Exploring the history and Heritage of Downtown Lisbon

We were headed to one of the oldest countries with a crucial history of discovery and explorations. Portugal is known for its traditional village life, beaches, delicious seafood and the famous personalities Vasco da Gama and Cristiano Ronaldo. Lisbon, the capital is a coastal city with steep snug streets and stairways connecting most parts of the old districts.

Praca do Comercio or Terreiro do Paço

We started our sightseeing with a dark, rich espresso from an old boat turned outdoor cafe overlooking the Tagus river opposite to the majestic square of Praca do Comercio.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

The square is also known as Terreiro do Paço which translates to Palace Square in English referring to the Palace that was the main residence of the Kings of Portugal in Lisbon for around 250 years until it was destroyed by the 1755 earthquake.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Rua Augusta Arch

The Rua Augusta Arch is historical building with triumphal arch located to the north of Praca do Comercio square. The terrace of the building is accessible by an elevator and rewards with a breathtaking view of the Praca do Comercio and its neighborhood, the Sao Jorge Castle, and the river Tagus. The arch is picturized in the movie Gulliver’s Travels where the Lilliputians wheel Gulliver through the arch at the end.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Santa Justa Lift

We entered through the triumphal arch into a busy pedestrian street lined with outdoor cafes and branded shops. We moved onto a parallel street Rua de Santa Justa where stands the remarkable structure Santa Justa Lift. The lift connects the lower streets of the Baixa and the higher Bairro Alto. 105-foot ride to the top is recommended for some awe-inspiring rooftop panoramic view of the Lisbon city.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Rossio Square

After around half a km stroll, we walked into the heart of the city the Rossio Square. The square is popular for several outdoor cafes where people sit and relax over a coffee. On either side of the square are two gorgeous baroque fountains, and in the center is a monument with a statue of Dom Pedro IV.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Campo Pequeno

We boarded the hop on hop off bus to our next stop the Campo Pequeno, the bullring of Lisbon that accommodates up to 10,000 spectators. In the present day, the bull-ring is a multi-event venue where various events, band performances, and live acts hosted apart from the bull fighting. Bullfights season last from Easter until late summer.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

We were by now hungry and were looking around for good restaurants. We by fluke found an Indian cuisine restaurant ‘Amigos da Montanha Nepal’ in a street opposite to the bullring. We had scrumptious lunch with north Indian and tandoori dishes on the menu. We were overwhelmed by a euphoric sense of satisfaction after having the Indian food that we had been missing for last almost 11 months.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Marques do Pombal

Back to the downtown of Lisbon also the start point of Hop on Hop off buses we visited the Marques do Pombal a large roundabout and a monument around a km walk from the Rossio. This is the monument with a statue of Marquis of Pombal, the prime minister responsible for the rebuilding of Lisbon following the Great Earthquake in 1755, showing him standing on a column with his hand on a lion.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

Parque Eduardo VII

Right behind the Marques do Pombal is the Parque Eduardo VII, a public park that stretches uphill from Marques de Pombal. At the top of the hill, on a small esplanade is a monument with four large pillars and a fountain in the shape of a rock that commemorates the 1974 Revolution. Monument has a beautiful view of the streets, square and the river Tagus in the distance.

Things to do Downtown Lisbon

For a Shopping spree, one can visit the El Corte Ingles biggest department store group in Europe just half a km from here. It was by now near dusk and we decided to return to our apartment.

When in Lisbon do not miss a visit to the prismatic town of Sintra and other wonderful day trips from Lisbon.

The best way to experience the well-preserved bygone charm and cultural heritage of Lisbon is exploring the old district of Alfama and the Tagus riverfront. While Alfama offers a laid back experience away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the Belem region has numerous monuments to experience the history of Lisbon. From exuberant nightlife and Fado houses of Bairro Alto to the elegant squares, streets of Baixa or downtown Lisbon – Lisbon has it all to allure the tourists.

What places have you visited in Lisbon? Which are your favorite ones?

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31 thoughts on “Exploring the history and Heritage of Downtown Lisbon

  • May 30, 2016 at 9:46 am
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    We’ve spent a lot of time near Praça do Municipio (Fashion Week) and visited the oldest district of Lisbon (Alfama) with lovely architecture. Amazing memories and great weather! Wish we could stay there longer then!

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  • May 31, 2016 at 1:55 pm
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    Great information, especially loved the Rossio Square information as well as the pictures in the post. I am heading to Lisbon and Barcelona at the end of summer and you have supplied me with information that I am sure to use. Hope to read more of your posts in the future.

