The historical neighborhoods of central Lisbon are perfect for visitors to the Portuguese capital to experience for themselves. Their culture, the history, the architecture and the people are fundamental aspects of Lisbon’s identity, and those who explore them will discover their own personal map. There are so many possibilities, don’t let them get away.
The Bairro Alto is one of the most characterful and attractive neighborhoods in the city. The Bairro Alto boasts boutiques and bars and is a place where people meet in an eclectic and multicultural atmosphere. To discover its streets, lanes and alleys, it is essential to explore it. Traditional restaurants nestle alongside cosy bookshops; tea rooms serving signature cakes vie for attention with funky design shops and the boutiques of the most respected Portuguese fashion designers.
Bairro Alto is a unique experience within Lisbon packed with secrets ripe for discovery.
From Bairro Alto, stroll down to the Chiado, the sophisticated hub for the city’s young people, artists and intellectuals The Chiado is an area of iconic cafés including “A Brasileira”, art schools, theatres and of living history. The intrinsic beauty of the Chiado, and it’s people – going about their daily lives -, makes the area what it is.
The Carmo area, next to the Chiado, has some of the most fascinating historical sites in the city, such as the Convent and Church of Carmo, which maintain their elegance and grandeur. Don’t miss the Museu Arqueológico do Carmo, which houses a collection of artefacts from pre-historic, Roman, Medieval, Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Largo do Carmo was the site of important events in the 1974 Revolution.
Carmo is connected to the Baixa by the Elevador de Santa Justa, another of Lisbon’s icons. The Elevador, designed by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel, is open to the public and boasts impressive views over the Baixa Pombalina and the rest of Lisbon.
The Baixa is the city’s traditional shopping district where visitors can stroll around the streets and find dozens of shops offering a wide range of temptations.
Rua Augusta is the main artery of the Baixa Pombalina leading north from Terreiro do Paço (known as Black Horse Square by the English), to the beautiful Praça do Rossio (Praça Dom Pedro IV).
Just north of Rossio, discover Avenida da Liberdade, which in the 19th century, was the favourite promenade for the Lisbon élite. Today, the Avenida is home to exclusive international boutiques to tempt and inspire.
Although it was at the castle that everything began, historical sites can be found across the city. As the capital of the Portuguese Empire, Lisbon boasts a thousand years of history, and is peppered with monuments of great importance, reflecting the key moments in the country’s history. The peak of Lisbon’s wealth was during the Age of Discovery a time which has left a heritage of rare beauty.
Close to the castle, in Graça, is the church and monastery of São Vicente de Fora, one of the most imposing and notable religious monuments in the city. It was built immediately after the city was recaptured from the Moors following a vow made by King Afonso Henriques to São Vicente during the siege of the Lisbon in 1147.
On Tuesdays and Saturdays, don’t miss one of the most popular and busy markets in the city, the Feira da Ladra, or flea market, just a short stroll from the imposing church. Every imaginable object and curio – as well as genuine antiques – are on sale, and a visit to the flea market is a real walk through Lisbon culture.
Strolling down to Santa Apolónia to explore the riverside neighbourhood, it is impossible to miss the unique 16th century Casa dos Bicos, so named after the diamondshaped stones that cover its façade. Note the Italian influences in the architecture combined with elements of the Portuguese Manueline style. The building belonged to Afonso de Albuquerque, Viceroy of India, and is the site of a number of Roman archaeological finds.