Lisbon attractions

Lisbon attractions


We like to spend time in Portugal's capital Lisbon and on the Tejo River. We also appreciate the largest city in Portugal as a departure or destination port for cruise ships.

Cruise ships dock at three terminals in Lisbon. All jetties are positioned close to the center. From the terminals, we can reach our favorite Lisbon attractions on foot or by public transport.

Important sights of the Portuguese metropolis can be found in the districts of Baixa and in the Bairro Alto above. The Baixa is Lisbon's historic center and has always been the commercial heart. The upper town of Bairro Alto is considered the trendy district of the metropolis.

Lisbon panorama

Lisbon panorama


Visitors should also know the Bairro de Alfama. Since the Middle Ages, after the expulsion of the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula, the district has been the home of fishermen and sailors and, obviously, the location of the red light district. Alfama's Castelo de São Jorge was very different. Portugal's kings resided there for several centuries. We appreciate the district above all because of its interesting vantage points, the "Miradouros".

Very special attractions await visitors to Lisbon in the Belém district. The area, which has less than 10.000 inhabitants, is located on the Tagus, about eight kilometers from the Baixa. In relation to its size, the suburb with the Torre de Belém, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos has a surprising wealth of sights. Below we present the attractions that seem important to us.

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Monument to the São Tomé Discovery

Monument to the São Tomé Discovery


Lisbon's main squares and streets

From our point of view, the squares and streets presented below are a must for visitors to Lisbon.

Commerce Square

The Praça do Comércio, which looks so tidy today, was once the historic commercial center of Lisbon. The 170 by 170 meter square, one of the largest squares in Europe, lies between the Tagus and Rua Augusta. Two monuments dominate the square: the Arco da Rua Augusta triumphal arch and the equestrian statue of José I.

Commerce Square
A bird's-eye view of Praça do Comércio
Praça do Comércio with the Arco da Rua Augusta
Praça do Comércio with the equestrian statue of José I

We shall deal with the triumphal arch in a different context. The equestrian statue in the center of the square is dedicated to King José I of Portugal. He ruled the country from 1750 to 1777.

Praça do Comércio - King José on horseback

Praça do Comércio - King José on horseback


Praca Dom Pedro IV

One of our favorites is the Praça Dom Pedro IV. Lisbon residents succinctly call it “Rossio”. The National Theater is named after Portugal's Queen Donna Maria II. The listed, symmetrical building is one of the most popular photo opportunities in the city. Worth seeing are the two fountains in the square and the monument to Dom Pedro IV.

Praca Dom Pedro IV


Praca Dom Pedro IV


Praca Dom Pedro IV - Estatua do Rei Dom Pedro IV


Praca Dom Pedro IV - Estatua do Rei Dom Pedro IV 


Two metro lines meet at Rossio, and the beautiful nearby Terminal do Rossio train station runs trains to Sintra, 25 kilometers west of Lisbon. The cultural landscape of Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Terminal do Rossio train station

Terminal do Rossio train station


What is remarkable about the Praça Dom Pedro IV is the characteristic, country-specific paving. The pavement called "Calçada Portuguesa" consists of white limestone and black basalt. The paving technique knows various patterns; at the Praça Dom Pedro IV a wave movement is optically generated.

Praça Dom Pedro IV with the National Theater

Praça Dom Pedro IV with the National Theater


Restauradores Square

Praça Dom Pedro IV is followed north by Praça dos Restauradores, Restorers' Square. This term needs explanation: In the 16th and in the first half of the 17th century Portugal was ruled by Spain. In 1640, Portugal gained independence after the "War of Restoration". The square reminds of this event. In the center is an obelisk called "Monumento aos Restauradores". The statues placed next to it symbolize war and independence.

Restauradores Square


Restauradores Square


Praça dos Restauradores - Palácio Foz


Praça dos Restauradores - Palácio Foz 


Marquês de Pombal Square

At the northern end of the Avenida da Liberdade, which starts at the Praça dos Restauradores, is the Praça Marquês de Pombal. Five streets lead into the round square surrounded by a huge roundabout.

Marques de Pombal Square - Marques de Pombal Statue


Marques de Pombal Square - Marques de Pombal Statue


Statue Marques de Pombal


Statue Marques de Pombal 


The square honors the reigning Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal in the 18th century. In the center of the square stands the oversized statue of the Margrave on a 36 meter high column. The cobbled square features the city's coat of arms. The first Portuguese Republic was proclaimed on the Praça Marquês de Pombal in October 1910. Behind the square begins the Parque Eduardo VII.

