Lisbon is a quintessential European city, full of natural beauty, historic architecture and culinary pleasures — not to mention one of the best climates anywhere on the planet. To get to know Portugal’s capital, walk between the captivating miradouros — terrace viewpoints that are scattered on the hilltops, offering stunning vistas from the sea to the castles and beyond. Watch as the light peeks through the clouds and shines down on The City of Seven Hills during your cruise to Lisbon. If you’re a history buff, head to Belem or nearby Sintra to explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Jeronimos Monastery and Quinta da Regalaira.
THINGS TO DO IN LISBON
Step into the pages of a fairy tale in Sintra, a UNESO World Heritage Site a short ride from Lisbon. The city’s awash in colorful buildings and grand forts, including the Romanticist architecture of the pastel-hued Pena Palace — more like a castle, really — and the extravagant Quinta da Regalaira villa. Or, wander through gardens inspired by Dante’s “Inferno.”
There’s no other way to explore Lisbon than to see it from the miradouros, the hilltop lookout points scattered around the city. Ride the Santa Justo Lift to catch a glimpse of the city below. Enjoy an evening drink at the Miradouro de Santa Catarina. Finally, watch the sunset behind the Ponte 25 de Abril Bridge.
History buffs should head to Belem. See the 16th-century Manueline architecture of the Jeronimos Monastery. Lisbon, Portugal cruises will allow you to visit the final resting place of explorer Vasco de Gama before walking to the river to snap a photo of the Torre de Belem, a 16th-century fort that appears to float in the ocean.
You’ll find plenty of Portuguese delicacies around Lisbon. Follow the locals to the nearest food truck for a bifana, a sandwich of pork marinated in white wine and garlic sauce. Snack on salty sardines over a glass of wine, or devour a pasteis de nata, the famous egg tart that packs a creamy, cinnamon-infused custard in a crisp shell.
Browse eclectic clothes and jewelry in the backstreets of Bairro Alto. Feira da Ladra, or “thieves’ market,” is the place to go for handmade crafts and antiques. Looking for a high street? Walk down Chiado or Avenida da Liberdade to shop international brands.
A city of intense excitement
Strung out over a series of hills facing the glistening waters of the broad estuary of the Tejo, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most handsome cities. Although its modern suburbs are ungainly, the historic centre is relatively compact and easy to explore in just a day when your cruise takes you to the Lisbon.
The oldest part of the city, the warren of streets that make up the Alfama, sits below the spectacularly sited Moorish Castelo de São Jorge, its ruined walls facing another hill, the Bairro Alto or upper town, famed for its bars, restaurants and vibrant nightlife. The valley between these hills makes up the Baixa., or lower town.
The tall, imposing buildings that make up the Baixa (Lower Town) house some of Lisbon’s most interesting shops and cafés. A shore excursion on your Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to reach via a narrow walkway the impressive Torre de Belém (Tower of Belém), an iconic symbol of Lisbon. It typifies M anueline style that was prominent during the reign of King Manuel, its windows and stairways embellished with arches and decorative symbols representing Portugal’s explorations into the New World.
Built as a fortress to defend the mouth of the River Tejo, it took years to complete, though when it opened in 1520 it would have been near the centre of the river – the earthquake of 1755 shifted the river’s course. Today, visitors are free to explore the tower’s various levels, which include a terrace facing the river from where artillery would hav ed been fired.
You can then climb a very steep spiral staircase up four lev el – framed view of the river – to a top terrace where you get a blowy panorama of Belém.
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