Lisbon Travel Guide, City of Explorers
Travel guide to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, famous for its explorers and the last country in the west of the European continent. We take a wonderful tour of the famous Lisbon elevator, Tejo river, Estadio de Luz Stadium of Light, National maritime museum, Explorers monument, Belem Tower, Salazar Bridge, Libertad Avenue, Earthquake Monument and Lisbon’s historic city centre.
We are in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, the last representative of the European continent in the west. The city, like Portugal, has a very historical past. Its only neighbor by land is Spain, which is also a European country like itself. It has a close neighbor with Morocco from the Mediterranean. Except for the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is the westernmost city of the Portuguese mainland.
Yazı İçeriği / Index
- Lisbon City Tour
- Where is Lisbon?
- List of Places to Visit in Lisbon
- Places to Visit in Belem
- Places to Visit in the City Center
- 5. Electricity Museum
- 6. Alfama Town
- Museums and Art Galleries
- General Information About Lisbon
- What to Eat in Lisbon What to Drink
- Souvenir Selection in Lisbon
- Don’t Forget While Traveling!
- Frequently Asked Questions About Lisbon
- Lisbon Attractions Photo Gallery
Lisbon City Tour
We land at Portela Airport by descending over Lisbon with our plane over the Atlantic Ocean. As soon as we set foot in Lisbon, Portugal at the airport, we feel the historical atmosphere of this city of explorers. How about a city tour in Lisbon with a time-lapse video clip?
Where is Lisbon?
It is the westernmost city of the European mainland. It is a city that has hosted famous sea discoveries and explorers throughout history, as it is a riparian to the Atlantic Ocean. It has a strategic and geopolitical importance due to its location.
After our customs procedures were completed at Lisbon International “Portela Airport“, we immediately went to the tour bus waiting for us outside the airport. Our bus captain Luis, who is also a Portuguese, invited us to his car with a warm welcome. After getting on the vehicle, the Lisbon panoramic tour, which lasts about 1 hour, started. Be sure to watch the “Panoramic Lisbon Tour” videos on our Youtube channel. (https://youtu.be/x0qdZDMTJww)
List of Places to Visit in Lisbon
The city is divided into sections such as the Paris Arrondissement regions. It is necessary to consider this when visiting Lisbon.
Places to Visit in Belem
- Archaeological Museum – Museu Nacional de Arqueologia
- Jeronimos Monastery
- Church of Santa Maria de Belem
- Pasteis de Belem since 1837
- Planetario Museum
- Belem Tower
- Explorers (Marines) Monument
- Salazar Bridge (April’25 Bridge)
- Ponte Vasco de Gama Bridge
- Sao Jorge Castle & Lisbon Cathedral
- Famous Belem Patisserie
- Fishermen Passage
1. Archaeological Museum – Museu Nacional de Arqueologia
Built in Portugal in the 16th century, this building now functions as an archaeological museum. Entrance is paid and only a certain number of visitors are allowed inside. So that means waiting in line. If you can test your patience and wait, you can have the opportunity to take a closer look at the history of Portugal and even the world maritime history.
2. Jeronimos Monastery
This historical building to the right of the National Archaeological Museum is a masterpiece on the World Cultural Heritage list. Jeronimos monastery, which has late period gothic architecture, has stone buildings built in gothic style like itself on both sides. For example, when viewed from the front, you can see the National Archaeological Museum on the left and the building on the right of the monastery, “Igreja Santa Maria de Belém“, that is, the Church of St. Belem.
Here are the sarcophagi of Luis Vas de Camois and Vasco de Gama. Among the sarcophagi, there is the famous Luis Vas de Camois, who was also a writer and poet. On the other sarcophagus is the symbol of the ship. This is also the tomb of Vasco de Gama.
3. Church of Santa Maria de Belem
The Church of St. Maria, the last member of the triple structure, is at the top of the places to visit in our Lisbon city tour. In conclusion, I recommend you to visit these three historical works that shed light on Portuguese history.
