BAIXA / CHIADO
The “Pombaline Baixa” is an elegant district, primarily constructed after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. It takes its name from “Marquês de Pombal”, Prime Minister from 1750-1777m who took the lead in ordering the rebuilding of Lisbon after the 1755 earthquake.
The Marquis of Pombal imposed strict conditions on rebuilding the city, and the current grid pattern strongly differs from the organic street plan that characterized the district before the Earthquake.
Chiado is the more elegant neighborhood in Lisbon downtown and is nowadays a noble shopping area with all sorts of facilities and street entertainment. Here you will find hotels, theatres, bookshops, museums, restaurants, famous Portuguese fashion houses and the famous haunt of personalities like Fernando Pessoa and Eça de Queiroz, in a location actually chosen by the city’s art students: the café “A Brasileira”.
ALFAMA / ST. JORGE / MOURARIA
Alfama is the oldest district of Lisbon, spreading on the slope between the São Jorge Castle and the Tejo river. This medieval district, once the Moorish and Jewish quarter before it became inhabited by the fishermen and the poor has not been destroyed but the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and has remained a picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets and small squares.
Perched at the very top of this hill is Castelo S. Jorge (St. George’s Castle), built during the 7th Century. The castle occupies a strategic position and offers unrivalled views of the city. On your way there, you will bump into some unique peoples, stories and traditions. The popular and yet melancholy music of Fado infuses the air and tells you that you are in the Alfama.
Among the churches of the Alfama are Lisbon Cathedral (12th–14th centuries), the oldest of the city and located to the West of the neighborhood, the Convent of the Grace (Convento da Graça, 18th century), near the Castle, the mannerist Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (late 16th–18th century), where the Kings of the House of Braganza are buried, and the baroque Church of Santa Engrácia (17th century), now converted into a National Pantheon for important Portuguese personalities.
From Mouraria, a multicultural melting pot of peoples and traditions, climb up to Graça. Don’t forget to stop at the various viewpoints along the way, particularly those of Graça itself, with its views of Mouraria, and Senhora do Monte, with its 12th Century church.
You could also get to Graça on the famous No. 28 tram. A ride on this emblematic symbol of the city allows you to take in most of the historical and cultural heritage that Lisbon has to offer.
Belém is known as the historic district of the Age of Discovery. It was from its waterfront that Vasco da Gama and other explorers departed for their voyages, events celebrated today by grand monuments and museums in the neighborhood.
In this district you’ll find Unesco’s World Heritage sites such as Belém Tower, built in early 16th century as part of the city’s defence system or Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese late Gothic Manueline style of architecture.
Don’t leave Belém without tasting the original “Pastel de Belém”, the traditional Portuguese custard tarts that you can find in most Portuguese cafés. The recipe dates back to the 16th century and has suffered some alterations in most places. However, at “Pasteis de Belém” they still use the original recipe!
Apart from the monuments, Belém area has interesting museums (Archaeology, Coaches, Maritime), CCB (Belém Cultural Centre), the Planetarium and a botanic garden.
PARQUE DAS NAÇÕES
Parque das Nações is the modern part of the city, a futuristic glass-and-steel district, home to some wonderful examples of modern architecture. Most of it was built by innovative architects for Expo 98, the World Fair that took place in Portugal’s capital between May and September of 1998. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India and the United Nations’ “Year of the Oceans, the theme was “The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future,” and the entire area at the eastern end of the city’s waterfront was rebuilt for the eve.
It is now the location for the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the world’s most spectacular aquariums, designed by American architect, Peter Chermeyeff – a “must-see” for adults and children. Other attractions include the Pavilion of Knowledge, often referred to as the Interactive Science Museum of Lisbon, Lisbon Casino and the cable cars to enjoy stunning panoramic views.
AV. DA LIBERDADE
This boulevard, built in the 19th century in the style of the Champs-Elysees in Paris, is the main avenue of the city.
Today the avenue still has a certain elegance with fountains and cafe tables shaded by trees, as well as a pavement decorated with abstract patterns.
Some of the original mansions have been preserved, and many are outstanding from an architectural standpoint. In the avenue is also the Monument to the Heroes of the Great War, a tribute to the 50,000 Portuguese soldiers who fought in World War I.
The avenue is also the site of the city’s grander hotels, banks, airline offices, and designer shops, including names like Louis Vuitton, D&G, Tods, Burberry, among others.
GARDEN, PARKS AND BELVEDERES
• Monsanto Forest Park / Serafina Park
The Monsanto Forest Park (Parque Florestal de Monsanto) is the largest green space in Lisbon and has been laid out with a solid leisure and sports infrastructure, such as the amazing children playground at Parque da Serafina (also known as Parque dos Indios) Monsanto Forest also enjoys stuning views of Lisbon city and river.
• Jardim da Estrela
This is a beautifully landscaped venue, with family-oriented leisure facilities giving all visitors the opportunity to spend a few relaxing moments away from the hustle of the city. The garden was laid out in the mid 19th century (between 1842 and 1852) in an exquisite English style, trying to recreate, by artificial means, the look and the atmosphere of a refreshing oasis.
• Miradouro de Santa Luzia
• Miradouro das Portas do Sol (Gates of the Sun)
• Miradouro de Santa Catarina
• Miradouro de Graça| Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen