A Little History of Lisbon, Portugal
The history of Lisbon, Portugal dates back thirty thousand years ago. However, the architecture and history that can be seen today only dates back as far as the 1st century B.C. with much of the city’s architect from the 15th to 18th century. Lisbon has been a major city in Portugal and has been the capital since 1252. Much of the older city was destroyed in 1755 during an earthquake but was quickly rebuilt into the wonder we see today. Visitors to the city can see history at each corner in the old cathedrals, town squares, and cobblestone streets.
Top Things to do in Lisbon
Belem Tower is a 16th century tower that was an icon on the Tagus River for explorers as they sailed off towards the Atlantic. Today, the Moorish and Gothic architect is one of the most photographed sites in Lisbon.
Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Not too far from the Belem Tower is Padrão dos Descobrimentos, a monument that opened in 1958. The monument recognizes the Age of Exploration in the 15th and 16th century.
St. George Castle
The St. George Castle sits above Lisbon and overlooks the center of the city. Parts of the castle were first started in the 1st century B.C., making it over two-thousand years old. Today, visitors can explore the remains of the castle and the grounds. The entrance of the castle gives some of the best views of Lisbon from above.
Take a Ride on the Famous Tram 28
Some of the most popular historical neighborhoods can be explored by hopping on board Tram 28. Catch a ride to see parts of Alfama, Baixa, Estraela, and Graca. Make sure to get off at some of the neighborhoods, like the Alfama District. This district is known for its narrow cobblestone streets and having some of the best viewpoints of Lisbon’s cathedrals and the Tagus River.
Monastery of Jeronimos
The Monastery of Jeronimos was started in 1501 but wasn’t completed until a hundred years later. Today the former monastery houses the Maritime Museum and National Archaeology Museum. The building is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and close to the Belem Tower on the Tagus River.
Explore the Food Scene
Lisbon has a great food scene and is even home to a few Michelin star restaurants. For those wanting a small taste of Portugal, head over to Time Out Market. This market is home to dozens of local restaurants and bakeries. Groups can enjoy different dishes from numerous establishments and enjoy it all in the combined food court.
Visit Lisbon Oceanarium
For individuals or families that enjoy exploring local aquariums, they are not going to want to miss the Lisbon Oceanarium. This indoor aquarium is the largest in Europe. Visitors can see everything from penguins to birds, and from sea otters to sharks. There are about 450 different species to discover at the Oceanarium.
Shop the Market at Feira da Ladra
If you are around Lisbon on a Tuesday or Saturday, check out Feira da Ladra, Lisbon’s flea market. This market has everything from antiques to new clothes, and from produce to handmade items. This is one of the oldest markets in the world, dating back to the 12th century.
Explore one of the Art Museums
Lisbon has a ton of great museums to explore. Art lovers can enjoy walking around the National Museum of Ancient Art or the National Tile Museum. To get a taste of modern and contemporary art there is also the Berardo Collection Museum.
What are the Best Tours in Lisbon by City Experiences?
Tastes and Traditions of Lisbon Food Tour
For the best Lisbon food tour, join the Tastes and Traditions of Lisbon Food Tour. This tour starts off by meeting your local guide at one of the oldest bakeries in Lisbon. This 200 year-old establishment will serve guests some of the best Portuguese pastries and coffee. The tour will continue its adventures by visiting a market where guests will learn about the country’s cured ham and salted cod. In addition to food, visitors on the food tour will be able to explore one of the city’s main churches and learn about some history of Lisbon. The tour even stops off at one of chef Anthony Bourdain’s favorite spots to grab Portuguese pork sandwiches. Guests on this Lisbon food tour will enjoy ten different dishes from some of the best locally owned restaurants in town. The tour will try cherry liquor, custard tarts, olives, cured meats and cheese, and so much more. Join this tour to get the best sampling of Portugal’s food with a mix of Lisbon’s rich history.
Lisbon Bairro Alto Petiscos and Wine Tour
Explore one of Lisbon’s most popular neighborhoods while also enjoying a sampling of the best food and wine on the Lisbon Bairro Alto Peiscos and Wine Tour. Petiscos is like tapas, but usually a smaller version of a full meal. This means that one can order a few petiscos to get a good sampling of different foods. Guests on this Lisbon food and wine tour will explore establishments from two different Lisbon neighborhoods: Bairro Alto and Principe Real. On this tour, guests will enjoy traditional Portuguese food like fire-roasted chorizo and bacalhau à Brás, a dish made from the popular salted cod. Popular drinks from Lisbon will be sampled as well, such as almond liqueur, port, and wines. Guests will end the night with dessert from a local bakery. This Lisbon tour is great for those wanting to learn more about the Bairro Alto’s history and eat a sampling of Lisbon’s more hearty food.
How Many Days Should You Have to Tour Lisbon?
Lisbon, Portugal is a large city and to explore everything the ancient city has to offer, visitors will want more than a few days. While two to three days will be nice to get a sampling of what the city has to offer, a bit longer at four to five days will ensure that visitors see almost all the major spots.