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Are you craving a change of pace; of trying new foods in a new city, of taking long strolls down unfamiliar streets and falling in love with the people and architecture with your back to the wind and face to the sun? Portugal is the ideal destination for summer sunshine, world-class wines and beautiful beaches. Lisbon offers travellers and businesspeople alike the perfect escape, even with only a short break you can experience all that this destination has to offer.
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Your first day in Lisbon is a chance to immerse yourself in the bustling Portuguese street life before discovering castles, ruins, and spectacular architectural marvels.
Lisbon’s main thoroughfare, Liberty Avenue is lined with designer boutiques, luxury brands, and stunning architecture. Located in the Restauradores neighbourhood, Liberty Avenue takes its inspiration from Parisian boulevards
More than just a church, this monastery boasts breathtaking views of the Alfama district, the oldest area of Lisbon with narrow winding streets. It is the burial site of the Braganza monarchs and features a beautiful baroque altarpiece and captivating decorative interiors. Part of Portugal's rich history, the name of this seventeenth century Mannerist church translates to ‘Saint Vincent Outside the Walls’, as historically it was located outside the walls of Lisbon.
Planning on meeting someone for the day? Rossio Square (officially called Praça Dom Pedro IV after King Pedro of Brazil) is a popular meeting spot surrounded by interesting architecture. The art deco Cafe Nicola and the neoclassical Dona Maria II National Theatre among the most notable.
The importance of Moorish architecture in Lisbon cannot be overstated. Standing on the highest hill in Portugal, St George’s castle is a popular example. Beyond the interesting design and great views, the castle is also a great way to learn about the history of Portugal. The permanent exhibition has artifacts dating back as far as the seventh century BC. Once home to kings, it’s now open to the public for you to explore.
Once the largest church is Lisbon, the remnants of this fifteenth century church contain the burial sites of royal family members, archaeological treasures, Moorish azulejos and a small museum. Damaged in the earthquake of 1755, Carmo Convent is one of Portugal’s most spectacular ruins.
The only vertical public lift in Lisbon, it’s over a century old and was classified as a national monument in 2002. Designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, ‘Carmo Lift’ is only a short walk from the ruins of Carmo Convent.
Wander this bustling and lively street filled with buskers, shops and cafes. Spot the famous Triumphal Arch, built to mark the reconstruction of Lisbon after the same earthquake that partly destroyed Carmo Convent. Stop in for a bite to eat as you recharge and prepare for the afternoon, or just simply do a bit of people watching.
This unique building with a facade covered in diamond shaped spikes was actually destroyed and rebuilt in the wake of the 1755 earthquake. Having served various purposes over its lifetime (including a warehouse for codfish), Casa Dos Bicos is now home to the Jose Saramago Foundation, honouring the Nobel Prize winning author. Depending on the day, you can also catch theatre plays, talks, and workshops within its walls.
Your second day in Lisbon takes you though palaces, museums, lush botanical gardens, and galleries, ending with a truly iconic view of this famous European port city.
Enjoy breakfast before heading out to the Ajuda National Palace. Formerly the home of Portuguese King Luis I, the national monument houses art, cultural institutions, collections of photographs, and furniture. Guests are able to explore the Audience Chamber, music room, and other private rooms of the King, as well as the State Rooms.
Built in the eighteenth century, the Palácio de Belém is an architectural wonder consisting of five buildings in the Baroque and Mannerist styles. It’s the official residence of the Portuguese President. When a green flag with the national coat of arms is raised outside, you know the President is in attendance.
Over 500 species of plants can be found at this tropical paradise nestled away next to the Belém National Palace. Tranquil and unique, you’ll find rare species of trees in this garden, including the Canary Islands Dragon Tree among many others.
Tracing the history of transportation from the sixteenth century onwards, the Coach Museum boasts a splendid number of historical carriages and transport vehicles. You’ll also find workshops and guided tours in an exciting, modern space only a stone’s throw from the Belém National Palace.
Not a far walk from the Monument you’ll find the Berardo Collection Museum. Jose Berardo’s collection boasts works from Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and Pablo Picasso, along with other works from the Surrealist, Pop Art, and Abstract Expressionist movements. Located in the heart of Belém, this is a must see for any trip to Lisbon.
Overlooking the Tagus River (Rio Tejo), this historic monument depicts over 30 memorable figures from Portugal’s Age of Discovery, including the royal prince and explorer Henry the Navigator. Beyond the monument there’s also art exhibitions on year round that will help to deepen your understanding of Portuguese history.
Portugal’s nautical prowess extends deep into their history. At the Navy Museum you’ll gain deep insight into the evolution of the Portuguese Navy over the past 200 years. Located in the historical Jerónimos Monastery.
Conclude your Lisbon adventure with Belém Tower, the iconic waterfront fortification built in the 16th Century is a UNESCO world heritage site built from limestone in the Manueline style.
One final piece of trivia - it was said that the Tower stood in the middle of the Tagus River on a small island. Why is it on the shore? After the earthquake of 1755 the river was redirected, changing the landscape of Lisbon forever. Share that story with friends as the sun sets on your holiday in Lisbon.