HOW TO SEE LISBON PORTUGAL IN A DAY

HOW TO SEE LISBON PORTUGAL IN A DAY

Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal.

Lisbon is where we would embark on our 7 country European & African cruise aboard Oceania’s new ship, Riviera.  Having only a single day to take in the sights of Lisbon before embarking on our cruise, we decided to hire an expert guide named Carla Carita through the website called Viator. She and her male colleague picked us up in a comfortable and spacious Mercedes van and took us on a whirlwind tour of the city. He drove us around and dropped us off at the various points of interest so there was no need to worry about where to park. She joined us and gave great explanations of the sites in absolutely perfect English. So, if you are wondering how to see Lisbon Portugal in a day, I highly recommend this method. Hire Carla Carita, a licensed tour guide and you won’t be disappointed.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Hire Carla Caita | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

She first took us along Lisbon’s waterfront…

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

where we were welcomed with open arms by this jolly fellow.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Our first stop on the tour was the area known as Alfama, a Moorish neighborhood and the oldest district in Lisbon. In the 6th century, during the time that the Moors occupied the city and influenced it in many ways, this area constituted the entire city. It has now grown far beyond Alfama’s borders but this area has retained its old-world charm.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Carla guided us through the twists and turns of the narrow, pedestrian-only alleyways.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

If you visit, be prepared to do a lot of walking on cobblestone streets through this hillside village.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We wandered through the picturesque streets where the buildings were so close together the roofs almost touched.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The walls of the buildings were often decorated with scenes such as this, and there was much ornamental ironwork and pretty stone carvings.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

While we only had time for a daytime visit to Alfama, it is after dark that this part of the city really comes to life. That is because the Alfama district is where Fado, Portugal’s very own music genre began, and the area is full of the legendary Fado Bars and restaurants.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Fado, meaning “fate” or “destiny” in Portuguese, is characterized by emotionally charged and mournful sounding ballads, mostly about loss. Fado is usually sung by men who use guitars or violas to accompany their nostalgic songs expressing “sausade”, the sensation of loss. Their hauntingly sad songs are often about ill-fated sailors, and as odd as this may seem, the Fado Bars are hugely popular in Lisbon. A night in one of these establishments has been described as magical and almost therapeutic. I very much wish we had had the time to partake in this experience, but instead we could only watch as the barkeepers and restaurateurs readied their establishments for the night.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | The #Alfama District | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Our next stop was Lisbon’s huge riverfront square known as Praça do Comércio. On the day that we visited there was a huge fair taking place that was dedicated to agriculture. Plants and trees of every description were on display.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Across the street and through this beautiful portal known as Portos do Sol the fair continued…

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

where street vendors displayed their products.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Continuing on our journey we passed Pedro IV Square. It features a lovely fountain…

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and a bronze statue of Pedro IV, king during the early 1800’s. There in the distance you can see a strange looking gray platform.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

It is known as the Santa Justa Elevator. Built of iron at the turn of the century by the Portuguese-born French Architect, Raoul de Mesnier du Ponsard, it is one of the city’s best-loved landmarks.  The architect had been an apprentice of Gustave Eiffel, which explains the structure’s similarities to Paris’ Eiffel Tower. The elevator was built to connect the lowest part of downtown Lisbon to Barrio Alto, one of the highest points in the city. When it was first built in 1902 it was called an engineering marvel. Still in operation today, this Neo-Gothic tower houses a cafe and a viewing platform from which visitors can enjoy expansive views of the city and Tagus river.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The next stop on our tour of Lisbon was Jeronimos Monastery, one of the most impressive symbols of Portugal’s power and wealth during the Age of Discovery. It is one of Portugal’s most iconic tourist sights and is an absolute must-see attraction for visitors to Lisbon. King Manuel the 1st began the construction of the monastery and church in 1502 to commemorate Vasco Da Gama’s voyage and to give thanks to the Virgin Mary for its success. It took 100 years to complete.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

In my lifetime I have visited dozens and dozens of monasteries, cathedrals and churches throughout Europe, but I must say that this was certainly one of my favorites. In fact, I loved it so much, and took so many photos of it that I could have devoted an entire blog post to it. I am not alone in my appreciation of this edifice, as UNESCO has classified it a World Heritage Monument.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The monastery was originally populated by monks of the Order of Saint Jerome. It was the job of the monks to give spiritual guidance to sailors of this important seagoing port and to pray for their souls. This impressive door is the entrance to the church that is part of the Monastery.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

This amazing structure is one of the great triumphs of the style of architecture known as Late-Gothic Manueline. The Manueline style is characterized by elaborate sculptural details, and is richly ornate, featuring an abundance of maritime motifs that are evocative of the time of Portugal’s exploration at sea..