Augusta Street

The Rua Augusta is both: the main street of the Baixa and one of the most important shopping streets in Lisbon. Once upon a time, aristocrats walked the streets and the bourgeoisie ran the shops. Nowadays, people of all nations meet in the pedestrian zone lined with shops, restaurants, terraces and kiosks.

Augusta Street
Augusta Street
Augusta Street
Rua Augusta - in the background the Arco da Rua Augusta

Avenida da Liberdade

Avenida da Liberdade is Lisbon's boulevard. It rightly ranks among the great European roads. The 1.100 meter long and 90 meter wide street is surrounded by buildings

Avenida da Liberdade with the Tivoli Gardens
Avenida da Liberdade - Monument to Mortos da Grande Guerra
Avenida da Liberdade - promenade
Avenida da Liberdade - pavement of the promenade

We love the elegant shops, the plane trees and – once again – the cobblestones on the wide promenades, which are typical of Portugal.

Selected sacred and profane buildings

Lisbon's Sé Patriarchal Cathedral

Shortly after the liberation of Lisbon from Moorish rule in October 1147, construction of the Sé Cathedral in the Alfama district began. After a relatively short time, within two years, the construction of the main chapel was completed. After that, however, it took several centuries to complete the cathedral and cloister. Final restoration work took place in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Church of the Archbishops of Lisbon is described as the most important sacred building in the country.

Admission free; Visits to the treasury and the cloister cost 4 euros.

Se Patriarchal Cathedral
Sé Patriarchal Cathedral - central nave
Sé Patriarcal Cathedral - Apse
Sé Patriarcal Cathedral - Bartolomeu Joanes Chapel

Convento do Carmo

The Convento do Carmo is located in the Bairro Alto next to the Elevador de Santa Justa. The former Carmelite monastery has been in ruins since the 1755 earthquake. The secured neighboring remains are used by Lisbon's Archaeological Museum.

Ruins of the Convento do Carmo


Ruins of the Convento do Carmo


Convento do Carmo


Convento do Carmo 


Jeronimos Monastery

The Hieronymites Monastery in Belém is one of the outstanding buildings of the Portuguese late Gothic. The cornerstone of the 300 meter long building was laid in 1502 and it took more than 70 years to complete the monastery construction. The monastery complex, which was originally planned to be much larger, includes a hall church, a two-storey cloister with a refectory, the chapter house, the sacristy and the choir. The Naval Museum and the Archaeological Museum are currently located in the side wings.

Jeronimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos - South Portal

The limestone facade of the monastery and the park area in front of the building are remarkable. Likewise the 32 meter high and 12 meter wide south portal of the monastery church. As historical sources show, the monastery was financed from the proceeds of overseas trade. Like the Torre de Belém, the monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

National Pantheon

In the 17th century it was decided to build a large baroque church, the Igreja de Santa Engrácia, in the Alfama district. Due to a constant lack of money during the construction phase, it took several centuries to complete. The church was only completed in 1966. However, the consecrated church was never used as a place of worship. Portugal's dictator at the time, Salazar, had the church, which was completed with tax money, converted into a national pantheon based on the French model.

National Pantheon

National Pantheon


Important men and women found their final resting place in this pantheon, including the soccer player Eusébio († 2014). Several cenotaphs (mock graves) commemorate heroes of Portuguese history. Examples of this are the explorer Vasco da Gama or Henry the Navigator.

Campo de Santa Clara in the Alfama district.

Arch of Rua Augusta

Lisbon's imposing triumphal arch connects the Praça do Comércio with the Rua Augusta. From the building's observation deck, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the Tagus River, Praça do Comércio and the old town. The magnificent building, completed in 1875, is almost 40 meters high. An elevator takes visitors to an open platform.

fa-info-circle} Price for visiting the viewing platform: 3 euros

Arch of Rua Augusta
Arch of Rua Augusta
Arch of Rua Augusta
Group of figures from the Arco da Rua Augusta

Castelo de sao jorge

The castle, also located in the Alfama district, is a fortress originally built by the Moors. In 1147 Alfonso the Conqueror managed to drive out the occupiers. After that, the fort was used as a royal castle for several centuries. Relics from Phoenician, Roman and Moorish times can be found on the extensive area. A platform offers beautiful views of Lisbon.

Castelo de sao jorge

Castelo de sao jorge


Monument to the São Tomé Discovery

Less than a kilometer walk separates the Torre de Belém and the Monument to the Portuguese Explorers. Built on the Tagus and reminiscent of a sailing ship, the monument was built in 1960 during the Salazar dictatorship. Towering 52 meters high, the structure honors the achievements of the Portuguese explorers. At the foot of the monument, 30 Portuguese heroes are depicted. At the top, facing the Tagus, stands Henry the Navigator. In his hands he holds a ship. Inside the monument is a museum.

