Best of Lisbon – A One Day Walking Tour

If you travel to Lisbon for the very first time, you are probably eager to see as many of the great sights the city has to offer as possible. Lisbon is one of the most romantic European Metropolises and surely one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world- nostalgic and modern at the same time. The following places are a must, if you want to explore its incredible atmosphere during your holiday. First of all it is advisable to buy a ‘Lisbon’ Card which gives you flexibility and saves you time and money. It offers discounted prices on all public transport within the city as well as museums, shopping and much much more. Alternatively for transport alone, buy the ‘Sete Colinas’ card at the Metro Station, for 50cents, allowing access to all public transport, ‘top up’ the card for the day, or days depending on your stay.

  1. Start at Martim Moniz Square. There is a metro station of the same name, so it is easy to find. From there you catch the tram no. 28 which will take you to the old quarters of the city, Graça and Alfama. It is an interesting ride with many memorable views. The tram stops very often and you can just get off and look around if you see something that interests you. This way you can stay at one of the many ‘Miradouros’, the viewing platforms, a little longer, and catch the next tram which run very regularly. So take your time, stroll through the pretty little streets and enjoy the old part of Lisbon. When the tram reaches the Miradouro de Santa Lucia hop off and take the opportunity to see and enjoy the spectacular view.
  2. On the other side of the street you will see a sign which points to Castelo de São Jorge. Follow the sign and walk up the relatively steep hill, but the beautiful view from the castle over Lisbon will compensate for your efforts- It is simply breathtaking! (If you do not want to walk up or down the hill you can travel by bus number 37) A coloured map helps you with the orientation as you really can see everything: The Old town of Lisbon, Tejo-bay, 24th April Bridge, Christ the King Statue across the waters with His arms outstretched – it really IS worth every moment. Lets continue.
  3. The next stop is the cathedral of Lisbon. Go back down to Miradouro de Santa Lucia and keep walking downhill from there. The cathedral (Sé) will appear on your left. It was built in 1147 on the ruins of a Moorish Mosque, after the recapture from the Moors by King Afonso Henriques. Still today, its two massive towers make it look like a fortress which guards the city. The entrance is free but if you also want to visit the old convent and museum you have to pay 2 EUR.
  4. And on to Lisbon’s beautiful city centre. Walk further down and you will reach the Praça do Comercio. Before a big earthquake in 1755 this was the King’s palace. Today a statue of King Afonso is watching the city from here. Turn right and you can stroll through the “Baixa” quarter. Thanks to the chequered built streets it is easy to find your way through the Baixa which invites for some looking around and lots of shopping. A great place is the Chiado Shopping Centre, which was rebuilt after the big fire in the 1980’s in Lisbon. The front survived the fire and the building is extremely picturesque. Here you’ll find a broad variety of stores.
  5. A thing you cannot miss in this area is the ‘Elevator Santa Justa’. It is a wonderful way to cover one of Lisbon’s height differences and on the top you have two viewing platforms and a café from where you can see the whole old town, this time from the other side. You will recognise the Castelo and the Sé Cathedral up on the hills. A bridge leads you to the partly destroyed but still impressive Convento de Carmo where today an archaeological museum is set.
  6. The tour is coming to an end now, and from the convent follow the street to your right down the hill and you will arrive at Rossio Square. It is the centre of the town and has been for a long time. Until the end of the last century it was used for bullfights and long before that witches were burnt here. Today it is vibrating with life and culture, a great place to look and stroll around. Up the road you will find the Praça dos Restauradores. Here you should catch the Elevator da Gloria. It will take you up the hill to Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s famous nightlife district. Here, in one of the many restaurants and bars you can enjoy the end of a great day in Lisbon with a cup of Portuguese wine and some “mariscos”, the typical Portuguese seafood.

Lisbon is a great city and one day is not enough to experience all of it. You still should reserve some time on another day to visit the famous quarters of Belém and travel to the romantic, even fairytale-like castle in Sintra. But this walking tour gives you a very good impression of Lisbon. It leads you to the most important spots and is a great beginning for your holiday.