In the foreword to the book “Lisbon”, by Miguel Pastrana de Almeida, these words are written: “Lisbon is a mythical city, a city that is a lighthouse, lookout, the last great capital of the European territory and of which legend tells that it was founded by Ulysses on a high of its permanent journey. Place where the sea enters the infinite mystery.” I think it’s a good way to start talking about this wonderful city, ancient and stately and, at the same time, modern and alive.
Lisbon is a place that is born and reborn, even though it has been almost destroyed twice over the centuries by earthquakes, fires and all kinds of natural disasters. But there it is, beautiful and uncolum for the traveller, full of beautiful and typical corners that make it unique.
The city of the saudade, the city that saw the birth of one of the greatest poets of all time, Fernando Pessoa, opens its doors to the traveler with its monuments, the folklore of its wonderful fados, its neighborhoods full of history, such as Alfama – the old seafaring part – Belem, La Baixa, El Chiado or Barrio Alto. And its unique squares, city center, such as the Plaza del Marqués de Pombal, the Plaza del Comercio or Rossio Square, the latter two united by Lisbon’s oldest shopping street, full of shops and restaurants, and one of whose sides is the large elevator metallic that takes us to the top of its steep central streets.
From the Plaza del Comercio we can walk to the imposing Monastery of Os Jerónimos, which is declared a World Heritage Site, and on the side of the beach is the most famous pastry shop in Lisbon, Pastéis de Belem, where there are always long queues to buy or taste its sweets and freshly baked pastries, absolutely delicious. Nearby, a stone’s throw away, is the famous Belem Tower with its monument to the Portuguese Discoverers.
Another important place to visit is the Castle of San Jorge, in the neighbourhood of El Castelo, where there is a viewpoint of great beauty, the Mirador de Graca. From there we can take one of the beautiful old yellow trams that run through the city and go to the neighbourhood of Estrelha and visit its beautiful Church and the park that is opposite, with tiled benches and trees of different species.
But the authentic tourist center of Lisbon is the Plaza de Rocío from which the most important streets of the city depart and it is full of restaurants and bars and houses the great National Theatre. Nearby is the Chiado, the bohemian quarter, where the famous café A Brasileira is a must, the place where Pessoa wrote his poems daily and outside which is the bronze statue commemorating the writer.
Going up, a little further, is the Bairro Alto and there we can enjoy the best Fado shows in Lisbon. At night, between candles, listening to a fado is one of the unique experiences for the traveller.
Much more has the city, like the splendid 25 de Abril bridge, over the Tagus, similar to the famous bridge over the Bay of San Francisco and which, at the time was the largest in Europe. But, although Lisbon gives not to leave it, it is necessary to visit the small and historic city of Sintra, a property entirely of humanity, with its palaces and its walls, a place that seems to be taken out of a fairy tale. Oh, and do not forget also the visit to Estoril and Cascais, where you will find the Boca do Inferno, among its cliffs, and also, around the town, some of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal.
In sum, Lisbon is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And more varied in its monuments, streets and places. An unforgettable city for any traveller.