Lisbon is a city with a warm, glowing light, inhabited by some of the friendliest and most welcoming people in Europe and overflowing with rich history and culture. Its flavorful and varied cuisine will leave you wanting more, and its cosmopolitan, vibrant lifestyle contrasting with deep traditions and historic neighborhoods will make you want to stay. Staying in central Lisbon immerses you in the heart and soul of this marvelous city and makes its top locations and attractions easily accessible.
Here’s a guide to help you experience the best in Lisbon, even if you have only 24 hours. By the time the day has ended, youíll be planning your return.
Baixa de Lisboa
Walk down one of the cityís widest and most beautiful boulevards, the Avenida da Liberdade, to Lisbonís downtown (commonly known as Baixa). Take your time and enjoy the traditional, ornamented sidewalks and the city’s architecture ñ for example, Rossioís Train Station, the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, and the Elevador de Santa Justa.
Saunter down Rua Augusta, Lisbonís main pedestrian street, all the way to the Arco da Rua Augusta where you can go up to the top and enjoy a 360-degree view looking over the river and the cityís downtown area.
Alfama, GraÁa and Castelo
While still in downtown, hop on the famous ElÈctrico 28 towards the Alfama, GraÁa, and Castelo neighbourhoods. Here, discover an authentic and genuine Lisbon, the Castelo de S„o Jorge, and stunning views over the city and the river at viewpoints such as Miradouro das Portas do Sol or Miradouro da GraÁa. If you happen to be in this area on a Tuesday or Saturday morning, be sure to visit Lisbonís biggest and oldest Flea Market, the Feira da Ladra, in Alfama, for a great local experience. Heading back towards the downtown area again, stop to visit the SÈ de Lisboa. The Romanesque-Gothic cathedral was founded in 1147 and is a symbol of the Christian Reconquest of the area.
After lunch, head on out to the BelÈm neighbourhood for a journey through the Golden Age of Discoveries. This is where youíll find some of the most famous monuments in Lisbon such as the Mosteiro dos JerÛnimos with its Late Gothic Manueline architecture, the Torre de BelÈm or the Padr„o dos Descobrimentos, a monument built in honour of the brave and fearless sailors that once embarked on quests to discover the world. Still in BelÈm, make sure to taste the delicious traditional pastry called ìPastel de BelÈmî at the famous pastry shop PastÈis de BelÈm.
Chiado and Bairro Alto
Return to the downtown area and get on the Elevador de Santa Justa that will take you to the Chiado and Bairro Alto neighbourhoods. Visit the ruins of the Convento do Carmo, walk around beautiful buildings and have an espresso next to the statue of one of the most famous Portuguese writers of all time, Fernando Pessoa, at the CafÈ A Brasileira. Get lost in the Bairro Altoís streets where youíll find hip cafes, shops, and restaurants side by side with traditional grocery shops, barber shops, and drugstores.
Bairro Alto and Cais do SodrÈ
Still at the Bairro Alto, stay for dinner at one of the many great restaurants scattered throughout, for example, the Adega Machado or the 100 Maneiras. If, after dinner, you feel like the night is still young, then mingle with the locals and go for a drink in one of the bars in the area or head on down to the lively Pink Street at Cais do SodrÈ, an area filled with bars and discos.
Lisbon has so much to offer, and will always make you feel welcome no matter how many times you visit.