4. Pasteis de Belem since 1837
If you want to taste Lisbon’s famous world-famous cake, the last stop of the trams is on the right side of the Santa Maria de Belem Church. Passing the tram station, there is a crowded line in front of the patisserie, which produces the best Belem Dessert in Lisbon. Pastéis de Belém on the author sign. It is known as the best place to make the historic Belem cake in Lisbon since 1837. Don’t worry about the long queue under the blue awnings. Because the staff work very fast and the queue moves very fast because of this.
The queue moves fast and then you find yourself inside the Belem Patisserie. Walls decorated with Portuguese tiles and a crispy Belem cake from the traditional oven. Mmm! It has a wonderful smell and taste. Belem cake, or according to some, the price of a piece of Belem cake is around € 1.20. When you come to Lisbon, be sure to taste the belem cake. You may regret later.
5. Planetario Museum
Our next stop in the city tour of Lisbon is “Planetário Calouste Gulbenkian“, that is, a kind of airplane museum. The most striking part of this museum is the glider model of Sakadura Malkal, who was the first man to fly from Portugal to Brazil in 1917.
He went down in history as the first person in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean by plane. This flight took a total of 21 days and took its place in the history books as the World’s First Flight to Cross the Ocean by Airplane.
You will also see a model of Sakura Malkal’s glider type aircraft near Belem Tower.
6. Belem Tower
Belem Tower, a maritime watchtower built for defense in the medieval period, is one of the important places on our list of places to visit in Lisbon. The construction work, which started in 1505 and lasted for 10 years, was completed in 1515 and opened for use.
It has survived even after the Great Portuguese Earthquake in 1755, when many buildings were destroyed and there was no stone left, so to speak.
Although it was actually built on an islet in the middle of the Tejo river, in the great earthquake, the waters of the Atlantic Ocean filled up into the river and changed the geographical shape of this region.
It was built on an islet located very close to the shore in this estuary region where the Atlantic Ocean meets. The upper floor of Belem Tower, which is for surveillance purposes, is designed without a roof. Although it seems to have Gothic architectural features, it was actually built in the Manueline style.
If we talk a little bit about the historical background of Belem Tower; It was built in honor of the famous sea explorer Vasco de Gama, who lived and died in the 1500s. Today, it has become one of the historical and cultural symbols of the city of Lisbon.
The entrance fee to the Belem tower is 8.5€ and it is free for under 12 years old.
7. Explorers Monument
Located in the Belem region, Padrão dos Descobrimentos, or the Explorers Monument, with its Portuguese name, is within walking distance of the Belem Tower. The explorers’ monument, located on the coastline by the Tejo river, is one of the must-see places.
The monument, whose construction began in 1940 and was built in memory of all Portuguese explorers, was opened in 1960, the 500th anniversary of the famous sailor Henrique.
In fact, it is possible to see relief sculptures of many Portuguese sailors such as Amerigo Vespuci, the famous explorer who served Portuguese interests despite being of Italian origin, Vasco de Gama who discovered India in 1498, Bartolomeu Dias who discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1486, and Magellan.
It is possible to see the ringed astrolabe and horoscope sphere, which has become the symbol of Portugal but used to determine the direction from the positions of the stars in history, in the area where the explorers monument is located. He discovered the “plane astrolabe” by an Umayyad woman named Meryem El Usturlabi, which was used to determine the direction with the stars in the seas.
There is a large cross symbol on the concrete block in the middle of the giant-sized explorers monument. It is rumored that they traveled by sea to Japan using the horoscope globe, which is a later advanced version.
In this large area where the monument is located, there is a world map made of tile stones right on the ground. In this section, everyone stands on their own country and is photographed.
8. Salazar Bridge (25 April Bridge)
An almost exact replica of the red bridge in the US state of Sanfrancisco connects the two banks of the Tejo river in Lisbon. This bridge connects the regions of Belem and Almada.
With the popular revolution of the Portuguese on April 25, 1971, they brought the Portuguese state, which was ruled by a dictatorship, to a democratic new system. This bridge, named after the dictator of this period, Salazar, was named the 25th April Bridge after the revolution.
The Brazilian boulevard and the suburban train line pass under the Salazar bridge. It is a suspension bridge supported on 3 buttresses.
