The hilly, coastal capital of Portugal is one of the great capital cities of the world. Built on seven hills, like Rome, the city is an endlessly fascinating confection of winding cobbled streets and grand architecture. Its various districts are steeped in history, but this is a city that also embraces modernity, offering the visitor a sophisticated shopping experience to rival that of Paris. Full of wonderful restaurants and cafés this is a city where you can amble endlessly and never get bored and when your feet do get tired, you can hop on one of Lisbon’s delightful trams and watch the world go by as you rattle up the cobbled streets. Choose a centrally located hotel or self- catering accommodation which will give you the opportunity to try your hand at cooking some of the great local produce to be found in the city. There are so many different experiences to be enjoyed in the city, but here are some sites you really should not miss.
Cemitério dos Prazeres
You may feel that a cemetery is rather a gloomy choice for sightseeing, but this 20-hectare site is called ‘The Cemetery of Pleasures’ and is considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. The tombs are on a grand scale and the tomb of the Pedro de Sousa Holstein family is the largest family tomb in Europe, containing the remains of over 200 family members. Situated at the terminus of tram 28, the cemetery also provides great views across to the Ponte 25 Abril, Lisbon’s very own Golden Gate Bridge.
Aqueduto das Águas Livres
Visiting this site requires you to travel a little way out of the city, but it’s well worth making the effort. Built in 1744 to supply the city with water, this 58km aqueduct is the longest in the world. You can now walk across a section of this decommissioned aqueduct and enjoy spectacular views of Lisbon in the distance.
Hospital de Bonecas
This doll’s hospital, established in 1830, is the oldest existing business still operating from its original location. On arrival at the hospital, the patient is given a diagnosis and then laid to rest in a bed while awaiting treatment. Cabinets are filled with arms, legs, eyes and wigs and the hospital also houses a fascinating toy museum. A unique and charming experience.
The National Tile Museum is housed in the spectacular, 16th Century, Madre de Deus Convent and charts the development of this quintessentially Portuguese artifact from its origins in the 15th century to the present day. Here you will find tiles on a scale that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Giant religious depictions vie with hunting scenes, fairy tales, maps and rooms entirely covered in tiles and baroque gilding. It’s an astonishing and unique museum.
The Chiado District
Bordering the Bairro Alto this historic area was entirely rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 1998. Today it is home to luxury shopping, theatres, museums and historic landmarks. Relax at A Brasileira, the district’s most famous café, or take in the spectacular views of the Tagus river and Saint George’s Castle from the viewpoint at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara.