LISBON, THE HOME TO THE ALL-TIME GREAT EXPLORERS
Despite the fact that Lisbon is the 2nd oldest capital of Europe and home to the all-time great explorers. I still believe it is an underrated city in Europe. Honestly speaking I couldn’t give Lisbon the time which it deserved. Although, it is not possible to explore this charming city in only one day. However, the best we can do in one day is listing here. Everyone has a choice, time, taste, and own pace to visit any city. So, it is advised to visit as per your speed and taste for nature.
HOW I GET TO LISBON
I get to Lisbon from Barcelona by Flix Bus. Although it was a long journey of about 17 hours, however despite the hectic long travel, I enjoyed it and took it as a unique experience of my first overland journey to any country.
Lisbon to City Center. Lisbon has a well-established transportation hub. As per my requirement, I took a one-day pass which cost me about 10Euro. I reached the city center by train
WHERE I STAYED IN LISBON
I stayed in “We Love F Tourists” which was at the southeast corner of Figueira square in the Baixa district of Lisbon. Although the hostel was on the 4th floor with no lift the lady came down and helped me to direct my way to the property. She also provided me a map and marked some important locations along with the route direction for my one-day tour.
GET AROUND THE LISBON CITY
The old city of Lisbon is just walkable. The famous neighborhoods of Lisbon are Alfama, Baixa, Chiado Bairo Alto, and Belem. In addition to walking tours, you can use all of the major attractions in Lisbon by Lisbon pass as well as the daily pass of transport. More conveniently the means of transport in Lisbon are
Trams including Tram 28 and Tram 12 and Public Buses. Complete networking of public transport is available here in Lisbon
LISBON ATTRACTIONS FOR ONE-DAY ITINERARY
I started my day tour from Figueira Square. This busy square is a transport hub of Lisbon. My hostel was at the southeast corner of the square. So, I started my day tour from Figueira square. The main landmark of this square was the statue of King Joao I.
CASTLE OF THE ST. GEORGE
Castle of St. George or Castelo de Sao Jorge was my first stop to visit. I got on tram number 14 and after few minutes reached the gate of Castle. I got my entrance ticket within the next 10 minutes and entered the Castle. The Castle of St. George (Castelo de São Jorge) is one of the major points of interest in Lisbon. The oldest parts of the castle dated from the 6th century and this is where the history of Lisbon began. As it is situated on a hilly part so, it can be seen from everywhere in the city. I captured a few long exposure shots of this castle from my hostel balcony in the night.
Most parts of the castle was destroyed over the years, especially in the Great Earthquake of 1755, but it still includes a long extension of walls and 18 towers that were restored in the early 20th century. Except for a short period of time, it served as barracks and prison until 1938, when it was freed from any official duties.
I spent an hour to see beyond Tagus River and went through most of the top towers of the castle to see panoramic views of Lisbon. There was a small museum inside the main complex whose entry was free with the castle’s ticket.
Besides the castle’s main building, we visited the important section of Ruins. And learned the three main historical eras of BC, Moorish and 11th century Lisbon.
After visiting the castle, I went through the beautiful streets of Alfama District and headed to Lisbon Cathedral which is considered Lisbon’s oldest building. It is built by the first king of Portugal in 1150. From the outside, it has two bell towers and a splendid rose window which seems to me just like Notre Dame of Paris. The outside walls have some traces of fire burnt marks on them. There was a large crowd of travelers and people who came to visit or prayer there. Many numerous sacred objects were placed there like the remains of St. Vincent which was the official patron saint of Lisbon. The cathedral has free entry, however, a few parts of the cathedral have a nominal ticket fee to see sacred objects.
SAINT ANTHONY CHURCH
Lisbon has too many beautiful churches within the very small vicinity of Alfama. St Anthony Church is situated just beside the Lisbon Cathedral and its construction started in 1757 at the birthplace of Saint Anthony. The architecture was splendid with a statue of Saint at the left side of the main gate.
TORRE THE IGREJA
It was a beautiful milky white tower and the foot-steps took us to the top bell section. We can ring the mighty bell and the sound was a hell louder. We can see the panoramic views from the dome-shaped windows. The entry ticket to the tower was 2 Euro. It was situated beside the Church of Santa Cruz de Castelo.
Next up in Lisbon’s itinerary was the Commerce Square (Praça do Comércio). It is the largest and most famous square in Lisbon. Its previous name was “The Palace Square” as it housed the royal palace then. Photographers can find plenty of great photo opportunities in this idyllic square such as the monumental triumphal arch which is on the north side and a towering statue of King José I on horseback in the center.
SAND ART AT BEACH
We admired the sandy artwork made by local beach artists at the Tagus waterfront near the pier. It includes the animal objects made from sand and then painted on them. Besides the animal artwork, there was stonework too. You can take your few art photos there and admire the artist.
From commerce square, we followed the Av Ribeira das Naus beside the waterfront of Tagus river and reached Av 24 de Julho from where we got on the bus 15E for Belem. We got off at Jeronimos Monastery for our Belem attractions. The Jeronimos Monastery along with the Belem tower is the most important tourist attraction in Lisbon. Inside the monastery, lies the tomb of Vasco de Gama. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983. You can visit it with an entrance fee of 10Euro and you can visit it with Lisbon Card too.
Our next stop was Iconic Belem Tower or Torre de Belem. From Jeronimos first, we went towards the west and after passing by the Lisbon archeological center we crossed over the overhead bridge of the Ab Brasilia. No day of Lisbon sightseeing would be complete without seeing the magnificent Belem Tower. Just like the Geronimo’s Monastery, it is also a great symbol of Portugal’s amazing historical blend of 16th century of “Age of Discovery”. This multi-turreted and exuberant tower was initially built in 1515 as a ceremonial gateway in honor of Vasco da Gama’s voyages of discovery. It also doubled as a fortress that guarded the entrance to Lisbon harbor.
MONUMENT THE DISCOVERIES
While coming southeast from Belem we saw this lovely frieze of 33 historical figures which includes explorers, cartographers, artists, scientists, and missionaries. Furthermore, all these figures are set along both sides of the monument. It is 52 meters tall and commemorates the five hundredth anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator, who discovered the Azores, Madeira, and Cape Verde. At the prow is Henry, while behind him is Vasco da Gama and 29 other greats of Portugal. You can go to its observation deck to see the panoramic view. The entrance tick is 6Euros and with a Lisbon card, you can get a 30% discount.
WHAT WE MISSED IN LISBON
We need plenty of time to explore this city and strongly recommend making it at least three days to stay in Lisbon. We can add the day trip to Sintra which is a beautiful place nearby. In addition, we can add Porto which is the 2nd most famous city of Portugal to taste a slightly different blend of Portugal Travel.