TRAVEL - Seen from above, the city with seven hills looks like a maze of whimsical alleyways and stairs, coloured with pink roofs and ochre facades and made alive by the play of light and shadow. But what has the city to offer? A lot, I can tell you. I think the following nine things are especially worth doing when you go to Lisbon.
1. Ascensor da Glória
They call it also ‘Elevador da Glória’. The Gloria funicular opened already to public in 1885. Originally, its traction system consisted of a rack rail and cable, powered by a water counterweight system. Later it evolved to steam power and in 1915 to the second funicular to be installed in the city that was electrified. Initially, the funicular cars were divided into two floors with longitudinal benches. Today, they only have one floor, but the longitudinal benches were kept. In 2002 the funicular was also declared a National Monument. If you don’t want to pay for to take a ride, it’s also nice to take the road on foot and photograph or film the funicular. The ramp length is just 276 metres with an average gradient of 18 percent.
2. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
Look at the city from above, from one of the miradouros. Lisbon is built on seven hills. From the many viewpoints you will always see Lisbon from a different angle. The viewpoints are equipped with benches and a kiosk where you can drink something. You can relax and dream away. Personally, I find the 'Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara ' worthwhile. You get a view to Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon, with the Castelo de São Jorge on the top.
3. Elevador de Santa Justa
Take a ride with this lift in the centre. This connects the Bairro Alto district on the hill with the lower Baixa district. From the cafe at the top of the gothic lift you have a great view. When you climb the 45 meters to the top, you have enough time to enjoy the view of the city. The history of the lift starts in 1896, construction started in 1900 and the lift was ready in 1902.
4. Escadinhas de São Christóvão
When you like to visit the Alfama with the Castelo de São Jorge, it’s a good idea to go up on the hill of this oldest district of Lisbon by the stairs of Escadinhas de São Christóvão. You can find beautiful graffiti everywhere along these stairs. It’s worth to pass there.
For Castelo de São Jorge, the castle on the top of this mountain and the oldest district of Lisbon, you must pay to come in. The district is free. But take for sure also some walk in the little streets behind the gate of the castle. You can pass through this gate for free. This poetic district with its maze of medieval streets and alleyways and its steps and arches symbolizes the folk Lisbon and gives a very good idea from what was and is Lisbon in the past, but also still now. During the Roman period this was already the centre of the city.
6. Mouraria and the Beco das Farinhas
This little alley Beco das Farinhas in the area Mouraria is very unique. You can find everywhere on the walls pictures in black and white from the people who lives there. The photographs on these walls are a tribute to the elderly who live there. They walk this alley daily and their spirit makes this corner of Mouraria special. If you want to feel the atmosphere of traditional city life somewhere, then Mouraria is the perfect place. It is a piece of city that is already centuries old. It consists of endless small streets that are strung together with stairs. You will find plenty of fado houses, bars, restaurants and workshops.
7. Parque Eduardo VII
This gracious French-style park is the crown on Avenida da Liberdade, the most majestic avenue in Lisbon. This park offers a beautiful view of Baixa, the beating heart of Lisbon, and the river Tagus. In the northwest there are greenhouses with exotic plants. In the cold greenhouse the air circulates through a Japanese roof with wooden slats. In the smaller warm greenhouse subtropical plants grow in their natural environment.
8. Cinema São Jorge
This old cinema and cultural space in Lisbon, located on the Avenida da Liberdade, houses the most film festivals in the city. Regularly there are also concerts and lectures. I found it especially interesting for the little bar in the entrance of the cinema. It’s cheap and nice. I drunk the best coffee in town there.
9. Ribeira das Naus
You walk from the hustle and bustle of the city to the Tagus and end up in an oasis of peace and relaxation. There are nice eating places with beautiful views. You also have a bar with beach chairs where you can fully enjoy a drink and the great view of the river Tagus. Absolutely recommended when the sun is shining. It’s the perfect spot to sit down, relax, chill and read some book on a lazy day.
Text & pictures: T. Hanan S.
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Thierry Hanan loves to travel without something to plan in advance and let everything just be what it is. Thierry Hanan has no fears to leave just on foot or by hitchhiking. Destination? Somewhere, nowhere and everywhere.
Thierry Hanan Scheers,