Lisbon City Guide: things to do in LisbonThe capital of Portugal is a gorgeous city that is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations among travellers in Western Europe. Here the sun shines an average of 290 days a year and temperature rarely drop below 15 degrees Celsius. Situated on the borders of Tagus River, Lisbon features a picturesque landscape, a rich historical background and a wide array of activities that fascinate visitors of all ages.
The city’s strategic central position and outstanding port made it the country’s capital in 1256. During the Portuguese discoveries in 15th and 16th century, Lisbon thrived as the center of a colossal empire with great wealth. Evidence of its grandeur can still be seen today in Jerónimos Monastery and Torre de Belém.
In 1755 a major earthquake with subsequent fires and a tsunami devastated large parts of city and its surrounding areas so it had to be reconstructed completely. Alfama was the only neighborhood that wasn’t touched by the destructions, remaining until today Lisbon’s oldest district.
Lisbon is a relatively small city, with a population of over half a million inhabitants. In 2015 the Portuguese capital has welcomed more than 4 million visitors, a number which is expected to be even bigger in the following years. Featuring remarkable history, magnificent castles, modern architecture and a vivid nightlife scene, no wonder Lisbon is one of the most captivating cities in Europe.
Lisbon's vibePerfectly combining old customs and classical history with contemporary innovation and cultural entertainment, the atmosphere in Lisbon is lively and cosmopolitan. It’s a city that has no age. People in Lisbon are very friendly; you’ll figure that out when you ask someone on the street to help you find the most typical place to listen to Fado music, using hands and feet to explain himself. After all, hospitality is one of the most characteristic things that make Lisbon so popular.
Getting around in LisbonThe most traditional way of transportation in Lisbon is taking the tram. Initially called the “Americanos”, due to their origin from USA, trams arrived in Portugal in the 19th century. The outlook of contemporary Lisbon is vigorously connected with these characteristic yellow trams. Apart from the modern Line 15, the city’s tramway system generally occupies small four wheel vehicles with a design that dates back to the 20th century. Symbolic and functional at the same time, these trams are ideal for the narrow, hilly streets of the central city.
Other than trams, a bus network is also available in Lisbon while, if you wish to get from one corner of the city to another, metro is probably the fastest way. In case you are a biking type, good news is that there are 6 bus lines where you can bring your bike along with no additional costs. One of the safest and most likeable cycling spots is Parque das Nacoes, with a beautiful cycle path along Tagus River, laid out between Baixa and Belem.
Due to the Tagus River, Lisbon is divided in two parts and once used to be connected exclusively by ferries. Although the construction of the Vasco Da Gama and 25 de Abril bridges made transportation across the river possible by other means, ferries are still available. To those who wish to explore Lisbon other than by land, these means of water transport can provide a wonderful touring experience.
Lisbon's restaurants & culinary cultureLisbon’s culinary scene is bustling of world-class restaurants offering a great variety of meat and vegetarian options. The city offers various cool places to fulfill your appetite: from tapas bars and steak houses to themed restaurants and gourmet dining, Lisbon‘s got you covered.
But what’s Portuguese cuisine really devoted to is sea food. In the city where you can find over a thousand different recipes to try “bacalhau”, the beloved salted cod, trying some fish specialties is a must. Another must-try is the famous “caldo verde”, the traditional green soup which makes the best late night supper, after a night out in Lisbon.
To those who got a sweet tooth, Lisbon has an amazing sugary treat to offer. It is named “pastel de nata” and it’s a kind of crispy custard tart, full of aroma and flavour. One of the most iconic samples of it can be found in a traditional bakery in Belem, where the “pastéis” they make are so famous they actually renamed the sweet delicacy to “pastéis de Belem”. Best way to enjoy them is together with a hot cup of coffee, when they‘re still warm from the oven.