Clickstay on tour: Lisbon
Lisbon is a city made for peacefully strolling along cobbled lanes amongst looming gothic buildings and rolling hillsides. It’s one of the oldest cities in the world, predating London, Paris and Rome, and one of the most popular European cities, with around 27% of the country living in the Lisbon Metropolitan area. It’s a place for the curious mind, with something to discover around every corner, whether it’s a fresh seafood restaurant or a scenic city view atop one of Lisbon’s trademark seven hills.
Clickstay’s Sophie visited Lisbon recently, and these are some of the things she thinks you won’t want to miss on your visit to the famed Portuguese city.
Jerónimos Monastery stands proudly outside the city centre and has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lisbon. In 1983, it became a UNESCO world heritage site. Today it’s a striking example of Manueline style architecture and people flock to see its majestic designs. It was once a monastery of the Order of Saint Jerome, a Catholic military- religious order, where the monks would tend to seafarers, who sail along the Tagus river. It’s a definite must-see for anyone looking to understand Lisbon’s compelling past.
Also known as the Tower of St Vincent and another UNESCO world heritage site that you wouldn’t want to miss. It’s a towering gothic masterpiece facing the river and built from ivory-white limestone. It was commissioned by King John II in the early 16th century, as part of a defence system at the mouth of the Tagus river. You can find it close to the Jerónimos Monastery, just make your way along a narrow walkway from Belém’s broad esplanade. This is one of the most iconic sites in all of Lisbon and it’s the perfect place to take children, who will enjoy playing amongst the parapets. It’s a sight not to miss.
Pastel de Nata
For anyone who has a sweet tooth and aims to try some traditional Portuguese cuisine, then you will want to taste these famous Portuguese custard tarts, made from egg yolks, golden caster sugar, cornflour, milk vanilla extract and pastry. During the 18th century, Catholic monks in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belem created the dish as a solution to the leftover egg yolks, obtained from nuns using the whites for starching clothes. In 1837 the monasteries closed and the recipe sold to sugar refineries, who opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. Today you can find the pastry throughout Lisbon and the surrounding Portuguese area. It’s perfect for a sweet snack while you relish the city sights.
This is Lisbon’s oldest district and a delight for anyone planning to wander aimlessly through the city and discover new sights around every corner. The cobbled streets, red slatted roofs, rustic scenery and towering hills make the ideal location for budding photographers. You’ll find it nestled between the Moorish São Jorge Castle, perched on a hilltop and the Tejo river, the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula. Plus, if you're looking to board Lisbon’s iconic yellow trams, Alfama is one of the places you'll find them, rattling along its cobbled streets.
Day trip to Sintra
A mere half an hour drive or an hour train ride away is the popular municipality of Sintra, known for being part of the Portuguese Riviera. It’s perfect for a day trip from the capital city, where you can discover the Pena Palace, sitting atop a hill in the Sintra mountains. You can spend the day gazing at the romantic architectural monuments scattered across the area or take a visit to the Sintra-Cascais Nature Park, where you’ll find the Serra de Sintra Mountain Range. Sintra has become an exceedingly popular place to visit, as the iconic area has become legendary in the Portuguese literary world.