Lisbon – The Old Districts and the Blue Stretch!

The incredible heritage and history of Lisbon had ensorcelled us to an extent that we were left with an urge for more. Lisbon city is a melange of old and the new with its quaint village life in Alfama to the largest indoor aquarium. We were all set to soak ourselves in the old district and the magnificent monuments along the blue stretch of Tagus riverfront in Belem.

Castelo de Sao Jorge
Due to narrow streets and limited public transport the best way to see the old district of Alfama is on foot. The Moorish castle perched atop the hill along with its ramparts offers extraordinary views over the city and Tagus River.

One can easily descend down from the castle hill to the downtown Lisbon through a set of free elevators on the seventh floor of a building in Rua da Vitória which also has a stunning viewpoint to the red roofs of the city right next to a restaurant with a supermarket on the lower floor.

Lisbon old districts

Lisbon Cathedral or Se Cathedral
Just a ten min walk from the elevator building through the maze of cobblestone streets is the oldest cathedral of Lisbon known as the Se Cathedral. The Cathedral with imposing twin bell towers looks more like a fortress. The fortress look is due to the fact that during the Reconquista period, the cathedral could be used as a base to attack the enemy. It has beautiful ornate interior and stained glass windows.

Lisbon old districts

Tram 28
The Lisbon Cathedral falls on the route of the famed Tram 28. Due to the undulating routes and steep alleys only the vintage trams can run on these tracks. Trams with their traditional charms operate as a hop-on and hop-off service with a 24-hour ticket. It passes through some of the popular sights in Lisbon including the castle, Alfama and Bairro Alto. A ride on the number 28 tram is a highlight of any trip to Lisbon, which is not to be missed.

And to our surprise, we spotted a tram with Priyanka’s poster for Quantico TV Series ad.

Lisbon old districts

We stopped by a restaurant to taste the Lisbon special ‘Pasteis de Nata’ little custard-filled tarts along with the dark espresso the best way to start your day in Lisbon.

Lisbon old districts

We hopped on into city sightseeing tour bus for next part of our tour that was along the blue stretches of Tagus River in Belem. Several hop on and hop off buses offer different routes covering major attractions. One can plan out the sightseeing of Lisbon with the combination of different routes as the ticket on bus mostly valid for 48 hrs. can be used on any of the routes.

Belem Tower
Belem region is of historical importance for Portugal as many explorers and discoverers embarked onto their journey from here. Belem Tower was built as a fortress to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor.

Lisbon old districts

The entrance of tower leads one into a bulwark with vaulted ceilings, which houses the 17 artillery cannons.

Lisbon old districts

The room with a low roof below the bulwark acted as the old prison and dungeon. The top floors have beautiful carvings and offer visitors with wonderful views over the river.

The riverfront offers remarkable views of the vivid orange-red colored arched 25th of April bridge inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the striking silhouette of ‘Christ the King’ monument standing tall on the other bank of Tagus river.

Lisbon old districts

Discoveries Monument or Padrao dos Descobrimentos
We walked along the riverfront to the next emblematic monument – Discoveries Monument. Discoveries Monument represents a ship with gigantic sculptures of notable Portuguese explorers following Prince Henry the Navigator. Inside are a temporary exhibition and an elevator that takes visitors to the top for some bird’s-eye views of the riverfront and surrounding monuments.

Lisbon old districts

Jeronimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery was just across the street and reached via an underpass. The monastery was built to commemorate Vasco Da Gama’s epic 1498 voyage to India and houses the tomb of many great figures together with Vasco da Gama. The tranquil ambiance amidst the exuberantly decorated doors, church interiors and stone carving of the cloister are a remarkable piece of architecture.

Lisbon old districts

Also worth visiting in Belem region are the exhibitions in Belem Cultural Centre, history of sea exploration in the Maritime Museum, the royal coaches in Coach Museum and the palaces of Belem and Ajuda.

Lisbon Oceanarium
We boarded the tour bus from the Jeronimos Monastery to the last attraction on our Lisbon visit list – the modern wonder ‘The Oceanarium”. Lisbon Oceanarium is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe with a large collection of marine species. We had some light snacks in a restaurant alongside the entrance of the Oceanarium before starting our tour through the marvels of nature.

Check out the amazing pictures from Lisbon Aquarium in our photoessay.

Enraptured by our visit to the incredible Marine life we left for our apartment. Nearest metro to Oceanarium is Oriente Station which is a spectacular modern station lit with golden lights.

Lisbon old districts

Vasco da Gama Tower and Vasco da Gama Bridge
Other attractions in the area are the Vasco da Gama Tower – The city’s tallest building with a panoramic viewing platform and Vasco da Gama Bridge – One of the world’s longest bridges.

Lisbon old districts

To get the authentic feel of the Lisbon we had booked an apartment in Alfama. Alfama is the oldest and the most charming locality to wander around the labyrinth of narrow alleys and typical choc a bloc houses. With an abundance of Fado restaurants, one is sure to fall asleep listening to a background of Fado melancholy music being played until late night.

Lisbon old districts

We ended our day at a seafood special restaurant savoring on the delicious menu. Many tourists and locals alike were lip-syncing with the singer enjoying the music and the Fado experience. When visiting Lisbon, spending an evening at a Fado restaurant accompanied by delectable seafood is an essential authentic experience.

