A city built on seven hills (Sao Jorge, Estrela, Santa Catarina, Sao Pedro de Alcantra, Graça, Senhora do Monte and Penha de França), Lisbon is a noisy and elegant town with impressive panoramic view and thousands of cobbled streets. Probably the best reason to visit Lisbon is the city's charm; the harmonious combination of old and new, of modern and traditional, that it generously reveals to all its visitors.
What are the best things to do in Portugal's capital city? Well, there are so many sides of Lisbon that you would need a lifetime to discover this town. But here are the top reasons for which you should put Lisbon on your bucket travel list.
Strolling up and down the streets of Alfama
The White City, as Lisbon is also called, impresses with its unique mosaic façades bordering cobblestone sidewalks. There is so much art to discover on Lisbon's streets, alleys and dead ends that one has to mind his steps.
Be careful not to twist your ankle while walking up and down the streets of Alfama,– Lisbon's oldest district, marked by over 400 years of Moorish presence. Alfama is a maze of steep streets lined with cafés, tiny grocery stores, and old houses with wobbly windows. Stop for a while to admire the panoramic view over the city from the belvedere points of Senhora do Monte, Graça or Largo das Portas. Head up to Castelo de Sao Jorge for more breathtaking views from its walls and for a pleasant walk among them.
Sightseeing historic landmarks in Belem
Another neighbourhood, another universe. Located in the southwest of the city, Belem has a unique atmosphere with sunny river banks, lots of museums, impressive architectural landmarks, magnificent places and tropical gardens. Belem is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable areas in Lisbon. Here you can visit Dos Jeronimos Monastery and admire Lisbon's two symbols: the Belem Tower and the Monument to Great Discoveries. The first one was built in the middle of the river in 1515, when it served as a watchtower. The second one was inaugurated in 1960 for the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. On its shaped limestone facades are engraved the figures of great Portuguese explorers.
Unlike other European cities, Lisbon's art galleries are not situated all in the same area and art enthusiasts have to make an extra effort to get from one to the other. But the situation is changing and it is very interesting to see venues such as Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art and Vera Cortes Agency that open their doors to carefully selected artists. These contemporary art venues are located right in the heart of this romantic city offering a new perspective besides the historical one.