White houses, blue skies, red roofs - Lisbon is located almost on the westernmost edge of Europe, and those who get here will have personal geographical discoveries. Climb up steep streets, hunt vintage trams and smell the ocean and grilled sardines. We'll tell you where to go first, what to try and where to take cool photos for Instagram.
Text: Evgeniya Pisman
Castle of Saint George
The medieval fortress and observation deck are two in one. King Alphonse I recaptured the castle from what the Portuguese called "Moors" (a collective name for North African, predominantly Islamic peoples who conquered a significant part of the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the 8th century; today the term is considered incorrect), and appointed it a royal residence. Towers, fortress walls, cast iron cannons - the best panoramic view of the city opens from here. The victory of the Portuguese is reminiscent of the gate of Martim Moniz - that was the name of the knight, who, in the midst of the siege, saw an open door in the wall and rushed to it, despite the fact that it was a trap. Enemies were waiting outside the door, but even being mortally wounded, he blocked the passage with his body to help others get into the fortress.
The immense monastery of the Jeronimites, adorned with stone designs, turrets and Manueline curls, was a way to say thank you. “If Vasco da Gama finds a sea route to India and successfully returns home, I will build such a monastery that the Virgin Mary will gasp in the sky,” King Manuel I swore. Vasco da Gama succeeded, and Manuel I inhaled the aroma of Indian spices, laid the first stone in the foundation of the monastery. The monastery was built for a hundred years.
The architect built it, looking back at the neighboring Jeronimos monastery and not sparing the graceful watchtowers and Manueline curls. At first, the tower was planned as part of the fortifications, but it turned out to be such a cute toy that it became a separate symbol of Lisbon. One of the corner turrets rests on the figure of a rhinoceros. The unknown sculptor did not come up with anything, but depicted the animal as it is: a year before that, an outlandish beast appeared on the streets of Lisbon - a rhinoceros was sent to King Manuel as at from India. The voyage lasted four months, after which the stunned rhinoceros landed near the tower under construction and with a heavy gait headed towards the royal menagerie.
Districts of Alfama and Mouraria
Arabian buildings, the sounds of fado and the soul of Lisbon. Here, the streets suddenly become staircases, hostesses rinse their linen in the air, azulejo tiles alternate with bright graffiti. Two blocks desperately climb the hill, pushing the streets. They go to Alfama and Mouraria after the "old" Lisbon and the ordinary life that flows on its streets. Residents of the neighborhoods take out chairs, put them at the door - fry fish on a wire rack, drink coffee or ginjin, and discuss the news. Travelers hide maps, take in more air in their chest and dive deeper in order to tick the box "I've seen the real Lisbon".
Garden at the Palace of the Marquis de Fronteira
The descendants of the marquis live in the palace, and you can get there only with a guided tour at certain hours. It's easier to get into the garden, and there is also something to do there - consider the azulejo tiles, on which religious subjects give way to hunting scenes and seals. Tiles cover each bench, fountains and wall panels are lined with it. The old chapel is decorated with shards of pottery from the 17th century: according to legend, the dishes were thoroughly interrupted by the Marquis's servants after the king visited the owner, since it was believed that everything that the monarch touched during the feast could not be reused. “You can't use it, but you can decorate the chapel,” the Marquis decided, fingering shards of cobalt blue.
It has become a tourist destination for a long time, but this makes it no less beautiful.The streets of Alfama and the wooden yellow tram are made for each other. You can ride through the quarters of Grasse, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela - the tram miraculously fits into turns, desperately climbs hills, creaks and grinds. At the same time, not a single modern public transport can replace the historical worker and squeeze through these streets - so narrow that you can stick out your hand and help the Alfamian hostess hang out the laundry.
Santa Justa Elevator
An openwork finger pointing to the blue sky of Lisbon. The architect is often called Eiffel's favorite student, because only he could have come up with such an airy silhouette. But no, Raul Mesnier du Ponsard just loved lifts and funiculars and built them all over Portugal. The metallic lace Santa Justa elevator is the most impressive and photogenic.
