Weekend in Lisbon
The capital of Portugal is a truly fascinating and evocative city. The best way to better appreciate it is to let yourself be carried away by instinct. Every place, foreshortening and monument, can give truly unique emotions! A weekend in Lisbon is not enough to fully appreciate the beauties of this city. With 3 or 4 days at your disposal, you can visit the capital at its best and, above all, make a stop in the beautiful Sintra, just 30 km away.
DAY 1 WEEKEND IN LISBON
The best way to start your holiday, or your weekend in Lisbon is starting from Baixa, a true symbol of the city, perfectly reconstructed after the tragic earthquake of 1755. The Baixa district is not only the emblem of hope and a reconstruction done in a precise and accurate way, but it is also a wonderful example of neoclassical architecture. The Marquis of Pombal, Prime Minister of King Josè I, rebuilt the area, with many streets dedicated exclusively to pedestrians and numerous bars, restaurants, shops, just as it appears today.
Rossio with the station, the Praca do Commercio and the Santa Justa lift are some of the symbolic places not to be missed during the weekend in Lisbon.
Rossio is the popular heart of Lisbon, a must for anyone passing through the Baixa. It is generally one of the starting points for discovering the city.
Rossio has returned to its former glory after the tragic earthquake of 1755, and today it is one of the places not to be missed. In every corner, relive the history of Lisbon. It was in this place that the main events of daily life took place; and it is here that we met for big events.
In the center of Praça Dom Pedro IV, stands the statue of Peter IV of Portugal, approximately 27 meters high.
The real symbol of the square is, however, the Estacao do Rossio, that is the Rossio Station. Splendid building that once housed the central station, and today the terminal of the lines arriving from the Sintra region and the Metro. Built in 1886/87 by Josè Luis Monteiro, it is in the “Neomanuelino” style. This style, named in honor of Manuel I of Portugal under whose reign (1495-1521) most of the buildings were built in this style. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful stations.
Not far away, do not miss Praca do Commercio, whose official name is Terreiro do Paço (Terrace of the Palace). It is one of the largest squares in Europe, with a square shape, with sides of 170 meters. Surrounded on three sides by beautiful buildings and two towers. One side of the square, on the other hand, overlooks the Tagus. The square was renamed Praca do Comercio, and all around the buildings were occupied by public offices that dealt with trade with the nearby port.
In 1775 the statue of King José I was raised. This bronze statue was designed by Joaquim Machado de Castro, one of the most famous sculptors of the time. Turning your back to the Tagus you find yourself in front of the Triumphal Arch or Da Bandeira.
Lisbon has seven hills, steep streets that connect different neighborhoods to each other: for this very reason the Elevador de Santa Justa was built. An extraordinary lift (1902) in Neo-Gothic style, completely in wrought iron, which connects the Baixa to the Chiado, 32 meters higher. Information on timetables and tickets from this link.
We recommend climbing it at least once, to enjoy the beautiful panorama, both day and night.
As soon as you get on the Santa Justa lift, in a parallel street, you will come across “O Purista barbershop“. In a real place of yesteryear, until 10pm, you can have your hair cut, or your beard fixed! In the large lounge, you can listen to music, drink excellent beers or, if you prefer, play carom. Drop by: an unusual and fun way to cut out during a weekend in Lisbon.
Climbed to the top with the Santa Justa lift, Chiado awaits you, a neighborhood severely damaged by the flames of 1988, and now perfectly reconstructed, and returned to its original appearance. It was the favorite place of Pessoa, a melancholy Portuguese poet and writer. Here, you will find fine shops, bookstores and theaters. One of the most famous meeting places, as well as the favorite of Pessoa who spent most of his days there, is the café A Brasileira located in Rua Garrett, the elegant street that cuts Chiado in two with patisseries, luxury shops and bookstores. Alternatively, in Tua do Loreto, you can taste excellent Pastéis al Manteigaria.
A truly beautiful place, ideal for a splendid stroll through alleys and squares. Not far away, a few minutes on foot, do not miss the Convento do Carmo, a church that was partially destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. It is accessed through a large Gothic portal. The nave without the roof, destroyed in the eighteenth century, is suggestive.
Hours: May/September: 10am – 6pm (Monday to Saturday); Closed: Sunday; October/April: 10am – 5pm
Whether or not you have managed to visit everything … it’s time for dinner! In the area, you can drop by the Babete Restaurante, a delightful place just a 5-minute walk from the Santa Justa lift. Here you can enjoy an excellent appetizer of clams and prawns, or salmon; Worthy of ending with the delicious chocolate cake.
DAY 2 WEEKEND IN LISBON
For the second stop of your weekend in Lisbon, you could start from Belém. From Praca do Comercio, it is possible to take Bus 728 and after 9 stops you get off at Belém; the journey follows the coast and takes about 20 minutes.