Also, Read our blog on a visit to the downtown Lisbon.

Have you visited the Lisbon monuments along the Tagus Riverfront or the Oceanarium? Do share with us your experience in comments.

Looking for day trips from Lisbon check out our trip to the prismatic town of Sintra.

Would you like to pin this post?

Related posts:

37 Comment

  1. We were in Lisbon in March during “Moda Lisboa” Fashion Week and we love this place! Especially I was inspired by the 25 de Abril Bridge, which is often compared to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It is even painted in the same color. We’ve taken a lot of pictures! Hope you guys had a good time in Portugal!
    Wish you a great new week!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes we had a great time Thanks! Yeah we did take pictures of Golden Gate Bridge inspired 25 de Abril Bridge its beautiful too

  2. I have been to Lisbon. It has got a lot of charm. We went on the trams. There are some great places surrounding Lisbon. Did you buy any ceramic tiles?

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Francis Lisbon has some wonderful places to visit!

  3. Sarah Ella (Mumx3x) says: Reply

    I’ve never been to Lisbon but I would like to visit one day. Belem Tower is one my top attractions to visit! I love the cobbled streets and the Oceanarium looks AMAZING! Those custord filled tarts look delicious. Beautiful photos, too! 🙂

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thank you so much Sarah, glad you liked our pictures and Belem is a must visit for its gorgeous architecture.

  4. I;ve never been to Lisbon before but it looks worth visiting juts for those Pasteis de Nata! They look delicious, and beautiful photos too by the way! 🙂

  5. Joanna says: Reply

    I always wanted to visit Lisbon, is on my list for a long time. I remember seeing postcards with the famous yellow tram. And those Pastel de nata… they look delicious! I actually had some when a Portuguese cake store open in the city I used to live, years ago.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Joanna, the pictures of Lisbon are tempting enough to visit the city, hope you are able to make a plan soon 🙂

  6. Isn’t Lisbon wonderful? I visited in the Summer time but wish the weather was cooler! In your last photo it looks similar to Venice!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      We visited late November and weather was just awesome, Yes Lisbon is wonderful place indeed 🙂

  7. Eloise says: Reply

    love the photos, they’re incredible! you really capture Lisbon’s life : ) makes me want to visit there.

  8. I am Portuguese! My parents are from Madeira but I have never been to Lisbon before unless you count the airport lol! Custard tarts are the best!

  9. This is such a cool area. I’d love to do some exploring in Lisbon and check out that incredible tower! Wow!

  10. Bella says: Reply

    Wow, just wow! The architecture is stunning, this is defiantly on my travel wishlist.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Bella!

  11. CourtneyLynne says: Reply

    Omg loving all of your photos!! Simply breathtaking. I can only hope to visit my sled one day 🙂

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks a lot 🙂

  12. Alison says: Reply

    I honestly can’t tell you what my favorite part of your trip was because it was all so beautiful. I love the architecture of the buildings and statues. It seemed so beautiful. I even love the station with all of the lights! Maybe I impress easily but I loved it all!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree with you its hard to say whats the best part of Lisbon

  13. Carrie says: Reply

    Lisbon looks gorgeous! I would love to go one day! Those custard tarts look amazing!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Hope you make a trip soon 🙂

  14. maryam says: Reply

    I’ve never been to Lisbon, But I watch so many telenovelas that I feel like I know the city. Your pictures are beautiful, I can see the contrast between modernism and culture so well. I hope I can visit one day 🙂

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      True Maryam Lisbon has both old and modern touch and hence very fascinating

  15. Another city I would love to visit! There are not so many places where they have trams. They give a special charm to a city. Actually I didn’t know about those pretty impressive places to see there. Thanks for making me want to travel there!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Sure Tiina, And yes there is so much to do and see in Lisbon

  16. Sabine says: Reply

    Lisbao is amazing! I’ve been there like three years ago. I would love to go back and see those pastries.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Same here we would definitely want to go back, its a lovely city!

  17. I’ve never been to Lisbon, but it looks like I should add it to my bucket list! Very beautiful city, with such a unique character! Thank you for sharing such amazing photos! Oh, those ‘Pasteis de Nata’ little custard-filled tarts sound delicious. I want them with my coffee now!!!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Rodanthi, Lisbon is indeed beautiful!

  18. Lisbon looks fantastic.I love exploring the Old Districts so much character.Those pasteries look amazing !

  19. One of my favorite cities! Your pictures are gorgeous, sounds like your trip was amazing!

  20. Tara says: Reply

    Wow – this looks magical. I’d love to check out Belem Tower and those little custard filled tarts.

  21. Wow, Lisbon was never on my list but I may have to add it just for the architecture alone!

  22. Anne says: Reply

    I would love to see the monument someday! The details on the sculptures of those explorers looks incredible! 🙂

  23. Debbie says: Reply

    Lisbon is such a charming city with all the architecture. And you have captured all of it beautifully.

  24. Great trip there! I missed out entering Belem Tower. We quit the place seeing long queue. Missing the old streets of Lisbon after seeing your pics.

Leave a Reply