of Jerónimos monastery, Belem

Jerónimos monastery, Belém

In Belem you will find the impressive Jerónimos Monastery with its rich ornate architecture. The Belém Tower is a little walking distance towards the Tagus river with a similar style. Both are declared World Heritage sites and are also included in the seven wonders of Portugal.

Belém tower

Belém Tower

The walk along the riverfront is very refreshing. You can see boats going up and down the mighty Tagus. There is a small marina and a modern monument built of cement and rose-tinted stone Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). The statues on it are sculpted out of limestone. To see more pictures of Lisbon, click here.

Picture of the sculpting of human figures on the Monument to the Discoveries, Belém

Monument to the Discoveries, Belém

The lights in the right bottom corner are of the 25th of April Suspension bridge, looks truly amazing at night. Belém is home to one of the best makers of Pastel de nata, Pastéis de Belém almost across the tram station where you alight for the Monastery. They always have fresh, warm egg tarts also available in little take-away boxes.

 

Click here for more pictures of Lisbon, Portugal.

 

You should also consider visiting Sintra-Portugal and Évora.

TIPS:

  1. From the airport, you can catch a local transit bus to get to the city. Quick, comfortable and inexpensive.
  2. I recommend eating in local little restaurants, food is authentic, tasty and freshly cooked. Bacalhau à Brás (shredded salted dried cod fish, thinly chopped potatoes, onions bound in scrambled eggs) is one of my favorites and a specialty.
  3. Wine is extremely cheap, buy local Port, excellent!
  4. We used Airbnb and had an excellent experience.
  5. Local transportation within the city or inter-city is super. Public transportation is excellent.

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