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Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Lisbon, Portugal: The Five Best Things to Do While Visiting

The world is finally opening itself back up to international travel. This is a very welcome trend in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the past two years that have been defined by extremely strict travel regulations. However, things are finally starting to open back up in the way of domestic and even international travel. This could have you considering where you want to plan your next trip. 

If you’re considering where it is you want to go for your next vacation, you may want to consider the historical city of Lisbon, Portugal. While Lisbon is likely best known for its history tied to colonialism and its ornate architecture, genuinely experiencing Lisbon happens on the streets, conversing with locals, and enjoying the various beautiful neighborhoods that Lisbon has to offer.

Taking Tram 28

Every historic city has its own little unique flavor when it comes to public transportation. This is certainly the case when it comes to Lisbon. Instead of the tube or double-decker buses, instead of a subway metro station, Lisbon makes use of historic trams. In fact, many of these trams were the same used in WWII. While this means they come without air-conditioning and might make for a bumpy ride, taking the tram is all a part of the experience in Lisbon. 

Tram 28, in specific, is a tourist-friendly route as it passes through many of the popular neighborhoods in Lisbon. Beyond that, it also takes visitors through some of the other attractions that make Lisbon so unique and special. 

If you want to get an overview of the city when you first arrive, a trip on Tram 28 can give you just that. 

Walking Around Belém

Belém is one of the waterfront neighborhoods in Lisbon, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Not only is it home to a plenty of gorgeous sites, but Belém is also historic in the fact that it acted as a major launch-point for many historic adventurers. Belém is also the neighborhood in which the official home of the President resides, and has a bounty of gorgeous gardens that tourists and visitors can visit. 

Not only is there plenty to see and soak in when walking through Belém, but it is also home to one specific tart shop, the Pastéis de Belém. If walking along the shoreline with a world-class pastry sounds like a good way to spend a day, a trip to Lisbon may be just what you need. 

National Tile Museum

An extremely unique aspect in Portuguese architecture is the use of blue ceramic tiles, or azulejos. An observant eye can notice azulejos, these ornate blue ceramic tiles, adorned on front-doors, and used in other aspects of architecture. These tiles are even featured in some of the palaces and other important historic monuments throughout Lisbon. 

These are such a significant part of the history and culture that there is actually an entire museum dedicated to the history and display of these tiles. Some of the pieces in the museum date back to the 15th century

St. Georges Castle

St. Georges castle is a good representation of the many transitions that Lisbon has gone through over the ages. Despite the various changes in power that occurred, many of the relics have been kept intact at St. Georges castle, including the canons and underground chambers. 

Today, the castle also features brilliant gardens where onlookers can often catch some gorgeous wildlife and a restaurant where visitors can dine and drink. This castle is positioned atop the highest hill in all of Alfama which also grants it picturesque views that overlook the whole city of Lisbon. 

Staying in Cascais 

Cascais was once a fishing village, but in the early 1900’s it’s picturesque seaside views made it a popular place for the rich and royal. Locationally, Cascais is about a 45 minute train-ride from Lisbon’s green line.

Today, this beachy town is popular among locals and tourists alike. Locals often take day trips out to the beach to lounge, relax, and tan their buns, while tourists will find a healthy population of resorts and hotels peppered throughout the seaside town. This makes Cascais a wonderful place to stay during your trip to Lisbon, as it will give you great access to a variety of beaches. 

Finishing up on Visiting Lisbon

Lisbon is a very historic place and there is a lot to both see and do when you visit. As such, you’re going to want to make the most out of every minute. Even on your last day, after checking out of your hotel, you may want to take one more ride on the tram. If this sounds like you, take advantage of luggage storage in Lisbon so you don’t have to drag your luggage around with you on your last little Lisbon adventure.