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  • June 1, 2016 at 7:13 am
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    This found me at the exact perfect time- I literally just landed in Lisbon last night! This will come in handy. Thank you!

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  • June 1, 2016 at 8:05 pm
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    Oh how I wish I had the chance to visit Portugal. Unfortunately, I will have to live vicariously through others

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  • June 3, 2016 at 7:48 am
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    I have never been to Portugal. We had talked about visiting but had not planned out a time when it would be best, as we would love to see as much as possible while we are there. The pictures you took are gorgeous and I especially love the bird eye view shots. I will about Sintra next. This is a good guide for visitors.

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  • June 3, 2016 at 1:25 pm
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    Love the way you have captured the city through these amazing photos.
    Very informative and resourceful post for visitors to Lisbon.

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  • June 4, 2016 at 3:24 pm
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    Thank you for these suggestions! I am actually going to Lisbon at the end of the month! I definitely want to go up that lift and take pictures. Lisbon looks fabulous and I’m so excited!

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  • June 4, 2016 at 6:50 pm
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    The santa just lift looks really scary, did you actually take it? Also, the Rossio square reminds me of the Hero’s square in Budapest.. very similar1

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  • June 5, 2016 at 2:51 am
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    Thanks for putting down these good information. I particularly like your second photo, it takes me to the atmosphere of the city, makes me feel I am there!

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  • June 5, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    FABULOUS photos of one of my favourite European cities! I loved reading this and it took me right back to when I was last there, Karen

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  • June 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm
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    I am Portuguese and would love to visit Lisbon one day, the bakeries are meant to be amazing- try the custard tarts they are so good and the bread is amazing x

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  • June 6, 2016 at 4:13 pm
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    i have heard a lot about Lisbon but havnt been there. . . .till I had read your post. Your post makes me feel like i am in Lisbon and seeing evrything with my own eyes.

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  • June 6, 2016 at 4:40 pm
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    Lisbon is pure poetry to me! I love your pics, they make me miss this city so much! Thank you for sharing

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  • June 6, 2016 at 10:32 pm
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    What an amazing place. I really like the architecture and there are some incredible monuments!

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  • June 7, 2016 at 7:14 am
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    I’m yet to visit Portugal, but Lisbon is top of my list when I do! Thanks for sharing the history behind the impressive monuments too – a place always seems to have more character when you know the story behind it.
    Lily Kate
    jolihouse.com

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  • June 7, 2016 at 7:39 am
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    All of your beautiful pictures really make me want to go to Lisbon! It has been on my wishlist and now I really want to go. Maybe soon.

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  • June 7, 2016 at 7:28 pm
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    A close friend of mine moved to Lisbon not long ago. Your post, along with her Facebook posts and email updates, really make me want to visit! Looks like such a lovely place!

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  • June 8, 2016 at 12:53 am
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    The pictures are very beautiful. I have not been to Lisbon yet but I will try to visit next year. I have heard Portugal is a beautiful to spend a holiday.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 8:33 am
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    Beautiful sights! I’d love to visit Portugal, even if it’s just for a weekend. I’m a huge soccer fan and Christiano Ronaldo has always been my reason to visit, but now that I see those photos, I’m even more convinced.

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  • June 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm
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    I’ve traveled a fair bit of Europe but never been to Portugal & its been on my list for a while now. The beautiful pictures you have here really make me want to plan it sooner than later. You’ve convinced me about it 😉

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  • June 9, 2016 at 1:51 am
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    Beautiful pictures. Looks like you had a well round trip, I’ve always wanted to go to Portugal!

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  • June 9, 2016 at 2:30 am
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    I love the European architecture, it is absolutely breathtaking! Thanks for sharing your photos.

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  • June 9, 2016 at 7:59 am
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    Lisbon looks amazing! Amazing shots with the pictures! Thanks for sharing:)

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  • June 9, 2016 at 8:21 am
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    I love the distinctive buildings Portugal seems to have – white walls and red roofs certainly stand out and make a great picture! I’d love to visit the biggest department store in Europe!

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  • June 12, 2016 at 12:32 pm
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    As always, your travel photos took me to places I`ve never been. I like the details of the building in the third photo.

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  • June 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm
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    Thank you a lot for providing individuals with such a splendid chance to read in detail from this site. It can be so beneficial plus full of a good time for me personally and my office colleagues to visit your blog at the least 3 times a week to see the fresh items you will have.

    Reply
  • November 2, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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    I’m planning on taking my kids to Portugal (and Europe) next year. I love your post! Walking around the city is always the best way to get to know the place! Rossio Square reminded me a lot of Sao Paulo’s sidewalks!

    Reply

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