11th September 2015 | By: filipecf
Places to visit in Lisbon
If you’re looking for a quick getaway in Europe, you can do no wrong in Lisbon. Lisbon – the capital city of Portugal – is located in the South Western corner of Europe, sharing borders with Spain on the Iberian Peninsula and boasts a wonderful subtropical-mediterranean climate. Or in other words, short and mild winters with nice, long, warm summers.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and boasts a rich history that dates back many years, as it predates other modern European capitals, such as London, Paris or even Rome. Below are a few of the must see attractions the city has to offer.
Torre de Belém (Belém Tower)
Arguably the most iconic landmark of Lisbon, the Torre de Belém is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower was initially conceived as a defense outpost equipped with cannons for the mouth of the river where the city is located.
Mosteiro de Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery)
Located close to the Torre de Belém, this monastery is classified jointly with the Torre de Belém as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery was initially used as a place to offer shelter and assistance to seafarers during transit.
Castelo São Jorge (Saint George Castle)
On a hilltop overlooking the city and river, resides the Castelo São Jorge. This castle is another of the notable landmarks of Lisbon and boasts spectacular views of the city and river. The castle dates back as early as 48 BC, when Lisbon was a Roman municipality.
Praça do Comércio/Terreiro do Paço (Commerce Square)
The commerce square is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square) among locals, as it was the residence of the Kings of Portugal until it was destroyed in 1755 by the earthquake and tsunami that struck the city of Lisbon.
Since the economic crisis, Portugal has struggled immensely to recover as the Portuguese recession was one of the worst in the euro zone. However, this has sparked something of a cultural renaissance in Lisbon, despite the government making drastic cuts in the cultural sector. As Portugal’s youngest demographic suffers the most from the recession, instead of rioting and causing mayhem, they have channelled their frustration into a flourishing cultural scene. From street art, to experimental theatre and live music, Lisbon is bustling with new pop-ups all the time.
Bairro Alto was the birthplace of this cultural scene until it began to spread throughout the city, but it is still as lively as ever. This hilltop neighbourhood has it all, from boutique art galleries to cafes, bars (where you can find beer as cheap as €1) and restaurants. This district is the biggest hot spot for nightlife in Lisbon, followed closely by Cais do Sodré (Rua Côr-de-Rosa), Largo de Santos and the Docas (Docks) area. Nearby Bairro Alto, you can find Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcântara, where in the early evening you can sometimes encounter live music and open-air theatres, while overlooking the city and with a fantastic view of the Castelo São Jorge.
If you have time to explore a bit beyond the city, it is also worth visiting the seaside town of Cascais. What used to be a small fishing village eventually became a popular holiday spot for Portuguese and foreign royalty. It is now one of the richest municipalities in the country and a popular vacation spot amongst tourists. All along the coastline between Lisbon and Cascais, you can find loads of beaches, but the most notable is Guincho beach, just beyond Cascais, as it is one of the best spots for surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing and is often used to host some of the biggest water sports competitions in the world.