Lisbon, the capital city of seven hills, is cinematically beautiful and historically compelling. Rumbling trams, elevators, magnificent views, party nightlife; Lisbon has it all.
This monastery was founded in 1501 to proclaim Vasco da Gama’s discovery of a sea route to India. Nowadays it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but previously the monastery was populated by monks of the Order of St. Jerome, whose spiritual job for four centuries was to comfort sailors and pray for their king. When the order was dissolved in 1833, the monastery was used as a school and orphanage until about 1940.
From the upper choir is a superb view of the church; the rows of seats are Portugal’s first Renaissance woodcarvings.
Navigator Vasco Da Gama is entombed in the lower chancel, left of the entrance and opposite you will find the tomb of the 16th-century poet Luis Vaz de Camões.
Visit the official website for more info about tickets and opening times: http://www.mosteirojeronimos.gov.pt/en
Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument of the Discoveries)
If you are in Jeronimos Monastery you can cut through the gardens opposite to reach the Monument of the Discoveries, the ship-shaped monument decorated with Age of Discovery heroes. The monument was inaugurated in 1960 on the 500th anniversary of Henry the Navigator’s death. Do take the lift and go to the viewpoint for 360º views over the river. For more info take a look at the website: https://padraodosdescobrimentos.pt/en/home/
Torre de Belém
After the Monument of the Discoveries, you can take a walk along the riverfront to the landmark Manueline fortress Torre de Belém. This World Heritage-listed fortress represents the Age of Discovery. Climb a narrow staircase to the tower and enjoy the views over Belém and the river.
Francisco de Arruda designed the tower in 1515 to defend Lisbon’s harbor.
For more information visit the official website: http://www.torrebelem.gov.pt/en/
The old-fashioned Tram 28 is on every traveler’s wish-list when visiting Lisbon. You can take a ride from Praça Martim Moniz to Campo Ourique and enjoy the views and the steep climbs of this city. The yellow color of the tram and its wooden decorations create an atmosphere from an older era. Take a seat by the window – if it is possible because it is usually crowded – and prepare for a self-guided city tour to remember.
As the Tram 28 passes through the narrow streets of Graça, it creates the impression that you can touch the small grocery stores, the iron lanterns and the townhouses of this neighborhood. If you are on the left side of the tram when it descends you can see the mosaic of red rooftops to the Rio Tejo. As the tram continues its route you can see the streets of Baixa and when it climbs higher toward Estrela, there are some nice spots for photos of the city and river. Before the tram heads to the final destination (Campo Ourique), you can see the neoclassical Palacio da Assembleia da Republica and the white dome of the neoclassical Basilica da Estrela.
Castelo de São Jorge
This hilltop castle represents Lisbon’s history over the centuries. From Christian crusaders in 1147 to battles and earthquakes; the castle has seen it all. From here you can have far-reaching views over Lisbon and the river. The castle consists of 11 towers, from which the most significant is the Tower of Ulysses & Periscope because it once housed the royal treasury and archives. Nowadays it contains a periscope, or camera obscura, which gives a 360º view of Lisbon in real time.
For more information visit the official website: https://castelodesaojorge.pt/en/
Praça do Comércio
This square, with its river views, palatial buildings, triumphal arch and the yellow trams around it is definitely the heart of Lisbon. Wander the riverfront, gaze up at the 18th-century equestrian statue of the king Dom José I, take a closer look at the triumphal arch, which is decorated with figures representing Glory, Valour and Genius. There is also a lift where you can go to the top and have a view of the square and the riverfront. At the end, you can have a coffee in one of the many cafes of the square and enjoy the famous Portuguese custard tart called Pastéis de Nata.