Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, as well as its largest city. It is also one of the oldest cities in the world. This easy-going city is the only European capital on the Atlantic coast. Stunning medieval architecture along with modern-day infrastructure has made Lisbon a major tourist destination of the region. The city is a center of arts, commerce, and entertainment, attracting tourists from all corners of the world. Its inviting weather means Lisbon can be visited anytime of the year. Here is our pick of 10 attractions that you should not miss when visiting the Portuguese capital.
- Gulbenkian Museum
The Gulbenkian Museum is located in the Avenidas Novas neighborhood of Lisbon. It has a small but highly acclaimed display of artworks from the private collection of the former American oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian. These artworks are now a part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation which is headquartered in Lisbon. Iconic painters whose works are on display include Rembrandt, Monet, and Renoir. There is also a collection of Persian porcelain, Lalique jewelry, and Chinese jade.
- Santa Justa Elevator
The Santa Justa Elevator is one of the unique attractions of Lisbon. Completed in 1902, this elevator connects the lower streets of the Baixa neighborhood with the Como Square on elevated grounds. It is a major tourist attraction for being the only existing vertical lift in the city of this type; the rest are more like funicular railways. Once you reach the top through the elevator, there are beautiful sweeping views of the Baixa neighborhood.
- Rossio Square
Also known as the Pedro IV Square, the Rossio Square is one of the historically most significant squares of the city. It is located in the Pombaline Downtown neighborhood of Lisbon. The Square has been in existence since the Middle Ages and has been witness to many revolts, executions, bullfights, celebrations, and major events. Today, the Square is a popular meeting place for locals and tourists alike. There are a number of shops and cafes in the Square that date back to the 18th century. The Square is named after the former King of Portugal Pedro IV, whose statue can be seen on the Column of Pedro.
- Monument to the Discoveries
Located close to the Jeronimos Monastery and the Belem Tower is a monument that pays homage to the Age of Discoveries, a golden period in the history of Portugal. During that period, mighty Portuguese sailors traveled to the Far East, discovering many new lands. This 52-meter-high concrete monument depicts the form of a medieval ship with sails unfurled. It was inaugurated in 1960 which marked 500 years since the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, the pioneer behind Portugal’s Age of Discoveries. Statues of several leading figures from Portuguese history are seen on that ship. Led by Prince Henry, there are statues of Vasco da Gama, Pedro Alvares Cabral, and Diogo Cao, to name a few. There is an interesting display on the history of Portugal inside the monument.
- Aguas Livres Aqueduct
The Aguas Livres Aqueduct, or the Aqueduct of Free Waters, is one of the most prominent historical monuments in the city of Lisbon. The huge aqueduct started operating the in the mid-18th century and is considered to be one of the best examples of Portuguese engineering. The tallest arch of the aqueduct reaches a height of 65 meters. It was commissioned by King John V to address the drinking water shortage of the city. The Aqueduct can be visited through the Water Museum.
Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon and a must-visit attraction for the tourists. Situated right on the waterfront on the bank of the River Tejo, Alfama has retained an old-world charm that will transport you back to the medieval days. Some parts of the district date back to the Moorish Period. The magnificent saint George Castle forms the backdrop of Alfama. Take a walk along the historical narrow streets of the quarter to have a feel of the place. Alternatively, you can take the Tram No. 28 to explore the area. There are plenty of Fado bars where you can enjoy a good helping of traditional Portuguese food and music.
- Castelo de Sao Jorge
The Saint George Castle is located on a hilltop in the Baixa neighborhood of Lisbon. It is the most notable historical landmark and one of the major tourist attractions of the city. The earliest fortification on the hilltop dates back to the 2nd century BC, but the present structure was commissioned by the Moorish king Afonso Henriques in 1147. The castle was severely damaged in an earthquake in 1755 and was subsequently renovated to its present form. The palace complex has several Moorish foundations including the Alacova Palace. You can have spectacular panoramic views of the city of Lisbon from the castle complex.
- Lisbon Oceanarium
The Lisbon Oceanarium is one the relatively newer attractions in the city. It opened its doors to the public in 1998 and is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. It has grown into one of the major tourist attractions of Lisbon, with nearly a million visitors every year. The Lisbon Oceanarium has nearly 16,000 marine animals belonging to 450 different species. Some of the its most popular residents are sunfish, sharks, rays, penguins, and barracudas.
- Jeronimos Monastery
The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, or Jeronimos Monastery is located in Lisbon, just a block away from the River Tagus. This magnificent grand structure was completed in 1601 after nearly 100 years of construction! This building remains as one of the finest examples of the Manueline style of architecture, which is richly ornate with depictions of maritime sculptural themes. Saint Jerome is featured in various places throughout this former monastery through sculptures, paintings, and stained glass. The interior is very richly designed and is home to several royal tombs. The monastery premises also house the National Archaeological Museum and the Maritime Museum. The Jeronimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the neighboring Torre de Belem.
- Torre de Belem
Also known as the Tower of St. Vincent, this is one of the most iconic landmarks of Lisbon. This limestone fortified tower was completed in 1521 on an island in the River Tagus. A subsequent redirection of the river after the devastating 1755 earthquake linked that island to the mainland. The Torre de Belem is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the neighboring Jeronimos Monastery. It is one of the most loved architectural symbols from the Age of Discovery — a period in the history of Portugal that resonates its numerous naval expeditions across the globe.
Originally posted 2017-06-01 06:57:01.