When you think of a European destination, the first places that come to mind are Paris, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, and maybe Venice. But Europe is a vast, spectacular continent filled with special cities to visit, and Lisbon is one of them. Although growing as a major city-break destination, Lisbon remains quite underrated in the European itinerary, and once travellers arrive in the Portuguese capital, they donâ€™t know where to head first. Thatâ€™s where GoLisbon.com comes in. Itâ€™s established itself as the primary online source for the grand city by the Tagus, directing visitors to the most noteworthy sights, restaurants, hotels, and much more.Â
But even within Lisbon there are sights that are often overlooked and underrated. After deciding whether you visit the Gulbenkian, Berardo, or the Ancient Art Museum, and crossing Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and St. Georgeâ€™s Castle off your list, what other places remain hidden around Lisbonâ€™s seven hills and are often overlooked? Here are ten of them:
1. A museum with works by Tiepolo, Rubens or Brueghel, priceless Chinese porcelain, and historical pieces used by Napoleon would top the list of any art loverâ€™s itinerary, but the MEDEIROS E ALMEIDA MUSEUM is still completely unknown to visitors â€“ as well as locals!
2. The PORTUGAL PAVILION by Pritzker Award-winning architect Siza Vieira instantly grabs your attention with a gravity-defying concrete roof. Although everyone is usually running to the Oceanarium nearby and miss itâ€¦
3. An exotic TROPICAL GARDEN with rare vegetation from all corners of the globe is not found in many other big cities â€“ but it is in Lisbon, and right next to the famous Jeronimos!
4. Lisbonâ€™s cathedral is special for its fortress-like appearance, SÃ£o Roque Church has outstanding baroque chapels, and SÃ£o Vicente de Fora offers city views and some amazing tile panels â€“- but the prettiest and most monumental church in the city is ESTRELA BASILICA. Most tourists pass by during their tram 28 voyage, but donâ€™t venture inside â€“- you should, if only to admire the beautiful large-scale nativity scene.
5. For a dose of royal extravagance in Portugal, everyone knows they should go to Sintra. In fact, its spectacular fairytale palaces may induce such regal overdose, that you may end up forgetting about AJUDA PALACE in Lisbon! Strange clocks, a charming interior Winter Garden, and grand decorated-to-impress rooms await you.
6. Mention EDWARD VII PARK to any local and theyâ€™ll surely tell you about the days when it was known for late-night young male prostitutionâ€¦ Forget that! Lisbonâ€™s â€œCentral Parkâ€ is safe, beautiful, and provides a postcard-worthy view of the city descending towards the river. If that wasnâ€™t reason enough to come, there are some quite memorable jungle-like greenhouses and hothouses that make you forget youâ€™re in the middle of a city.
7. Too bad it crosses major roads located right on the border with unattractive suburbs or youâ€™d rank the FREE WATERS AQUEDUCT as one of your top sights to see in Lisbon. Itâ€™s a 1755 Earthquake survivor, and its architecture and engineering are quite impressive when you remember when it was built. The good news is that you may go on an organized tour that will provide you with all of the fascinating details.
8. You cool down by one of Rossio Squareâ€™s fountains, stop to take a photo by Comercio Squareâ€™s triumphal arch, and wait for tram 15 in Figueira Square as you watch skaters speed by the equestrian monument in the middleâ€¦ But you donâ€™t see anyone loitering around MUNICIPAL SQUARE! However, sit on one of the steps descending from the central pillory, and youâ€™ll get Lisbon in a nutshell â€“- the trademark pavement with cobblestone patterns, old trams clanking on their way to Belem, pastel-colored buildings around you, and an elegant white 18th century palace (the City Hall) radiating sunshineâ€¦ In short, you sense the serene atmosphere that defines Lisbon.
9. One of Milanâ€™s great attractions is its La Scala opera house. Naplesâ€™ San Carlo Theater is also one of its must-sees. Then thereâ€™s Parisâ€™ famous Opera, or New Yorkâ€™s great concert halls. Every city places great pride in its theatres, and Lisbon has great reason to be proud of its SÃƒO CARLOS THEATER. The neoclassical Dona Maria II Theater in Rossio Square may be the best-known classic theatre in the city, but to experience SÃ£o Carlos is recalling European cultural excellence over the centuries. And to top it all off, thereâ€™s a very pleasant restaurant with outdoor tables on the terrace. So stop by and take it all in, in true Lisbon fashion.
10. For a daytrip from Lisbon youâ€™ll be torn between a day by the sea in Cascais and Estoril, or climbing the magical hills of Sintra for its Disney-like palaces. Perhaps youâ€™ll feel a little more adventurous and may go on a tour that includes Obidos or even go as far as Evora. So you forget there is MAFRA and its superlative palace. If you have read Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramagoâ€™s novel Baltasar & Blimunda, you have read about the construction of this palaceâ€¦ Youâ€™ll surely want to see it in person.