Downtown Lisbon offers old world charm that’s best absorbed by walking its streets
The capital city of Lisbon evokes a sense of history and old school charm that’s quite unlike most European cities. The hilly coastal city is renowned for its historical architecture, cobblestone pathways and alleys, café culture and Fado music, which is why it’s perfect for exploring on the heels of your own feet. So, if you ever wanted to feel the pulse of Lisbon, all you have to do to get to the heart of this city and put your best foot forward…
Stroll The Baxia District
The main downtown area of Lisbon, the Baxia district is the main shopping and business areas of the city. Also a popular tourist area, this site is connected by several stunning plazas which are lined with magnificent 18th-century architecture. The area is dotted extensively with stores and retail outlets as well as bars and restaurants, most of which are located on the main Rua Augusta Street. The walkway is also a hotspot for local buskers and street vendors, and it’s the perfect place to pick up an authentic Portuguese souvenir or two.
Marvel At The Praça do Comércio
Arguably the grandest plazas in all of Lisbon and possibly even Europe, the Praça do Comércio is the most photographed spot in the city. The impressive square, which once stood as a gateway to the city, is now a gathering place for locals and tourists, and it’s easy to see why. The Praça do Comércio is flanked by traditional painted buildings on both sides and the stunning Rua Augusta Arch in the foreground. Smack in the middle of the plaza is a magnificent statue of King José I, which serves as a reminder of the once-mighty Portuguese empire.
Hop Aboard A Tram
The city’s vintage tram network is a key facet of Lisbon and it’s much a key transportation service as well as a historical attraction. Lisbon’s tram service has been in operation since 1873 and it services a large part of the city, especially the downtown area of Lisbon. The hop-on, hop-off service plies the city’s main districts and tickets are available from various kiosks throughout the city as well as metro stations as well.
Ride The Elevador de Santa Justa
The highly ornate, neo-classical Elevador Santa Justa is not only stunning to look at but also represents one of the advancements of Europe’s industrial age. Despite its stunning design, the elevator is still highly-functional as it’s used to transport visitors up one of the city’s steepest hills, which leads to the ruins of the Carmo Church. The lift also leads to a viewing platform which provides a bird’s eye view of the city. A ticket to ride the Elevador de Santa Justa costs €2.80.
Kick Back At Rossio Square
Also known as the Praca Dom Pedro IV, the plaza is a popular gathering spot for both locals and visitors. The impressive square is lined with stone paving, elaborate fountains and a grand statue of Dom Pedro IV. Cafés and coffee shops dot the area where many visitors stop by to recharge with a refreshment or beverage. Also located a stone's throw away from Rossio Square is the National Theatre and the Igreja de Sao Domingo, an old church that still stands tall despite being partially destroyed by fires and earthquakes.
Photo credits: 123rf