One day in Lisbon: What to do and what to visit?

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One day in Lisbon: The city

Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal. Before you read about how to spend one day in Lisbon, here is some general information that you might find interesting. It is the biggest city in the country with around 3 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Lisbon is on the West coast of Portugal, at the mouth of the Tagus River near the Atlantic Ocean. With Porto, it is one of the two Portuguese global cities. Therefore, it comes 9th on the list of most visited cities in Southern Europe. In 2018, Lisbon received more than 3,500,000 tourists. 

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, meaning it is one of the cities that were continuously inhabited for the longest time. It is also the second-oldest European capital city after Athens. Lisbon’s origins go back to the Neolithic period. Numerous civilizations settled in the Lisbon area along the centuries such as Indo-European Celts and Phoenicians.

During the Roman golden era, Lisbon was integrated into the Roman empire. Back then, Romans called Lisbon Municipium Cives Romanorum Felicitas Julia Olisipo. Lisbon changed hands multiple times: Moors, Norwegian crusaders, and Christian crusaders each conquered the city at different times. 

Lisbon is composed of several neighborhoods or freguesia, even if they have no clear boundaries. They feature a common historical culture, living standards, and more. Regarding architecture, there are many different styles as the history of the city is so rich and diverse. There are Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, Modern, and Postmodern constructions. These various historical heritages as well as the cultural diversity that is present in the city are what make Lisbon a fascinating place to visit.

Typical tram in Lisbon, Image from Pixabay

One day in Lisbon: Useful information

The temperatures in Lisbon are pleasant all year round and even if you go there in winter, you probably won’t get cold. However, if you want to enjoy the beach or water sports, you should still choose to go during summer. The temperatures won’t get hot to the point that you cannot visit the city properly. Indeed, the average high temperature in July and August is 28°C for an average low of 18°C. 

Lisbon offers several types of accommodations for your stay. You can choose a rental house or apartment, a camping site, or a hotel.  For one person in July, the prices for one night in a hotel vary from €22 to more than €300. 

Lisbon has an airport within the city limits, the Humberto Delgado Airport. There are also various train stations in the city. Once in Lisbon, you will be able to choose from many different public transportations. There is a metro, which connects nearly every part of the city, and even the airport. You will be able to use the trams, which are a traditional type of public transport in Lisbon. You will see that early 20th-century trams are still used nowadays. Of course, buses are also available, as well as ferries, in order to cross the Tagus River.

Belém Tower, Image from Pixabay

One day in Lisbon: What you should do

Belém Tower

The Belém Tower dates back to the 16th century. The construction began in 1514 and ended in 1519. It was built to protect the mouth of the Tagus River and the city itself. It was also a point of embarkation and disembarkation for Portuguese explorers. The Belém Tower is a great example of the Manueline style or Portuguese Late Gothic. There are several rooms to see in the tower. There is the Governor’s Hall, the King’s Hall, the Audience Hall and even a loggia from where you will have a great view of the river.

Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery or Hieronymites Monastery is a former monastery near the Tagus River. It is only 15 minutes away from the Tower on foot. Like the Tower of Belém, the Monastery is of Manueline style. The inside of the Monastery is as impressive as the outside. You will be able to admire the cloisters with their beautifully decorated arches. The Monastery also houses the National Archeological Museum and the Maritime Museum.

Castelo de São Jorge

São Jorge Castle is 20 minutes away from the Monastery by car and 35 minutes away by bus. Saint George Castle overlooks the historical center of Lisbon. It means that you will be able to take beautiful pictures while you are there. The first fortifications on this hilltop date back as far as the 1st century BC. This monument is interesting thanks to its history, and also thanks to the incredible view of Lisbon it offers.

Where to have lunch

There are a lot of places to eat near Saint George Castle. You could also choose to get closer to your next destination to have your lunch. In any case, here is a link to the best restaurants in Lisbon. You could choose a traditional Portuguese place or another type of restaurant if you are not tempted by their typical dishes. These include Bacalhau à brás which is codfish with potatoes, onions, and egg. Sardines are also a popular food in Lisbon, like Caldo Verde, a kale and potato soup. 

Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira

If you ate at a restaurant close to the Castle, it will take you 45 minutes by public transportation to get to your next destination. The Palace of the Marquesses of Fronteira was built in 1671 as a hunting pavilion. A great collection of azulejos (Portuguese tiles) decorate the whole property and Palace itself. Although the current Marquesses of Fronteira still live in the Palace, you can visit both the inside and outside. Both are very enjoyable, and a walk around the gardens is particularly nice after lunch and in the summer heat.

Lisboa Story Centre

Going to the Lisboa Story Centre from the Palace will take you 40 minutes with public transportation. The Story Centre tells us the story of the city through facts and events. In this special kind of museum, you will discover the story of the city thanks to elaborate sets, multimedia, and sensory experiences. The Lisboa Story Centre presents everything in an interesting manner, and you truly take pleasure in learning things this way. There are 6 different areas in total.

End of your day in Lisbon

The Lisboa Story Centre is on the Praça do Comércio. You might want to take a stroll around this large square to finish off your day. The Commerce Square faces the harbor and there are numerous restaurants, cafés, and vendors. You could also stop at one of the beaches around Lisbon on your way home. A walk on the beach before putting an end to your day in Lisbon seems like a great idea!

Praça do Comércio, Image from Unsplash

If you want to read about the best travel shows click here, or here to read about different types of accommodation.