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Travel Story by Ian Reynolds

  Postcard to Lisbon
Lisbon, Portugal

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Built on a series of hills above the broad Tejo estuary, Lisbon’s quarters are linked by an amazing network of cobbled streets with outrageous gradients, up which crank trams and funiculars.

To get the most of your visit at least two days sightseeing is recommended.

It is comfortably warm from April to October (average daily temp: 20-28°C) with cooling Atlantic breezes.


Mosteiro dos Jerónimos at Belém – A World Heritage site, this manueline monastic complex has intricate carved stonework and magnificent cloisters. The cloisters is worth the admission fee.

Belém Tower (Torré de Belém) – Lisbon’s most recognisable landmark . Its Moorish influence is clear in the delicately arched windows and balconies. An architectural delight with an assortment of towers, turrets and battlements, whose ramparts are still washed by the River Tagus (Rio Tejo) on three sides.

Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) – this angular concrete monument commemorates the birth of the journeys to the New World in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Castelo de São Jorge – Reached by a confusing series of twisting roads, the castle is perhaps the most spectacular building in Lisbon because of its fantastic position high above the city. This was once the heart of a walled city that spread downhill as far as the river. A series of gardens, walkways and viewpoints within the Moorish walls makes this an enjoyable place to wander about for a couple of hours, with spectacular views over the city from its ramparts and towers.

A selection of some of the many places to see:

Sé – Lisbon’s cathedral, one of the city’s oldest buildings and situated alongside Lisbon’s most picturesque tram route.

Martime Museum (Museu de Marinha) situated in Belém.

Lisbon Oceanarium (Oceanário de Lisboa), one of Europe’s most spectacular oceanariums.

Fundacão Calouste Gulbenkian – From Ancient Egyptian to René Lalique: one man’s astonishing private art collection housed in a stylish cultural center.

Walk around Alfama's winding streets, and wander around Rossio and the Praca do Comercio.

As for food, there are some great places to eat at in Barrio Alto, which also has the best nightlife.

If you are thinking of taking a day trip out of Lisbon then go to Sintra. It is only about 45 minutes away on the train. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it has the National Palace, the Pena Palace and a great Moorish castle ruin.


If coming from the airport, buy a day pass (3 euros) on the #91 Aerobus – this will give you one day’s travel on the city’s buses and trams.

The best way to get around is by tram – ascending some of the steepest gradients of any city in the world, the five tram routes are worth taking for the ride alone. The best route is #28, which runs from Graca to Prazeres.

The best way to reach the sights in Belém is on tram #15. And to get to the castle take bus #37 or trams #12 or #28.


Reduced (concessionary) or even free admission is available to some of the sights if you are able to give some evidence that you are deaf. This is true for Castelo de São Jorge but not for Torré de Belém.

Click on photo to enlarge

Monument to the Discoveries  Belém Tower  Taking the tram

Date Submitted:
19 Dec 2008

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