Lisbon used to be a trading port and still has the Lebanon heritage infused in its roots. The cobbled streets and tiles that they are so famous for, are actually adapted from the Arabs. If you’ve been here long enough, you’ll notice that many places are named after “Al-“. These words are actually adapted from the Arabs. Who knew? Here are eight other essential things to do in Lisbon for a complete experience while you’re in the “city of seven hills”.
#1 Take a Tram Ride
Taking a tram ride surely tops this list. While the tram is a common means of transport for the locals, the tram is iconic of Lisbon. If you want a quick guide to the best of Lisbon, Tram 28 is for you. Tram 28 runs through the city, taking you around the historic neighbourhoods. It is the tram you have got to sit it at least once during your visit to Lisbon.
#2 Go Up the Santa Justa Elevator
Just as you have to take Tram 28, the Santa Justa elevator is another popular attraction for visiting tourists. Designed by Ponsard, a disciple of the legendary Gustave Eiffel, this iron elevator has been built in the since the 1880s to connect the lower districts to the elevated suburbs. No other city does an elevator like Lisbon does. Today, tourists hop on it to be offered an overview through the downtown district of Lisbon.
#3 Listen to Fado
Do not pass up Lisbon without taking in their traditional folk music, Fado. Fado can be best found in a fado house along the streets of Alfama, Mouraria or Madragoa. For a history about Fado, the Fado Museum shares the origins of Fado in the museum’s documentation centre.
#4 Go Viewpoint-Hunting
Lisbon spans a series of hills, making it one of the best places to capture panaromic pictures of. The best of these are the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, with dazzling views over the Alfama; the Miradouro das Portas Do Sol and Miraduoro Senora Do Monte, that offer a view of Alfama’s rooftops, towers, and domes descending towards the river; the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, overlooking the Baixa; and the Miradouro de Santa Catarina, the preferred spot for Lisbon’s guitar-strumming bohemians.
Be warned, this takes considerable physical effort, since most of the viewpoints are atop steep hills.
#5 Museum Hop (For Free)
Come the first Sunday of every month, catch some of the big attractions in Lisbon at no cost you, including the Museu Nacional do Azulejo tile museum, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos in Belém, the Torre de Belém and the unmissable art collection of the Museu Gulbenkian.
#6 Have an Authentic Portuguese Custard Tart
It is this reason why anyone would come to Portugal, no? Portuguese custard tart is an emblem of Portuguese cuisine, with its recipe so closely guarded that you cannot find a tart that tastes the same anywhere else. These tarts are best enjoyed with a dash of cinnamon powder, and some like to pair it with coffee.
#7 And a Cup of Ginjinha
Taste their very own ginjinha, a popular Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries. This was quite an eye-opening experience for me. Some shops offer you ginjinha in chocolate cups, while others leave a surprise for you at the bottom. Finishing off the liqueur with something sweet is said to complement the strong taste of liqueur well.
#8 Party the Night Away in Bairro Alto
Think you’ve finished your list of things to do in Lisbon? There is nothing like ending your fulfilling day in Lisbon at Bairro Alto. It is the place to be for those hankering after a fun night out, and promises to leave you feeling more energetic than you came in with. Lisbon’s night scene is one not to be missed.
Read the article on Bel Around the World.