With a history thousand of years old, Lisbon was colonized by Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors before finally being reconquered by Christians some centuries later. In Europe’s westernmost capital, the river Tagus flows endlessly into the vast Atlantic Ocean, and, spread over seven hills, Lisbon’s typical “bairros” abound with life, each with its own unique atmosphere.
The majestic S. Jorge Castle, which was conquered by the Moors in 1147, towers above the famous Alfama district of the city. Once one of the capital’s main defence bulwarks, its magnificent panorama affords a very special view over the city and the river.
At the foot of the castle, visitors can experience the bustle of the old city with its characteristic squares; Rossio, Praça da Figueira and Praça do Comércio, the commerce of Rua Augusta with its imposing arch, Rua do Ouro (Gold Street), Rua da Prata (Silver Street), their names suggesting their principal trade in times gone by. On the hill facing the castle is another of Lisbon’s famous areas – Bairro Alto – a nightlife zone par excellence, an enormous attraction for visitors to the city, offering traditional “vadio” and folklore/fado restaurants.
The “Adega do Machado”, “Faia” and “Severa”, each with a long and extremely rich history, were, and still are, the principal venues in Lisbon for fado music, immortalized by Amália Rodrigues.
In the eastern part of the city is another area full of history; Belém. Famous for its fabulous pastries or “pastéis”, Belém boasts some of Lisbon’s most impressive monuments; the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument dedicated to the Discoverers, the Belém Cultural Centre, Belém Palace, the President’s official residence and the famous Belém Tower.
Lisbon (“menina e moça – child and damsel” as it was formerly known) is a city in which visitors will constantly make new and surprising discoveries. They will be fascinated by its charm, leaving them with something so frequently expressed in fado… “saudade”, the longing for someone who was once here.
Have a look at our suggestions of sightseeing tours to visit Lisbon and its surroundings:
- Lisbon and Fátima
- Lisbon and Sintra
- Fátima (full day)
- Fátima (half day)
- Sintra Deluxe
- Sintra (half day)
- Lisbon by night
- Lisbon River Cruise