9. Ponte Vasco de Gama Bridge
There are two bridges, one old and one new, over the Tejo river in Lisbon. The name of the old and short one is Salazar, that is, the 25th of April bridge. There is also the new and longer Ponte Vasco de Gama bridge.
The Vasco de Gama bridge holds the title of the longest bridge in the world with approximately 17 km. Although it was partially built as a suspension bridge, it stands on buttresses. You can see the Vasco de Gama bridge in this photo I took from the window of the hotel we stayed in Lisbon.
Sao Jorge Castle & Lisbon Cathedral
Just like Istanbul, the historical castle located on one of the dominant hills of the city, which has seven hills, is also worth seeing. If you have the opportunity to enter the castle, climb to the top and leave yourself to the insatiable Lisbon view. With the nostalgic Lisbon Tram, you can reach the Lisbon castle with the perfect view of the gothic streets.
Places to Visit in the City Center
The city of Lisbon, like many European cities, consists of two different regions, historical (old) and modern. Nowadays, we are going on an unforgettable tour in the city center, which stands out with its historical bazaars, boulevards, buildings and statues.
- Libertad (Liberty) Avenue
- Lisbon Santa Justa Elevator
- Marques de Pombal Earthquake Monument
- Nostalgic Lisbon Yellow Tram (Tram Line 28)
- Alfama District
- VII. Eduardo Park
- Rossio Train Station and Rossio Square
- Commerce Square
- Augusta Street
1. Libertad Avenue
Libertad Boulevard, which means freedom, is one of the most important streets of Lisbon. From one point of view, there are stores of famous brands on this street, just like Paris Champ Elysees boulevard. At the same time, there are metro stations and tram stops in this area.
Libertad Avenue means a lot to the Portuguese. Because recently, the popular revolution of the 1970s took place here, on Libertad Avenue, in a bloodless way, with the people putting carnations on the rifles of the soldiers. For this reason, the name of the revolution went down in history as the Carnation Revolution. It was even used as a symbol on the national flag of Portugal.
The right lane of Libertad boulevard is completely dedicated to public transport, bicycles and battery powered vehicles. You can pay very high fines if you use the right lane without permission. If you want to use only this right lane without getting into traffic, you have to pay for it in advance. However, in this case, you can easily use the right lane without penalty. A different application indeed 🙂
2. Marques de Pombal Earthquake Monument
On the Libertad Boulevard, there is the “Markes de Pombal Monument” or “National Earthquake Monument“, which was built in memory of those who lost their lives in the earthquake. The square where the earthquake monument is located was named after the English king Eduardo 7.
3. Nostalgic Lisbon Yellow Tram (Tram Line 28)
It is possible to tour the city center from beginning to end with the tram line numbered 28, which has become a symbol of Lisbon’s history. The best part of this tram line is that it passes through the nostalgic Lisbon neighborhoods and streets. The yellow nostalgic tram has become one of the symbolic elements of Lisbon in recent years.
I would definitely recommend it, especially for those who are curious about Fado culture. You’ll see plenty of yellow tram ornaments in souvenir shops.
In Portugal, the tram is called “electrico“. For this reason, be careful to use the word electrico when asking about tram stops and stations in Lisbon.
Speaking of the nostalgic tram, do you know why they call the tram “Electrico” in Portuguese? Since it was the English company Electrico that brought the first tram set to Portugal in history, this name was given to the tram among the people.
– Nostalgic Lisbon Tram No. 28 –
Don’t even think about returning to Turkey without getting on the yellow trams, which pass through Graça, Alfama, Baixa and Bairro Alto districts, respectively, giving their passengers a wonderful nostalgic tour of Lisbon.
4.Lisbon Elevator (Elevador De Santa Justa – Carmo Lift)
It is one of the architectural masterpieces of the 20th century neogothic period. The famous Lisbon Elevator, also called Carmo Lift, was designed by an architect of French origin but living in Portugal. De Santa Justa Elevator, which is one of the places visited by tourists, has found a place in Lisbon’s Places to Visit list.
5. Electricity Museum
With the invention of electricity towards the end of the 1800s, the Kingdom of Portugal was able to produce electricity by burning the oil and coal it brought from its African colonies in its thermal power plants. The Lisbon Electricity Museum, which symbolizes the developmental cycle of electricity from those ages to the present, has been one of the places that attracted my attention.