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The architectural splendor of the church’s interior exemplifies Portuguese art at its very best.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Just look at the amazing detail in the ceiling.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The columns or piers are octagonal in shape and are richly decorated with reliefs and very intricate sculptural details.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Many great figures in Portuguese history are entombed here, including King Manuel and King Sebastião, as well as several celebrated Portuguese poets. These are the Royal Tombs which are being held up by 2 marble elephants with ivory tusks.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

This is Vasco de Gama’s tomb. They say that this tomb actually does hold his remains.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese navigator who in 1497/98 established the first sea route between Portugal and India. This created a new trade route that for over a century allowed Portugal to enjoy supremacy in the Indian Ocean and brought great wealth to the nation.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I wish we had had more time to enjoy this overwhelmingly beautiful monastery as there was much more to see, including the cloisters and garden which we missed. If you visit budget several hours to take it all in.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

But alas, we had to move on so as not to miss another unforgettable institution, Pastéis de Belém, the famous pastry shop just across the street from the Monastery.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Pasteis de Belem | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

As the story goes, in  the early 1800’s there was a liberal revolution in Portugal that resulted in the closure of the monastery. In an effort to survive, someone from the monastery began selling sweet custard pastries that became known as Pastéis de Belém.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Pasteis de Belem | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The famous pastries sold here are produced from the original secret recipe that originated at the monastery, and they say that the recipe has remained unchanged to this day. Everyone who visits Lisbon pays a visit to this shop to taste their wonderful pastry. Much more delicious than they appear, these Pastéis de Belém were one of the most delicious confections I have ever eaten. We were thrilled to find that our hotel offered them at the breakfast buffet the next morning.

Pastéis de Belém for breakfast at THE #OLISSIPPO LAPA PALACE HOTEL IN #LISBON | www.AfterOrangeCopunty.com

One of these days I am going to attempt to make a knockoff recipe of these delightful treats.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Pasteis de Belem | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Pastéis de Belém also had their own Portuguese tile mural that depicts the Monastery from which their famous pastries originated. By the way, there is a tile museum in Lisbon that I understand is highly worth a visit. Sadly, our limited timeframe prohibited a visit.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Pasteis de Belem | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

While there were many more sights to see in Lisbon and its environs, we had run out of time. The final stop on our whirlwind tour was the Tower of Belém, another UNESCO World Heritage Monument. Built in the early 1500’s to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s expedition to India and to honor the Age of Discovery and its maritime explorers, the Tower of Belém sits alongside the Tagus River.  Like the Monastery of Jeronimo, the tower was also built in the Manueline style and incorporates many stonework motifs of maritime discoveries. The Belem Tower was the starting point for many of the voyages, and for the sailors it was the last sight of their homeland. The next day it would also be one of our last sights of Portugal as our cruise ship Riviera sailed on our own voyage of discovery.

 HOW TO SEE #LISBON #PORTUGAL IN A DAY | Tower of Belem | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So there you have it: HOW TO SEE LISBON PORTUGAL IN A DAY

Please stay tuned, as tomorrow our ship will sail. Next port of call on our Iberian Odyssey: GIBRALTAR 

Thanks for dropping in!  Do please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Unless otherwise credited, all photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.

Comments

  • You’ve captured some beautiful images of Lisbon! Having visited there just last summer, I think you packed in some major site seeing for just one day. My husband and I spent 3 weeks in Portugal and Spain last summer. We loved just about every moment, except when he was pick-pocketed on the Trolley in Lisbon. They were clearly professionals! Enjoy your cruise and your trip sounds amazing!
    Best, Heather @ Stylemindchic Lifestyle

  • Hi Heather. Yes, it was an amazing trip which also included my favorite country, Spain. Not on this trip, but on a previous one, I had my purse stolen in Barcelona, so I can commiserate with your husband. Do wish we had had more time in Lisbon, and in Portugal in general. I will have to return and spend more time, as you were able to do.