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7 Must-See Places in Lisbon
Lisbon is the vibrant capital of Portugal. One of the oldest cities in Europe, it has a unique blend of culture, architecture, and stunning scenery. From ancient monuments to modern art galleries, there is something for everyone in Lisbon. Here are seven must-see places in Lisbon you won’t want to miss.
1. Belém Tower
This iconic 16th-century tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Lisbon. Built of limestone and decorated with exquisite Manueline-style stone carvings, Belém Tower stands at the mouth of the Tagus River. It was built as a fortress to protect the city from foreign invaders and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a guided tour of the tower’s interior and admire the intricate stonework, historic cannons, and majestic views of the river.
Visit the nearby Jerónimos Monastery, another world-famous UNESCO site, and take a stroll along the waterfront in the picturesque Belém district. Don’t forget to sample the local specialty, pastéis de Belém, a delicious custard tart made with cinnamon and sugar.
2. Lisbon Oceanarium
Explore the wonders of the deep at the Lisbon Oceanarium. It is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe and home to over 500 species of marine life. The Oceanarium is divided into four distinct habitats, each one a replica of a real-life ocean environment. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the underwater tunnels and glass-bottomed boats and come face-to-face with friendly sea creatures, including seals, rays, sharks, and penguins.
The Oceanarium also has an interactive science center, where you can learn about marine biology, ocean conservation, and the importance of sustainable fishing practices. Don’t miss the special events and educational programs that are held throughout the year.
3. São Jorge Castle
Located on one of the seven hills of Lisbon, this 11th-century castle was once a royal palace and one of the most impressive fortresses in Europe. It was built to defend the city from invading forces and its walls are lined with ancient cannons, towers, and bastions. Explore the ruins of the castle and admire the spectacular views of the city below.
Take a guided tour of the castle’s interior and learn about its history. You can also visit the onsite museum, which showcases artifacts from the castle’s long and fascinating past. Don’t forget to take a break and enjoy a picnic on the grassy lawns around the castle.
4. Alfama District
Take a step back in time and explore the narrow alleyways and winding cobblestone streets of the Alfama district. This is one of the oldest and most charming parts of the city, and it’s full of hidden gems. Wander through the streets and snap photos of the colorful buildings and quaint shops. Don’t miss the Feira da Ladra flea market, where you can find antiques, artwork, and other unique souvenirs.
Be sure to check out the vibrant nightlife in the Alfama district. The streets come alive with the sound of traditional fado music, as locals gather in bars and restaurants to enjoy the melodic tunes. Take a fado music tour and explore the hidden restaurants and taverns, where you can sample the local cuisine and soak up the atmosphere.
5. Gulbenkian Museum
The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum is one of the finest art galleries in Lisbon. It houses an impressive collection of art and artifacts from around the world. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to modern paintings, the museum offers something for everyone. Take a guided tour and learn about the history of the collection and the life of its founder, Calouste Gulbenkian.
The museum also has an impressive modern art collection, which includes works by Picasso, Matisse, and other famous artists. Don’t miss the special exhibitions, which showcase a variety of works from different periods of art history.
6. Parque das Nações
Parque das Nações is a modern district located in the north of Lisbon. It was built for the 1998 World Exposition and is now one of the city’s top attractions. Take a stroll along the waterfront and admire the stunning views of the river and the surrounding area. Visit the Oceanário de Lisboa, the largest indoor aquarium in Europe, and explore its four distinct ocean environments. Don’t miss the interactive science center, where you can learn about marine biology and ocean conservation.
Parque das Nações is also home to a variety of other attractions, including the Lisbon Zoo, cable cars, and a paddleboat river cruise. Don’t miss the spectacular views of the Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest bridge in Europe.
7. Bairro Alto
The Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s trendiest neighborhoods. It’s full of lively bars, cozy cafes, and cutting-edge galleries. Take a stroll through the narrow streets and explore the vibrant nightlife. Be sure to check out the trendy restaurants and sample the local cuisine. Don’t miss the lively clubs and late-night parties, where you can dance the night away.
The Bairro Alto is also home to some of Lisbon’s best shopping. Browse the trendy boutiques and designer stores and pick up some unique souvenirs. Don’t miss the flea markets, where you can find antiques, artwork, and other unique items.
Lisbon is a vibrant and diverse city with something for everyone. From ancient monuments to modern attractions, there are plenty of must-see places in Lisbon. Visit the iconic Belém Tower, explore the wonders of the deep at the Lisbon Oceanarium, and wander through the narrow alleyways of the Alfama district. Take a step back in time and explore São Jorge Castle, and don’t miss the Gulbenkian Museum and the trendy Bairro Alto neighborhood. Finally, take a stroll through Parque das Nações and admire the stunning views of the Vasco da Gama Bridge. Whether you’re looking for culture, art, or nightlife, Lisbon has something for you.