Pinpointing only ten mandatory places in Lisbon is an enormous task, not to say an impossible one. The Portuguese capital is a city with over 2,500 years of history, during which it was inhabited by people from all over the world, blending cultures, religions and ideas into a unique case of ethnic diversity. The streets of the Pombaline downtown are filled with Europeans, Africans, Asians and Latin-Americans, just as much as the historical neighbourhoods echo the sounds of the traditional fado, the Cape-Verdean mornas, the upbeat Angolan kuduro, Brazilian rhythms or Indian melodies. Lisbon is the city that opened the doors to the world and, consequently, welcomed the world through its doors. Whether we’re talking about monuments, cuisine or urban culture, Lisbon is everybody.
1 - St. George's Castle
2 - Senhora do Monte viewpoint
From Senhora do Monte, one can watch the Tagus estuary, Graça church, castle of São Jorge and the Mouraria neighbourhood, as well as the pombaline downtown, Carmo's monastery ruins, Monsanto park, the new avenues and other hills of Lisbon. All these points are marked on a tile panel fixed to the balcony, in order to facilitate its identification from that viewpoint. Senhora do Monte viewpoint is integrated in a small garden, filled with leafy trees that provide good shades and some excellent moments of relaxation and dolce far niente.
3 - Via Graça
As Via Graça's menu focuses on Portuguese traditional cuisine, expect to find a savory myriad of snacks such as pataniscas de bacalhau (deep fried codfish cake) and veal croquettes. As for main courses, specialties like codfish with corn bread, game pie or roasted lamb really stand out. But save some room for dessert, as you will most certainly want to try the mandatory Belgian chocolate mousse with dried fruits ice-cream, the apple crumble with green apple ice-cream or the house's crème brûlée. Whatever you choice for tonight is, accompany your meal with one of the 3,000 bottles on Via Graça's huge winery.
4 - Rua Augusta triumphal arch
5 - Esplanada do Jardim da Estrela
6 - Jerónimos Monastery
7 - Feira da Ladra (Lisbon Flea Market)
8 - The Days of the Earthquake Tour
The Days of the Earthquake's path then arrives to Lisbon's downtown, an area devastated by the earthquake and later recovered by marquês de Pombal (hence the name pombaline downtown). The group gets to see the architectural innovations imposed by Pombal, such as the straight streets and the construction of wide and luminous spaces, like rua Augusta (and its triumphal arch) or Terreiro do Paço. This central plaza is also the ending point for the tour, surrounded by the old ministerial buildings and with a privileged view over the Tagus River. The tour takes three hours to complete and the use of comfortable shoes and clothes is advised. It takes place every day of the week, twice a day (at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and accepts up to 20 people.
9 - Pena Palace
Pena palace displays an intentional mix of styles, including Gothic, Manueline, Islamic and Renassaince, which gives it an exquisite look. It is divided into four parts, of which the recovered convent, the Moorish arches yard and the palace itself (decorated accordingly to the cathédrale style, in fashion at the time) stand out. The palace, the surrounding park and the Countess Edla's chalet can be visited every day. If you're travelling by train from Lisbon, you can take bus number 434 to travel the distance from the railway station to the palace.
10 - Archaeological Centre of Rua dos Correeiros
Rua dos Correeiros Archaelogical Centre is in an area that, in ancient times, was nearer the Tagus River. Thus, close to rua Augusta's very own hustle, one can see traces of a Roman factory which worked between the 1st and 4th centuries A.D., as well as a wealthy house with visible traces of a SPA complex and polychromatic tiles. The site also exhibits a collection of everyday objects from the Roman period as well as traces from earlier (Ibero-Punic period) and later times (Visigothic, Islamic, Medieval, Portuguese 15th Century and of the Portuguese Pombaline period). One also gets the chance to see the cage structure, invented during the 18th century to resist earthquakes, like the one which hit Lisbon in 1755.
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