This most picturesque of cities discovered the world yet somehow remains deliciously undiscovered itself. Explore the rich variety of lisbons quarters (bairros) and attractions.
Alfama is the oldest part of Lisbon, going from the walls of the caste São Jorge down to the Tejo. High above the city centre to the west of the Baixa is the so called Bairro Alto. This is the natural place to wind up at night. Well worth a morning or afternoon stroll to explore.
The Baixa is also Europe's first example of Neoclasssical design and urban planning. The lower town is very much the heart of the city and main shopping area.
Many of Lisbon's touristic attractions are located in Belém, amongst them are the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries, the Torre de Belém, the Belém Cultural Centre and Rua Vieira Portuense. The Belém Cultural Centre (CCB) is known as one of the great cultural centres in Europe, and a building of outstanding architecture: exhibitions, performing arts, restaurants, gardens and shops.
Naughty but Nice – The best custard tarts in Europe?
“Pasteis de Nata”, deliciously soft, sweet, custard tarts, are a cult in Lisbon. And one place is the undisputed master of making them. In Belem, just off the waterfront, is the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem - a blue and white tiled temple to eggs, cream sugar and pastry. (84-92 rua de Belem, pasteisdebelem.pt)
A tour of Lisbon's Belvederes
Nothing defines Lisbon better than its Belvedres, the lovely viewpoints from which to sit and gaze. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara sits at the top of the Elevador da Gloria, looking out across to Graça and the Castelo, it has a tiled panel detailing the view. Miradouro de Santa Catarina: Near the Bica funicular, this hidden-away viewpoint is worth seeking out. Great views over the Tagus.
The enchanting botanical gardens
Although covering 10 acres, this enchanting botanical garden in the Principe Real district is almost invisible from the surrounding streets. Laid out between 1858 and 1873, it was once considered the best botanical garden in Southern Europe. Today, although showing some clear signs of neglect, it still has one of the largest collections of subtropical vegetation in Europe.
Where to stay to take it all in?
That depends on your taste of course. A small selection of our favourite Lisbon hotels include:
Great Atmosphere: Palácio Ramalhete an 18th century palatial house turned supremely comfortable hotel;
Right in the centre of town: Casa com Janelas com Vista. Simple stylish and typical;
Design sophistication by the monastery: Jerónimos 8. You wouldn't guess from the outside, but this is ultra vanguard;
Classical luxury: Bairro Alto Hotel right in the area of the same name (the high area);
Boutique with a capital “B”: LX Boutique Hotel. The name say it, all really;
Out of this world class: Palácio Belmonte;
Underneath the Castle: Casa Costa do Castelo. Right under Lisbon's landmark St Jorge's Castle.
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