Having fun in Lisbon
Ascensor da Bica
Lisbon is the perfect weekend trip! Everything is within walking distance as you walk through nice quartiers on narrow stonecobbled streets passing by restaurants and bars. Adding to that you can take one of the trams that climb up the hills.
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and about 500 000 people live in the city. Including suburbs more than 2,8 million live their lives in this lovely capital.
The small size of Lisbon makes it perfect for long walks even though it is really fun going with the funiculars (3:80 Euros for two rides) or trams.
There are three funiculars climbing up the hills of Lisbon: Ascensor da Bica connecting Rua de Sao Paolo and Largo do Calhariz, Ascensor da Glória connecting Praca da Restauradores and Calcada da Glória and Ascensor do Lavra connecting Calcada do Lavra and Jardim to Torel. All the funiculars are from the 19th century.
The funiculars and trams are part of Lisbons public transport network.
Walking the streets and hills of Lisbon
Following this walking guide takes you past all the lovely quartiers of Lisbon passing by all the famous spots and some great restaurants.
Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Start at the large square by the river Tajo at Praca do Comercio and walk east to the bairro Alfama, the oldest part of Lisbon. Then head upwards to Castelo de Sao Jorge.
"The Alfama is a lovely lush part of Lisbon with
stonecobbled narrow streets and lots of restaurants, bars and cafés."
The Alfama is a lovely lush part of Lisbon with trees along the narrow streets and lots of restaurants, bars and cafés. Stop by on your way up at the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and admire the views.
It is well worth it to enter the Castelo de Sao Jorge. From the terraces around the castel you have stunning views of Lisbon and the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge. The bridge is more or less a copy of San Fransisco´s famous Golden Gate bridge.
After visiting the Castelo head down to Martim Moniz to go with the tram number 28 for a sightseeing tour through the bairros (quartiers) of Lisbon.
The starting point for the tram number 28 is on the eastern side of Martim Moniz, a large square in the center of Lisbon. There is a queu here if you want to sit during the ride (approximately 20-30 minutes). If you are willing to stand you can pass by the queu when the driver calls for standing passengers or you can walk to the next stop on the north side of the square.
"Get off at bairro Alto even though the tram
continues to Campo de Ourique."
Get off at Bairro Alto (the high quartier) even though the tram continues to Campo de Ourique.
We went all the way to Campo de Ourique and ended up having to stand in another queu to get on the tram back or taking an Uber back to bairro Alto. We did the last thing. There did not seem to be anything to see at the end station unless you are interested in something special there.
At bairro Alto you might want to have a coffe or lunch break before you head down to bairro Baja (the low quartiers). The Abrisiliera is a famous café in Lisbon - full of tourists. You can easily find another really nice café nearby if you prefer that.
If you are ready for lunch you have the famous Bairro do Alvarez nearby. At Alvarez there are two different restaurants, Taberna and Pateo, in different price classes, from tapas to a la carte.
From bairro alto, take the instagram friendly funicular da Bica (3:80 Euros for two trips on any of the three funiculars) down and walk to the Mercado de Ribeira - the Time Out food hall.
Time out is a trending place for food lovers with lots of different shops offering local portuguesian food at prices around 10-15 Euros. It is really worth visiting! You are now also really close to bairro Bajo where you find a lot of shops.
Portugal is famous for the Fado, a sentimental, melancholic singing often performed ad bars, cafés and restaurants. The genre originated in Portugal in the 1820s. There are lots of restaurants where you can listen to Fado in the evening and it might be hard to choose.
"Fado is a sentimental, melancholic singing
often performed at bars, cafés and restaurants."
We ended up at a place in the bairro Alto called Mascote da Ataila (pre booking necessary) where you eat a three course dinner for 25 Euros while listening to Fado. Two sittings each evening, at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. It is a simple, familiar and small place.
Most people visiting Lisbon follow the coast line to see the Belem tower and the Padrao dos Descrobimentos. These are about 5 kilometres from Praca do Comercio. You can get there by train (from station Cais do Sodre), by bike or Uber.
Nearby is also the gallery Cordoaria Nacional which attracts some famous exhibitions like Banksy.
Where to stay?
Airbnb provides a lot of options. Next time we would choose to stay in the Alfama quartiers.
During our visit we ran the Lisbon marathon heading back home the same day so we wanted to stay at a SPA-hotel near the finish at Praca do Comercio. That limited the number of hotels and we ended up staying at Eurostars hotel. It was nice and comfortable with a good location but not so personal.
How to get to Lisbon from Lisbon airport?
You reach Lisbon city center by public transportation for about 6 Euros by the metro to the Orient station. This takes a little less than 10 minutes. From there you change metros.
Another option is Uber for 10-25 Euros.
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