Lisbon is, in my opinion, one of the best cities to spend a weekend and a perfect place to experience one of Europe’s smaller capitals – but don’t let the word ‘smaller’ fool you! Lisbon packs a hefty punch with great places to see, eat and places to totally ‘let your hair down’…
…Okay, so that analogy doesn’t really work for me with a shaved crew cut – but you get the picture!
Lisbon Is More Than Just Cork Production…
Lots of cities in Europe seem to have an ‘identity’; Paris and Venice seems inextricably linked to romance, Barcelona to art like Gaudi and London to having around 52 Nando’s restaurants per square mile! Okay, I jest… We are known for much more in London – like bangers and mash, jellied eels and the home of Simon Cowell… 😉 Just like these most amazing European cities, Lisbon has formed its own cosmopolitan identity that doesn’t involve the cities famed cork production!
Why Is Lisbon One of Europe’s Most Cosmopolitan Cities?
In my opinion, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most significant cities to visit. It was the gateway city for many explorers to discover new lands, flavours and tastes from across the world. Its location as a coastal city thus brought back many new and exciting foods, architecture, spices and cultures that all mixed within the city limits to create the beauty that is Lisbon today!
Some Key Sites To See On Your Weekend In Lisbon…
1.) Torre de Belém (Belem Tower)
This year Lisbon’s ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’, Belem is 500 years old – construction started in 1515 and finished in 1519. At the grand old age of 500 Belem is still going strong.My top tip is to visit early in the day – queues rather quickly build up to over an hour wait.
2.) Castelo de São Jorge (St George’s Castle)
One of Lisbon’s most iconic landmarks – with over 1000 years of history, Castelo de São Jorge is a must see for any visitor to the city. My top tip is to visit around dusk… the castle has 360 degree views across the city and becomes a perfect place to watch the sunset.
3.) Chapel of St. John
Hidden in São Roque Church, the Chapel of St. John is one of the world most precious (and expensive chapels) – built from gold, this chapel is a truly spectacular place to see…
4.) Ride The Famous Trams
Why not head on one of Lisbon’s iconic trams – they rattle their way across the city and it’s a perfect experience to include when your feet get all tired! My top tip is to take the tram up some of Lisbon’s more hilly districts… especially on a sunny day.
5.) Eat Piri-Piri Chicken
Home of the original piri-piri chicken – head to a one of the cities many local eateries that serve the freshest and most succulent per-peri basted meals you will ever have! My top tip is to try the peri-peri oil that will be on your table. With a small brush, baste everything in sight… it’s that delicious!
6.) Get Lost In Lisbon’s Ancient Alfama Neighbourhood
Why not take some time and relax and enjoy the city? Stroll through Alfama’s colourful and hilly street. Not only will you experience some areas of the city that aren’t on the tourist trail, but you might find one of Lisbon’s most impressive cathedrals, the Sé.
7.) Padrão dos Descobrimentos
Remember I said about the importance of exploration and discovery in Lisbon – well, the ‘Tribute To The Age Of Discovery’ is a perfect reminder of the rich heritage Lisbon has. This gigantic monolith creeps over the edge of the river Tagus. If you want an inside view, why not take a lift to the top and ‘discover’ a birds eye view of the surrounding area yourself!
8.) Elevador de Santa Justa
Forget the Eiffel Tower in Paris; Elevador de Santa Justa is the one to see…
… Okay, so don’t forget the worlds most iconic statue in Paris, but do remember that the Elevador de Santa Justa was built by Raoul Mésnier du Ponsard who was Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice. It seems Eiffel’s work had a big impact on his apprentice, as the structures are very similar in design. Originally built as a way to connect areas of the city, it is now used mainly by visitors that want to experience ‘old Lisbon’.
9.) See Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Built in the 15th Century, this spectacular world-heritage site is a must for any visitor to Lisbon. Commissioned by King Manuel I in 1501 – this beautiful and ornate historical building has been perfectly preserved.
10.) Eat A Pastel de Nata
Try one of Lisbon’s most famous tarts – these freshly baked and warm delights are a truly delicious treat that have been sold in Portugal for hundreds of years. One of the most famous places to eat is at Pastéis de Belém, who pride themselves on the traditional baking method, ingredients and of-course… deliciousness! Don’t worry too much at the sight of long queues, they are fast moving and disappear as quickly as a Pastel de Nata in my hand! ☺
11.) See The Cutest Puppy!
Only 40 Minutes from Lisbon!