Calsada portuguesa, or portuguese mosaic
Mosaic paving stones of basalt and limestone - she sometimes draws waves under her feet, then she lays out abstract black and white patterns. They say that the habit of laying out the streets with waves, fish and ships came along with the very rhinoceros from India: so that the rhino did not stain itself with street mud, King Manuel ordered to pave the streets thoroughly, and the masons did their best. Look for the most beautiful mosaics on Avenida da Liberdade, in the Baixa and Chiado neighborhoods.
The lift overcomes two hundred and eighty picturesque meters of paving stones and colorful houses. The route is considered to be the most beautiful in Lisbon - here you will find a steep street, candy houses, branch rails, a yellow trailer and a panorama of the river.
View from above
Miradouro das Portas do Sol
Translated, this observation deck is called the "Gate of the Sun", and one name is as intoxicating as a glass of young wine vigne verde. It was once a gateway in the wall that surrounded Lisbon - today it sits in the sea of red roofs of Alfama and the cobalt blue of the Tagus River.
Miradouro da graça
A wonderful lookout with thick pine caps, outdoor cafe tables and a panoramic view from the Castle of St. George to the 25 April bridge. You can pour wine and watch the sun fall into the ocean.
Miradouro de Santa Catarina
In the evening, street musicians give concerts here, people lie on the grass, and ships sail along the Tagus River. Even if this observation deck does not have a particularly panoramic view, people come here for the atmosphere, spontaneous concerts and the beauty of the water surface.
Love, separation and saudade, that is, a feeling of radiant melancholy. All the tunes of the traditional musical genre of fado are about vague sadness, pain under the heart, nostalgia and regret for the unfulfilled.
Cod with cream - hello to the fishing history of Lisbon. For cod, fishermen went far to the north - they dried and salted the catch so that the fish survived the long journey. And then local housewives prepared dishes from dried fish, never repeating themselves throughout the year. Bakalyau-com-natash is also made from soaked dried cod, which turns into a tender casserole with a crust.
Pastel de nata
Small custard cake. A real pastel de nata should be warm, sprinkled with cinnamon and eaten in a minute. The people of Lisbon swear that the most correct cakes are made in Belem according to a secret recipe - that's what they call it: paste de belem. Everything else is imitation and has the simple name of "cream pie" or pastel de nata. However, the taste of both versions is equally delicious.
lives in Lisbon for 4 years, moved out of love for the city
After a while, you start to get tired of the very tourist spaces, no matter how beautiful they are. Therefore, you always want to find something new. Here are a few places you can still try and see Lisbon without getting caught up in the tourist crowd. Unless you have to wait in line in a cafe with traditional desserts, but it's worth it!
A relatively new place, but has already become a favorite among the Portuguese and tourists. Manteigaria only sells the traditional pasta de nata. Besides the fact that they are the tastiest here, the cafe has one more bonus - you can watch the cooking process.And, which is remarkable and rare for Portuguese establishments, it is open until midnight.
The address: Rua do Loreto, 2
The former palace, which has now turned into a concept store, where local brands of clothing, footwear, cosmetics are collected. There is a restaurant, a bar and an indoor terrace where you can relax - even if you don't plan to buy anything, it is worth stopping by for the sake of the building itself and the beautiful interiors.
The address: Praça do Príncipe Real, 26
Casa do Alentejo
Another place worth visiting for the interior and patio. Here you can taste the cuisine of Alentejo, the southern region of Portugal: on the first floor there is a small tavern with low prices, and on the second there is a full-fledged restaurant with a classic interior.
The address: R. das Portas de Santo Antão, 58
Observation deck of the National Pantheon
(Church of Saint Engracia)
An unobvious and not very popular observation deck, which is located on the roof of the pantheon. From there you can see the old district of Alfama, as well as the Tagus River and moored ships. Near this church on Tuesdays and Saturdays there is a large flea market - Feira da Ladra.
The address: Campo de santa clara
Photos: mlehmann78 - stock.adobe.com, sytnik - stock.adobe.com, vasanty - stock.adobe.com, e55evu - stock.adobe.com, Alexander - stock.adobe.com