6. Alfama Town
If you have enough time, I recommend you to stop by the historic Alfama Quarter on the banks of the Tejo river. While visiting Alfama Town, which was minimally affected by the great Lisbon earthquake, and its historical streets, you will see houses in a completely different mood.
This is also the homeland of Fado, the traditional music of Portugal. I recommend that you visit preferably in the evening and take a closer look at the Fado culture.
Almost all of Lisbon’s historic city center is covered with bright limestone. The feature of the limestone stone is that its brightness increases as it is used, that is, as you walk on it. For this reason, limestone stones in places where people visit heavily appear much brighter than others.
Museums and Art Galleries
- Berardo Modern Art Gallery
- Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
- Lisbon Antiques Museum
- Azulejo Ceramics Museum
- Electricity Museum
Especially in the Belem region, museums and artistic venues are frequently encountered. Berardo Contemporary Art Gallery, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon Antique Museum and Azelujo Ceramics Museum welcome their art-loving visitors in Lisbon.
General Information About Lisbon
Great Lisbon Earthquake
When we look at the recent history of Lisbon, one of the most important events, the earthquake that took place in 1755 and lasted for about 6 minutes, will have a devastating effect. No other earthquake lasting longer than this is known in the world earthquake history.
Due to the earthquake that took place on November 1, 1755 in the morning and estimated to be between 8.5 and 9.0 on the Richter scale, there was no stone left in Lisbon and its surroundings.
Nearly 100,000 people lost their lives and the resulting tsunamis reached the coasts of Morocco and England. Many buildings, especially historical buildings, were destroyed, and as a result of the collapses that occurred in the area where the Tejo river empties into the ocean, the ocean water filled this area. For this reason, an estuary was formed.
With the planned architectural construction that started after the earthquake that destroyed almost all of Lisbon, the place called today’s Baixa region was formed. This district forms the city center of Lisbon. The famous Rossio and Commercial square are located in this area.
It is not known whether the Portuguese King, who was caught in the earthquake in Lisbon, was out of fear, fell into claustrophobia and did not set foot in the city of Lisbon again for any reason until his death.
Lisbon, which lived under the rule of the Roman Empire for a long time, witnessed important inventions and developments in the period of the Andalusian Empire, which was blended with Arab culture in later dates. With geographical discoveries, it became the economic trading base of Western Europe near the end of the Middle Ages.
You can see the destruction caused by the historical Lisbon earthquake in nature from satellite images and even when you look down from an airplane.
The city of Lisbon has entered the process of renewal after the most devastating earthquake in history. Although the exterior colors of their houses are different, the architecture of almost all of them is the same. If the owner is rich, it has a tiled and ceramic façade. The houses of the poor or middle classes are usually covered with different colors of paint.
Marques de Pombal, assistant to the king and also an architect, played a major role in the rebuilding of the city. Marques de Pombal is to Lisbon what Hausmann is to France.
Having hosted two great civilizations throughout its history, such as Rome and Andalusia, Lisbon hosts architectural masterpieces of Roman, Baroque, Manueline Style and Andalusian architecture.
The fact that the city consists of hills due to its natural structure always brings to mind the similarities with Istanbul. For this reason, many districts and districts of Lisbon are often compared to districts and districts in Istanbul.
It is as if Beyoğlu resembles the Balat district with its avenues, streets and buildings. It is even very interesting that just like Istanbul, Lisbon is a historical city built on seven hills.
Lisbon Football Teams and Famous Stadiums
Lisbon has two world famous football teams. These are the teams that most of us already know. The first is Benfica and the other is Sporting Lisbon. The name of the stadium belonging to Benfica team is Estadio de Luz (Light stadium).
By the way, I want to share an event that happened with the narration of Rıdvan Dilmen. The symbol of the Benfica football team is an eagle, just like Beşiktaş, and it is known that this eagle is released into the Light Stadium before each match by Benfica and they make a totem in this way.
