Six Places to Explore in Lisbon, Portugal May 2, 2017 by Sarah (Awesome Escape Blogger)
Lisbon, the charming capital of Portugal, is a coastal city known for its café culture and soulful “Fado” music. If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Portugal, Lisbon needs to be on your list of places to see. Here are some of the top activities and attractions you can go to while in Lisbon, from cultural landmarks to relaxing getaways. Sit down at one of the outdoor cafes and bask in the Mediterranean sun, absorbing the city of Lisbon.
See the Belém Tower
The Belém Tower, also known as The Tower of St. Vincent, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Portuguese built the tower in the early 16th century from lioz limestone in a sumptuous style at the mouth of the Tagus River as a ceremonial gateway to the city. The tower incorporates sculptures depicting historical figures and stonework motifs representing the discovery of the New World. It’s so beautiful that it was listed as one of the “Seven Wonders of Portugal."
Check out the Lisbon Oceanarium
The Lisbon Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe, housing a large collection of marine animals such as penguins, birds, seahorses, rays, sharks, corals, octopi, and sea snails. There are a grand total of 16,000 marine organisms from 450 different species. It’s one of the few aquariums in the entire world to house ocean sunfish because of the delicate care that they require. The bizarre fish is worth the effort, though, it’s a true alien from the deeps! Definitely something to consider checking out while you’re visiting.
Visit the Jerónimos Monastery
This monastery is another UNESCO listed attraction in Lisbon, not far from the Belem Tower, and it looks like something that is pure fantasy. It was once home to monks of the Order of St Jerome, whose job was to comfort sailors and pray for the king’s soul. On the inside, it’s covered with an extreme amount of detail work and even gargoyles on the upper balustrade. It took a hundred years to carve the ornate stone decorations and only the monks and the royal family could enter. Now, you can walk in the footsteps of kings.
See the São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle is a castle in Lisbon occupying a commanding hilltop that overlooks the whole center of Lisbon. It dates back to the medieval period and was originally built by invading Moors. The government tore down centuries of ruined buildings and revealed the original castle, which still has impressive stone walls providing amazing views of the city. It’s definitely one of the main tourist attractions in Lisbon.
Visit the National Coach Museum
The National Coach Museum is home to some of the finest collections of carriages in the entire world and is one of the busiest museums in the entire city of Lisbon. The museum is inside the old Horse Riding Arena of the Belém Palace, which is formally a Royal Palace and is now the official residence of the President of Portugal. The rarest items are carriages dating back to the late 16th century that belonged to King Phillip II of Portugal. If you love history, this is a place you need to see.
Have Coffee at Praça do Comércio
The Praça do Comércio, or “Commerce Square,” is a beautiful plaza where the Royal Ribeira Palace once stood. But when an earthquake damaged the palace in 1755 the king had it demolished, leaving room for the square, and it was completely remodeled as part of the rebuilding of the downtown core. At the center of the square is a huge statue of Dom Jose I, which is a symbol of the history of the city before the earthquake. Sit down at one of the outdoor cafes and bask in the Mediterranean sun, soaking in the city of Lisbon.