Want to surprise your soul mate with a romantic trip and come across as an interesting person? Then throw away the guide to France and get a guide to Lisbon. The Portuguese capital has a couple of places to surprise you with. Even a short weekend will impress you so much that you’ll long remember the facades of the old houses, cozy trams, restaurants, the sunset that illuminates the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and the echoes of the fado music.
1) The city’s observation decks
Lisbon refers to those cities in which one can feel what the expression “the whole world is at your feet” means. A lot of observation platforms on the hills allow not only to see the whole city as an open book, but also to find a secluded place only for the two of you. The magnificent panorama opens from Miradouro da Graça and Miradouro Senhora do Monte. You can also enjoy more “urban” views from the upper observation platform of Elevador de Santa Justa. It’s the elevator used by city residents to get to the high-lying areas of the city, as well as by tourists that want to try a new type transport and check out the view.
2) A trip in the tram
Another “fashionable” local type of transport is a tram. In the very center of the city, there are specially designed excursion trams for tourists, but it’s much better to take a ride on an authentic transport along the real city route. Trams from Route 28 are already more than a hundred years old, but they still have the same “interior:” wooden seats and a rope stretched through the salon, which you have to pull to ask for a stop. Tourists, as a rule, go through the whole route because it lasts only 30 minutes and goes along colorful streets accompanied by singers who perform Portuguese romances.
3) Ancient castles and cathedrals
The architecture of Portugal, and Lisbon in particular, called Manueline, is a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance, Moorish motifs, and marine themes (drawings of anchors, birds, palm trees, and tropical fruits) – all the best that could be taken from the era of the Great Geographical Discoveries! In the capital, there are many grandiose monuments of architecture dating back to the 5th century AD, such as the Cathedral of Largo da Se, Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, and Castelo de São Jorge. The Jerónimos monastery is a vivid example of the Manueline architecture, while the Cathedral of Largo da Se is more restrained, built in the Moorish style. And the Castelo de São Jorge is a unique fortress that has existed for more than 15 centuries: there was a monarch’s castle, a prison, an arsenal, and now it’s one of the best viewing platforms of the city due to its favorable location on a high hill.
To see everything that deserves attention in this city, you need to go to Lisbon for at least a week. A couple of days just won’t be enough.
4) Alfama and Bairro Alto districts
Impressions will be especially strong if you compare these two completely opposite districts. Alfama is the oldest Arab district that looks like a huge communal apartment. But the “upper” Bairro Alto is considered the most glamorous area, with its shops and parties. This district is almost three centuries old. There’s not just a difference in mentality between these two districts; there’s also a huge difference in altitude above sea level.
5) Praça do Comércio
The main square of Praça do Comércio stuns with its pompous architecture and size of 3600 square meters. It’s one of the largest squares in Europe. Previously, there was the residence of the kings of Portugal, but during the earthquake of 1755 most of the buildings collapsed and had to be rebuilt. Well, if you are not a fan of architecture, just visit one of the numerous fairs, listen to street musicians and stroll along the pedestrian street of Rua Augusta, which starts right behind the arch, and feel the special atmosphere of the central part of the city. Thanks to our friends from Jump4love for providing this article.