Monument to the São Tomé Discovery
Padrão dos Descobrimentos - Heroes of Portugal
Padrão dos Descobrimentos - Looking ahead to Henry the Navigator
Padrão dos Descobrimentos - the compass rose

A platform 50 meters high offers visitors views of the river, the Torre de Belém, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the grandiose Compass Rose Mosaic at the foot of the monument.

Access to the viewing terrace is chargeable. An elevator takes visitors to the platform.

Torre de Belém

The mighty bulwark, completed in 1521, was first used for ship observation and to secure the port entrance. Later it served as a prison and customs station. Weapons and food were stored in the base. The four-storey tower had a governor's room, the king's hall with a loggia, an audience room and its own chapel. A viewing platform at a height of 35 meters offers views of the Tagus and Belém.

Torre de Belém


Torre de Belém


Torre de Belém


Torre de Belém 


Monumento aos Combatentes and the Centro Cultural

Also on our list of recommendations for Belém is the Monumento aos Combatentes do Ultramar’ and the ‘Centro Cultural’, which will be discussed elsewhere.

Monument to the Combatants of the Ultramar

Monument to the Combatants of the Ultramar


The contemporary Monumento aos Combatentes honors the fallen soldiers of the Portuguese colonial wars with an eternal flame. It is located at the Forte do Bom Sucesso next to the Torre de Belém.

Pastel de Belém

Ponte 25 de Abril

The very well-known bakery is located in the middle of Belém Pastel de Belém. In 1837, the production of the original began here Pastel de Belém, based on an old recipe from the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Pastéis de Belém are custard and puff pastry tartlets filled with a cream made from egg yolk, sugar, milk and flour or starch. This secret recipe is baked by hand in the bakery every day using only traditional methods. It is usually very crowded here and you have to wait a long time to get a seat. Our tip: Buy the pastéis to take away and enjoy in the park opposite.
Location: Rua de Belém nº 84 a 92 | 1300-085 Lisbon

Lisbon's viewpoints

Lisbon became similar Rome built on seven hills. Several viewpoints called "Miradouro" offer some breathtaking views of the city and the river. The most beautiful miradouros are in the Alfama district.

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

The highest vantage point in the Alfama district is the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. Travel guides describe the viewpoint as an insider tip. As for the accuracy of the statement, we have doubts. The Miradouro enjoys a lot of interest, which is not least indicated by the many tuk tuks and other means of transport. Senhora do Monte is the starting point of our Miradouro circuit in the Alfama district. Our route ends later at Lisbon's Sé Cathedral.

Top center - Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
Ponte 25 de Abril and Cristo Rei statue
Miradouro da Senhora do Monte - View of Lisbon's sea of ​​houses

From the high position, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Castle of São Jorge and the Igreja da Graça. On a clear day, the Ponte 25 de Abril, the distant Cristo Rei statue and the rooftops of the Baixa district seem within reach. An orientation board with - how could it be otherwise - modern azulejos provides information about the views offered.

Graça Viewpoint

Visitors can enjoy a comparable view from this vantage point, located below the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte. However, the sights, such as the castle hill with the Castelo, have moved closer. As an "encore" we recommend a visit to the rococo church Igreja da Graça. The azulejos inside the church alone are worth the visit. The cloister of the adjoining, former Augustinian convent seems in need of renovation.

Miradouro and Convento da Graça
Panorama below the Miradouro da Graça
Miradouro da Graça - Church of Graça
Azulejos in the Igreja da Graça

Portas do Sol viewpoint

The "portal to the sun" is located at Largo das Portas do Sol. Surrounded by restaurants and bars, the viewpoint offers views of the Tagus River, the new cruise terminal Jardim do Tabaco, the higher monastery of São Vicente de Fora, and the National Pantheon.

Portas do Sol viewpoint


Portas do Sol viewpoint


Restaurants at Miradouro das Portas do Sol


Restaurants at Miradouro das Portas do Sol 


Miradouro de Santa Luzia

A little below the Miradouro das Portas do Sol is the Miradouro de Santa Luzia. The square also offers unique views of the Tejo. Next to the Miradouro is the Church of Santa Luzia. On one side, azulejos reflect the history of Lisbon before the mid-18th century earthquake.

Miradouro de Santa Luzia - Tabaco Quay Cruise Terminal


Miradouro de Santa Luzia - Tabaco Quay Cruise Terminal


Miradouro de Santa Luzia - Church of Santa Luzia


Miradouro de Santa Luzia - Church of Santa Luzia 


Viewpoints in the Bairro Alto

Lisbon has a number of other viewing platforms. Visitors are spoiled for choice as to which view to choose. In addition to the four designated points of the Alfama district, we recommend the tree-lined Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. It is located above the Praça Dom Pedro IV and offers a panoramic view of the city and the opposite Castelo de São Jorge.

