Picturesque Lisbon – From Sintra to Alfama

by Gap Year Escape · 1 comment

Lisbon is a glorious, romantic and beautiful city of golden light and ancient streets. Lisbon is also known as the city of seven steep hills, namely Castelo, Monte, Graca, S.Pedro de Alcantara, Penha de Franca, Estreal and Santa Catarina. It makes Lisbon one of the most visually interesting cities in Portugal. Rent yourself a Lisbon Apartment and take in all of the attractions and beauty!

Flickr: Xavier Sanz

Take a Ride

As soon as you arrive in Lisbon you will hear the wheel of the iconic trams that run throughout the city. The Number 28 is the most famous of all the routes and is one of the best ways to see the city as a whole. Passing through many of the major parts of Lisbon, the circular journey will take you past many tourist attractions – Alfama, the Sé, Graca quarter, Baixa and Bairro Alto, Chiado and Estrela.

Fado Bar

Fado is traditionally sung by a woman dressed in a long skirt and wrapped in a shawl accompanied by the Portuguese guitar and evokes what the Portuguese call ‘saudade’. This word is difficult to translate accurately into English. It means something akin to missing, longing and hope. It is the traditional Portuguese music, known as Fado.

Take a Daytrip to Sintra

Just around 40 minutes train ride from Lisbon is the magical village of Sintra. Take a ride out into the Portuguese countryside and up into the mountains for breathtaking surroundings. Sintra has many famous attractions such as the Quinta da Regaleira, a fairytale castle just outside the main village. Mysterious and romantic, it is a wonderful place to relax and refresh.

Alfama

Alfama is a remarkable place to visit; it is Lisbon’s oldest area and is worth visiting if you wish to familiarize yourself with the full history of Lisbon. It’s beautifully picturesque with narrow, winding streets and old, overhanging buildings. It is the ancient heart of Lisbon that survived the great 1755 earthquake. The maze-like streets are where you will find many of the typical scenes you see on postcards from Lisbon; houses decorated with traditional azulejos (Portuguese tile), washing hanging outside the windows, iron balconies freely decked with flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flickr: johnmontague

Visit Belem Tower

Belem Tower looks more like a small castle. It stands as the single fortress on the front of the famous Tagus River. The main reason for the tower was to keep the port. Now it serves as the monument to Portugal’s discovery age and it offers an eye-catching panoramic view of Lisbon.

The Ascensor de Santa Justa Elevator

The Ascensor de Santa Justa takes passengers 45 meters up to the Chiado district from the Baxia elevator.  Built by a student of Eifel, this giant iron lift in the city centre takes you up the steep hill from Baixa to Chiado/Bairro Alto.

Lisbon’s National Delicacy

Salt cod is the national dish of Portugal and the Portuguese say they have 365 ways of cooking it. Almost every restaurant will have one ‘bacalhau’ dish. Also try feijoada (bean stew), caldo verde (green soup) or and one of the many doces (sweets) that the Portuguese love. Arroz doce (rice pudding) is nearly always on the menu. Just about every café has a wonderful display of sweet pastries so indulge over your morning coffee in the sun. Of course, come evening, you must also sample a glass of port and try ginjinha (cherry liqueur).

It’s also important to remember that Lisbon is a visually stunning place; simply spending hours walking around this beautiful city is a great thing to do.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Andy February 5, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Sintra was definitely worth it. The Lisbon area is a great place to visit. Hope to make it back there one day…

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