Terreiro do Paço
The Terreiro do Paço
(in English: The Palace Square) is the city’s most emblematic square.
It was built after the 1755 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and fires
that destroyed most the city of Lisbon and brings together Downtown
Lisbon and the Tagus river.
Today, the square is the address of several ministries and governmental offices, but also of different restaurants and coffee shops, including Martinho da Arcada, one of the Lisbon’s oldest and a fovorite writing hangout of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. At the praça you can also find some other points of touristic interest such as the Lisbon Story Centre or the Information point of the “Turismo de Lisboa”. A walk around the “Baixa Pombalina” or simply “Baixa”(Downtown), as the locals call it, is mandatory. There you will find some other emblematical points of the city such as the “Elevador de Santa Justa” (Santa Justa Lift), an iron relic from the beginnings of the 20th century built by Mesnier de Ponsard, an engineer working together with Eiffel and, already in Chiado, the ruins of the “Convento do Carmo”, a convent destroyed during the 1755 earthquake which was kept as a ruinous reminder of this natural disaster.
A visit to Lisbon cannot be complete without a yellow tram ride. The tramway network (in Portuguese: Rede de Elétricos de Lisboa) operates since 1873. Once one of the main means of public transportation in the city’s capital, today it works mostly in the historical neighbourhoodsand is a popular touristic attraction. A tram ride is one of the best ways of absorbing the charm of the small narrow streets that go up and down the hills and typical neighborhoods such as Alfama, Castelo and Graça. We suggest you take the no.28 starting from either Chiado or Rua da Conceição and head all the way to Graça, a residential area that is host to one the finest viewpoints in Lisbon, the Miradouro da Graça.
Belém it another very popular area with both foreign and national visitors. Start with a walk around the gardens or a visit to a museum, such as the Berardo Collection of contemporary art, a free of charge museum located inside the Centro Cultural de Belém, or a visit to a manueline monument such as the Jerónimos Monastery. Another popular attraction is the National Coach Museum which displays several beautiful historical coaches, a testimony of the country’s former economic power. In Belém you will also be able to try the “Pasteis de Belém”, a special recipe for the classical pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) which, at this café, should be enjoyed warm and served with powder sugar and cinnamon on top. They do not travel well, so even if you buy several, you should try to eat them immediately, which we are sure you will not find too hard. After the sweet treat, nothing like a walk on the riverside, passing by some of Lisbon’s emblematic landmarks like the “Padrão dos Descobrimentos”, the manueline Belém Tower and the “25 de Abril” bridge.
In 1998, a the World Exhibition of Lisbon took place, under the motto “The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future”. Honoring this motto, Lisbon’s Ocenarium was built, and since then over one million people per year have visited the largest indoor aquarium in Europe. The Oceanarium includes four tanks, each representing different habitats with their native fauna and flora – the north Atlantic coast, the Antarctic coastline, the Pacific kelp forests and the tropical Indian Ocean coral reefs, arranged around an extremely impressive fifth central tank. Some of the Oceanarium’s most famous habitants include a rare adult sunfish, two giant spider crabs and two sea otters affectionately named Eusébio and Amália. The main objective of the aquarium is to display the richness that can be found in the five oceans but also to inform and educate visitors about today’s environmental challenges that oceans face.
Lisbon prides itself of its vibrant, long and varied nightlife. From traditional fado houses in Alfama, Madragoa and Bairro Alto, to small bars and “tasquinhas”, trendy clubs and bar lounges there is something to cater everyone’s taste. We recommend you do it like a local and try a bit of all in the same night. A usual night out in Lisbon should start with dinner and friends. For the more adventurous, we suggest you try one of the small traditional restaurants of Alfama (also known as “tasquinhas” or simply “tascas”), some of them with live music and fado performances, often delivered spontaneously by locals, to entertain you during dinner. Don’t forget to try the local cuisine: delicacies like “chouriço assado” (spicy pork sausage barbequed on the table), and “sardinhas assadas” (grilled sardines), are delicious with a nice glass of Portuguese wine. If you prefer fine dining, then Eleven, Pedro e o Lobo or 100 Maneiras are all good options. The Bairro Alto is the central meeting point after dinner, with several small bars and pubs located along the sinuous streets crowded with locals and tourists alike. The Bairro Alto establishments will close around 2 AM, but a typical night out in Lisbon is far from its end: after this you can watch the crowd walk down the hill towards Cais do Sodré, Lux or down the river to the Avenida 24 de Julho and the docks. Most clubs will be open until morning.
- Lisbon: http://www.golisbon.com/