Viewpoint of São Pedro de Alcântara


Viewpoint of São Pedro de Alcântara


Castelo de sao jorge


Castelo de sao jorge 


Lisbon's Elevadore and Ascensore

Lisbon's elevators facilitate access to the city's high elevations. The technical concepts of the ascent aids differ significantly from each other.

Santa Justa Elevator

Located in the Baixa, the Elevador de Santa Justa is a 45 meter high cast iron passenger elevator. A student of Gustave Eiffel (Eiffel Tower) designed the steel structure. The elevator's two wood-paneled cabins can accommodate a maximum of 24 people. They transport passengers from street level up to the upper town.

Location: Rua do Ouro

Santa Justa Elevator

Santa Justa Elevator


Long queues often form at the lower entrance to the Elevador at peak times. We recommend starting by visiting the Upper Town first. To go up there we take the Elevador da Gloria funicular. After visiting the Bairro Alto we take the elevator down to the Baixa.

Lisbon stairs

Lisbon stairs


Ascensor da Gloria

Since 1885, this funicular has connected the Praça dos Restauradores with the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara with a jerky ride and an incline of up to 20 percent. The wagons can accommodate up to 42 passengers. Until they were electrified in 1915, the carriages were lit by candles.

Ascensor da Gloria

Ascensor da Gloria


Spout Elevator

The funicular runs from Rua de São Paulo in the lower town to Largo do Calhariz in the upper town. The difference in height is 45 meters; the route is 260 meters long. The facility, which was put into operation in 1892, is a "Monumento Nacional". The wagons were adapted to the unusual incline in the form of steps.

Elevator Castelo

The Elevador Castelo connects the Baixa with the Castelo de São Jorge. Definitely two separate elevators. The first section, the Elevador Castelo, starts in the Baixa. The entrance is on Rua dos Fanqueiros and the ride ends on Rua da Madalena. From there, a second elevator goes up to Largo Chão do Loureiro.

Lisbon's cultural center and museums

The Centro Cultural de Belém is Portugal's unique, huge cultural center. The Museu Coleção Berardo art gallery, a conference center, a drama center as well as shops and cafés are located in five buildings on an area of ​​97.000 square meters. The Museu Coleção Berardo houses modern and contemporary art. All well-known artists are represented in the collection.

Belém Cultural Center

Belém Cultural Center


Lisbon has countless museums. Other noteworthy institutions are the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and the Museu Nacional do Azulejo. The Museu Gulbenkian presents Egyptian, Greek, Islamic and Roman art objects. The collection of European paintings and sculptures is also worth seeing. The Museu Nacional do Azulejo has a comprehensive collection of tiles.

The Parque Eduardo VII de Inglaterra

Lisbon's largest inner-city park adjoins the Praça Marquês de Pombal. It was named after the British King Edward VII, who visited Lisbon in 1903. The 26 hectare facility has the shape of a trapezium. Symmetrically arranged hedges run through the park. It is considered the "green extension" of Avenida da Liberdade. Visitors to the green area enjoy the view between the castle hill and the Barrio Alto down to the Tagus.

Eduardo VII Park in Inglaterra


Eduardo VII Park in Inglaterra


Eduardo VII Park in Inglaterra


Eduardo VII Park in Inglaterra 


The special undertaking - a trip on the Eléctrico 28E

A very special experience is a ride on the historic Eléctrico 28E tram. The train runs from the lower town up to Largo da Graça.

Historic Tram Electrico 28E

Historic Tram Electrico 28E


Passengers see Lisbon's most beautiful streets and squares as they travel. Unfortunately, the tiny wagons are often overcrowded. In such cases it is advisable to wait for the next train and hope that it is less frequented.

Ticket prices: 3 euros. The 24-hour Lisbon public transport ticket can be used to travel on the Eléctrico 28E.

Cristo Rei statue

The Cristo Rei statue, inaugurated in 1959 in the suburb of Almada, is clearly visible from the Discovery Monument. It resembles the statue of Christ on Corcovado Hill in Rio de Janeiro. A lift takes visitors to the 75 meter high base of Christ the Redeemer, the statue alone is 28 meters high.

Cristo Rei statue


Cristo Rei statue


Ponte 25 de Abril below the Cristo Rei statue


Ponte 25 de Abril below the Cristo Rei statue 


From the platform, visitors can see the Tejo, the double-decker bridge Ponte 25 de Abril and the city center opposite.

Update May 2022

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