The neighborhood is located in the west of Lisbon, where some of the most important museums in the city are located. Right here, the imposing Jeronimos Monastery stands. In this neighborhood you can meet sportsmen, families, couples intent on enjoying the view or relaxing in the parks; there is a very quiet atmosphere, kissed by the sun with the wind in your hair, in what is the flagship of Lisbon.
The Belém district is very large, full of colorful gardens, and splendid monuments such as the Jerònimos Monastery and the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries). Among all, the Tower of Belém stands out, built to be the lighthouse and fortress of the port of Restelo. The peculiarity of the neighborhood lies precisely in the architectural style of its structures.
Attractions and monuments are concentrated within walking distance.
The Jeronimòs Monastery was built to demonstrate the political power of the Kingdom of Portugal, and also represents a sort of thanksgiving to God for the wealth encountered and brought home by Vasco de Gama, en route to the Indies. Due to its architectural uniqueness, the Monastery is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Info, timetables and tickets on our special page, from this link.
The Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), not far away, was built in 1960 to celebrate the Golden Age of discoveries made by Portuguese navigators between the 15th and 16th centuries. We recommend climbing to the top. From the height of its 52 meters, you can enjoy a spectacular view. You can also admire the large marble mosaic depicting a compass rose (arrived from South Africa), with a planisphere in the center showing all the territories touched by Portuguese navigators.
The building represents the prow of a ship that meets the Tagus River. At the end, Henry the Navigator is represented and behind him, in two rows descending from both sides of the monument, we recognize the Portuguese heroes who participated in the discoveries, including Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral and Ferdinando Magellano.
Open every day from March to September from 10:00 to 19:00. From October to February, open Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 18:00.
Prices: Adults from 26 to 64 years, €6.00. Over 65, pay the reduced rate of €5.00. Children aged 13 to 25 pay €3.00. €1.20 discount for Lisboa Card holders. For info and updates, we recommend the official website.
Between visits, you should definitely try the pasteis de Belém, in the ancient Antiga Confeitaria (ancient café) de Belém.
The Tower of Bélem played the triple role of lighthouse of the city, fortress in defense of the nearby Jerónimos Monastery and point of payment of the toll for the entry of ships into the city port. The monument, which integrates Venetian and Arab architectural elements, is a great example of the typical Manueline style, and is protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Info, timetables and tickets available on our special page, from this link.
Undoubtedly, this day spent entirely in the Belém district has taken away most of your physical and mental energies, which is why a trip to Os Jeronimòs is necessary, a place where you can enjoy excellent fish in a completely informal atmosphere. Here, you will feel right at home, with fair prices. It is located in Rua de Belém, not far from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, in front of the homonymous gardens. Speaking of the latter, it must be said that they are an excellent solution especially for families. In the splendid park, also known as the Vasco da Gama Gardens, there is a playground, ideal for children. A beautiful green pylon, quiet and well cared for.
DAY 3 WEEKEND IN LISBON
Hoping, as always, that you have booked your return flight in the late afternoon, once you have completed check-out and deposited your luggage at the hotel, Kanoa recommends a leisurely stroll in the Alfama district.
Hop on a tram, make yourself comfortable, and discover this beautiful district of Lisbon. The tram will take you through alleys just 4 meters wide, with gradients of up to 14%; its clothes hanging on the balconies, the cars parked in a disorderly way, and its incredibly picturesque setting… Alfama will enter your hearts.
Photo ©, Dguendel
Also based on the time available, the MAAT and the Palacio Nacional de Ajuda, represent two other unmissable places of your weekend in Lisbon. You can carve out some space on one of the first two days of the Weekend in Lisbon. The Palacio Nacional de Ajuda is a beautiful Royal palace, located in the Ajuda area, easily accessible by public transport; you can get there by bus 18E, 742, 760. During the visit, you can admire splendid decorations and rooms fully furnished with period furniture. In addition, the Palazzo often hosts interesting temporary exhibitions. Open every day, except Wednesdays (closing day), from 10:00 to 18:00. The ticket costs €5.00 per person. FREE WITH LISBOA CARD. All the info and updates are available on the official website, at this link.
The MAAT is an interesting museum dedicated to Art, Architecture and Technology, created with the intention of hosting national and international exhibitions, with the contribution of contemporary artists. A space dedicated to debate and interdisciplinary dialogue. The building stands on the splendid riverside of the historic district of Belém. In this respect, it represents an excellent attempt to redevelop and revitalize the entire area. The predominant theme will be contemporary culture, with a special combination of visual arts, new media, architecture, technology, science and contemporary art.
The MAAT structure is a work in which art, architecture and technology merge. In the immediate vicinity, you can admire the Tejo Power Station. Learn more from here.
Your weekend in Lisbon cannot be concluded without visiting the wonderful Mercado da Ribeira.