Lisbon, Portugal's capital, is known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic". If you are planning a visit to Lisbon and want to get a taste of this wonderful city, there are some areas that are must-sees. Lisbon is often confused with Rio de Janeiro because of their similar time zone. In fact, there is a Brazilian airline (TAP) which has created an Airbus A319 aircraft bearing both cities' names on its tail.
A ferry ride is always a great way to take a tour of the city. The ferry dock at Lisbon's port is located near Cais do Sodre, which is one of the main touristic areas in Lisbon.
Lisbon has many fascinating places to visit; some are famous landmarks and popular among both locals and tourists alike, while others are lesser-known attractions.
Sao Jorge Castle
The São Jorge Castle has been one of the most recognizable symbols of Lisbon for over seven centuries. It sits at the top of Castelo de São Jorge hill, in the center of Lisbon, overlooking the Tagus River and the rest of the city. In fact, the castle's presence is so prominent it can easily be seen from all around the city.
The Jerónimos Monastery
The Jerónimos Monastery was founded in 1495. It is located on the opposite side of São Jorge Castle and part of its original design was meant to protect it. The monastery was built in a Gothic style and has a few different structures that all have their own unique significance: the Tower of Belém, the Sacristy (where Portugal's National Anthem was written), and admittance to some places were only available through special rituals.
Lisbon is a city filled with historic architecture; many buildings date back centuries or more, even though Lisbon's population has blossomed over the years.
Paços do Concelho
Some of the oldest buildings still standing in Lisbon include the Misericórdia Church and Paços do Concelho. The Church was built in mid 1500s by King Philip II and is located between Campo de Ourique and Avenida da Liberdade. It's striking combination of Portuguese baroque and Manueline styles makes it one of the most beautiful churches in Lisbon, whether you are a devout Christian or not.
Paços do Concelho
The Paços do Concelho building is a historic 16th-century building that now serves as Lisbon's Town Hall; it's located close to São Vicente de Fora Church. The building was originally constructed as a palace for the King, but it was turned into the city's Town Hall in 1834.
Lisbon is not only known for its history, but its views as well. Located in Lisbon's hilltop district, the Castle of Saint George overlooks the city and holds spectacular views of Lisbon. It is one of two castles located close to Lisbon which sit atop hills; the other being São Jorge Castle. The castle has been an icon in Portugal for centuries, and it is featured on all Portuguese 20 cent coins. The castle was originally built in 1385 by King John I of Portugal and has been restored many times through centuries.
Lisbon is a city full of life, and there are many great places to enjoy the city. The Bairro Alto neighborhood has some of the most lively nightlife but during the day, Lisbon is full of great views and plenty to do. There are restaurants, cafes, markets, shops and beautiful architectural sights.
Lisbon is always thriving with activity; there is always something going on in Lisbon. From large festivals to small fairs, it's easy to get a taste of what makes this Portuguese capital so vibrant and alive.
Flea Market, Feira de Ladra
The Feira da Ladra (Flea Market) is held in Alfama and gives locals the opportunity to sell their old stuff (as well as new things). In fact, it is one of the most popular and well-known flea markets in the world. It's also a great place to buy local Portuguese crafts, clothing and food.
The Mercado do Bolhão vendors come into the Feira da Ladra every weekend and set up booths to sell their goods as well as food. It is a great place to find authentic Portuguese foods like caviar, pão de queijo (cheese bread), and some of Portugal's best wines. If you're looking to experience some culture and tradition, this is where you'll find it in abundance!
Carnaval dos Artistas
The Carnaval dos Artistas (Carnival for Artists) is one of Lisbon's most famous festivals. It began as a street carnival but has grown bigger and better with time. It is held in different locations throughout the city and is open to all; visitors and residents are welcome to join in the festivities. The festival spans over a few days with festivities and activities going into the wee hours of the night. People dress up in colorful costumes which range from costumes of famous people to skits that highlight current events. There are also live concerts and dancing, food vendors, art exhibitions, parades, comedy shows, musical shows, theater productions and other forms of entertainment which vary each year depending on what the performers decide.
The Carnaval dos Artistas is not a place you want to miss. It attracts millions of visitors every year and is the kind of place you can't forget once you see it.
Lisbon Book Fair
The Lisbon Book Fair is one of the world's largest book fairs, attracting approximately 120,000 visitors. The fair is held for two weeks in March and features over 900 publishers and writers from all around the world. There are book signings, readings, lectures, workshops and more. The Book Fair has been held in Lisbon since 1930; it has grown to be one of the most recognizable events in Lisbon.
Lisbon International Film Festival
The Lisbon International Film Festival is held every other year in November and is one of the biggest film festivals in Europe. Not only is is a great way to enjoy Portugal's rich history, but there are plenty of great movies to enjoy as well. The festival shows a wide variety of films from different countries and genres, as well as various events related to the film industry. There are literary sessions, special presentations, exhibits and more. This two-week long event attracts over 100,000 visitors every other year; it's definitely something you don't want to miss out on if you're visiting Lisbon.
Lisbon has some of the best beaches in Europe, so it's no wonder why this is the number one pastime in the city. Beaches line the coast for miles and range from private beaches to public beaches; there are many different options depending on your preference. The popular beaches are protected by stone barriers which prevent waves from being too strong, making it safe for children to play in the water or have a good time without any worries.
The nightlife is also very fun and interesting; there are places to dance until late at night which makes Lisbon an awesome place for young travelers who may want some time out from their travels.