Overview: History has shaped the capital with a succession of influences, most notably the Moors who occupied the city for more than 400 years. ... more »
Overview: History has shaped the capital with a succession of influences, most notably the Moors who occupied the city for more than 400 years. ... more »Over the centuries, Portugal has shared the experiences of the rest of Europe, examples of which can be seen in Lisbon's 12th-century Romanesque cathedral and in the pure classicism of São Vicente de Fora church. Named after the king in whose reign it emerged, the late 15th- and early 16th-century Manueline architectural twist reflects Portugal at the height of its power. Developed in the early 18th century, the elaborately ornate Baroque and Rococo styles were both well suited to the nation's upbeat attitude at a time when the riches of the Portuguese Empire were pouring into Lisbon. less «
Tips: This is quite a long half-day tour and requires both very comfortable footwear and plenty of free space on the camera's memory card... more » because there's much to see in the form of interesting buildings and absorbing city views. less «
Bordering the Alfama district close to the river in Rua dos Bacalhoeiros, the Casa dos Bicos (House of the Pointed Stones) was constructed at the beginning of the 16th century and is an adaptation of the Early Italian Renaissance style. Now the headquarters of the José Saramago Foundation, the building stands out for the uniqueness of its... More façade made up of pyramid-shaped pointed stones. Polished like diamonds, the stones seem to protect the building from the outside world although the great earthquake of 1755 destroyed the top two of its original four floors, but the restoration of the upper floors gives visitors a good idea of how the building looked when it was first built.
Casa dos Bicos
Rua dos Bacalhoeiros
(+351) 218 802 040
josesaramago.blogs.sapo.pt/99353.html (Portuguese and Spanish only)
Children: €2 (free for kids aged 12 and under)
Turning right along Rua da Alfândega you can see the intricately-carved Manueline-style doorway of the Conceição Velha church on your right. Continuing along the road brings you to Praça do Comércio, the heart of the rectangular, geometrically ordered architecture of Lisbon's downtown Baixa district, the layout of... More which being accredited to one man – Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, better known as the Marquês de Pombal. For the first time in modern Europe, he systematically designed the city single-handed after the great earthquake of 1755. Driven by the famous words 'bury the dead and care for the living,' his distinguished design pointed the way for city planning in the future and his early example of contemporary town planning is as practical today as it was during his time.Less
In Lisbon, visitors cannot help but notice the delightful painted tiles known as azulejos that adorn many of the city's buildings, both outside and in. This attractive architectural accessory was introduced by the Moors who occupied Lisbon for more than 400 years. The word azulejo derives from the Arabic al zulaich (which means shiny stone) and... More there are many examples to be seen in and around the capital.
Tip: Azulejos can be purchased quite cheaply in souvenir shops around town. They're light, don't take up much luggage space and make very nice presents for friends and family back home.Less
From Praça do Comércio, the walk up Rua Augusta (Lisbon's main shopping street) takes you under the city's impressive triumphal arch. As you near the top of the street, Portugal's grand national theatre building starts to come into view. Named after the daughter of Dom Pedro, Brazil's first ruler, the imposing Neoclassical edifice... More was built in the 1840s by the Italian architect Fortunato Lodi and features a statue of Gil Vicent, Portugal's earliest dramatist, at the top.
Teatro Nacional D. Maria II
Praça D. Pedro IV (Rossio)
(+351) 213 250 800
www.teatro-dmaria.pt (in Portuguese only)
Generally open for performances only, there are guided tours of the theatre on Mondays at 11.30am and tickets cost €6 for everyone.Less
Accessing Rua do Carmo from the south-western corner of Rossio square leads you up to the Chiado district, bypassing the filigree-style Santa Justa elevator on your left, one of the most impressive examples of architectural engineering in southern Europe. Turning right into Rua Garrett at the top and left into Rua Serpa Pinto brings you to... More Lisbon's São Carlos opera house which dates from 1793 and is reputedly Portugal's earliest example of Neoclassical architecture. Inspired by the San Carlo theatre in Naples, the building boasts a beautifully proportioned façade and an interior rich in gold and red velvet.
Teatro Nacional de São Carlos
Rua Serpa Pinto 9
(+351) 213 253 000
São Carlos Theatre is generally only open for performances but guided visits for small groups can be booked in advance by e-mail to email@example.com.Less
The tour continues through the heart of the Chiado district, one of the oldest and most fascinating parts of Lisbon. The route west from Praça Luís de Camões is a roller coaster of a road, rising and descending and eventually rising again towards São Bento Palace, Portugal's very own Houses of Parliament. Standing on... More the former site of a 16th century Benedictine monastery, the massive white Neoclassical building has been the seat of the Portuguese government since 1834.
Palácio de São Bento
(+351) 213 919 000
Not generally open to the public, 90-minute guided tours are available on the last Saturday of each month starting at 3pm but need to be booked well in advance. For enquiries, contact the parliamentary public relations office at firstname.lastname@example.org.Less
Continuing west along Calçada da Estrela brings you to the strikingly impressive Basílica da Estrela. Built by Queen Maria I at the end of the 18th century as a token of thanks for bearing a son, this church of shimmering white stone is believed to be the last large-scale Baroque church to have been built in western Europe. Key... More features are the huge dome, one of the emblematic features of Lisbon's skyline, along with the Christmas crib with life-size figures carved by Joaquim Machado de Castro (1731-1822).
Basílica da Estrela
Largo da Estrela
(+351) 213 960 915
The walk through Estrela's lovely gardens opposite the basilica picks up the main thread of the tour along Rua da Estrela and into Rua Silva Carvalho, eventually bringing you to the iconic Amoreiras towers. In 1985, architect Tomás Taveira altered the cityscape by unveiling his idea of how a late 20th century building should look. The... More famous pink, grey and black glass tower blocks stand as Lisbon's best example of post-modern architecture, with the ground floors occupied by dozens of restaurants and more than 250 shops.
Amoreiras Shopping Center
Avenida Eng. Duarte Pacheco
(+351) 213 810 200
A short walk north of Amoreiras shopping centre along Rua Professor Sousa da Câmara brings you to Calçada da Quintinha and the entrance to the amazing Águas Livres Aqueduct. Built in the 18th century, the entire structure stretches 19 kilometres and comprises 109 arches in total, 14 of which link the city centre with Monsanto... More Forest across the Alcântara Valley, allowing visitors an exhilarating walk along the top. Having somehow withstood the devastating tremors of the great earthquake in 1755, the tallest of the arches stands at 65 metres and is said to be the highest of any of the world's ancient structures.
Aqueduto das Águas Livres
Calçada da Quintinha 6
(+351) 213 251 652
Children: €1 (free for kids aged 12 and under)
A family ticket costs just €6 and is good for up to 4 adults
March 1-November 30
Closed in winterLess