Years ago, before a derby match, Beşiktaş football team will play in Istanbul İnönü Stadium, this eagle was specially brought to our country with its caretaker. A few days before the match, the eagle is flown in the tribunes of the İnönü stadium for practice and the animal gets used to it.
Eagle tours the entire stadium, just like the stadium in Lisbon. However, when the day of the competition comes, the stadium is full of people and as soon as the eagle is released, it flies to the place where the mobile meatballs are outside the İnönü stadium. Beşiktaş’s eagle totem thus fails.
What to Eat in Lisbon What to Drink
We came to Lisbon on the panoramic tour and visited many kilometers in the city center, but we were hungry. Even if it is the poorest country of the European Economic Organization, do not be afraid, you will not go hungry in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.
Lisbon Fish Menu
Fish menus are quite rich. It is possible to find sea bass and sea bass fish easily here. However, since they are hunted in the ocean, their taste is slightly different from ours.
Known as cod fish (Bakalau), Dried fish is cooked and served after 1-2 years. Dried fish is called “Lakaragau“. Mainly sea bass and sea bream fish are served. However, because they are fished in the ocean, their taste may differ slightly.
The menu options are quite good for the price. Lisbon is known as the homeland of Sardines. It is even an iconic culture. In Portugal, sardines are cooked with their entrails. Therefore, while you are eating sardines, do not eat them without cleaning their internal organs.
Besides the fish, the famous Port Wine and the Belem Cake for dessert make a great menu.
Don’t forget to taste the juicy rice and the Tiger Prawn. You can try live oysters and dead oysters as snacks. Mort means dead in Portuguese.
Apart from the Belem dessert, I recommend you to taste the handmade ice cream. It tastes pretty good, though not as good as Roman ice cream.
There are a few local products for Lisbon that can be eaten and bought as gifts. Olive oil, marmalade and jams that I can recommend to you. They both taste absolutely amazing.
Souvenir Selection in Lisbon
In the capital of Portugal, the poorest country of the European Economic Organization, namely the European Awareness, you will see many gift shops right across the Pasteis de Belem patisserie, where you ate the Belem cake to buy souvenirs and shop.
The majority of these businesses are run by Immigrants from India and Pakistan. Even if they don’t understand when you ask for a discount, say you are Turkish and ask for a discount. You will see that they give up and the price definitely changes downwards. 🙂
You can easily find almost all kinds of rooster-shaped tiles and figurines, ornaments made of oak cork, yellow tram models and magnets (cupboard ornaments) that are identified with Lisbon.
Don’t Forget While Traveling!
As a result, 1-2 days may not be enough to wander Lisbon street by street. My personal recommendation would be to spend at least 3 full days for sightseeing only in Lisbon. Don’t mind travel blogs and travel sites on just one of these three days.
Get out of the known routes and try to discover new places. Enter the streets of historic Lisbon and get lost. The most beautiful travel memories are always experienced when the travel is lost. I have experienced it myself. I suggest you get lost in Lisbon too.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lisbon
Where exactly is Lisbon located? How to go?
When you open the world map and look at it, it is a Portuguese city located on the lower left side of the European continent. It is possible to go from Turkey by land and sea, but the fastest mode of transportation is undoubtedly air. THY operates 1 or 2 flights from Istanbul to Lisbon every day, depending on the season. There are also flights to Porto during the summer season.
living in Lisbon. How are the working conditions?
In general, Portugal’s economic situation is far behind other European countries. For this reason, it is not a preferred country in terms of working abroad. It shares the same fate with the same country in the capital Lisbon. In terms of welfare and living conditions, it is perhaps a bit higher than other cities due to tourism revenues. However, job opportunities and salaries are not sufficient.
What are the famous Lisbon dishes? What to eat?
It has a cuisine dominated by fish and other seafood. Compared to Turkey, the prices of fish dishes are very attractive. Sardines, sea bass and cod are the most important of the sea dishes.
What are the main attractions in Lisbon?
There are many places to visit in Lisbon, which has a historical and touristic structure. Especially historical places related to great geographical discoveries are popular with tourists. In addition, St Justa Elevator, Belem Tower and Jeronimo Monastery are among the most visited places. Here is a complete list of places to visit in Lisbon.