Lisbon for Lisbon Lovers

São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint overlooking Lisbon
If you become one of those travelers who fall in love with Lisbon on their first visit, or are returning to the city to explore it further, there are a few places you should not miss. To understand the city’s history and culture, start your day with a visit to the CITY MUSEUM. Located uptown by the Campo Grande park, it presents archaeological finds that tell the story of Roman, Visigothic, and Moorish Lisbon, and shows the evolution of the city through models, paintings, and tile murals. Most interesting of all is the huge model of Lisbon showing the city before the 1755 earthquake that destroyed the grand imperial city, including the royal palace and opera house by the river.

After that, head to the oldest neighborhood in the city, and visit FABULA URBIS, a book shop entirely dedicated to Lisbon. Located not far from the cathedral in Alfama, it offers books about Lisbon’s art, history, architecture, literature, gastronomy, and all kinds of subjects related to the city. An upper floor often holds temporary exhibitions, book presentations, and recitals.

Continue in Alfama but head in the direction of the riverfront. That’s where you’ll find the FADO MUSEUM, renovated last year to better present the city’s soulful sounds. You’ll get a sense of the cultural and social impact of that special music genre in Lisbon and Portugal, and also get to hear a good selection of recordings.

From there move on to Belem, and visit the DISCOVERIES MONUMENT. Located on the waterfront that served as the departure point for many of the world’s voyages of discovery, it also has an auditorium screening a film presenting the history and culture of Lisbon. It’s available in several languages and helps you understand how Lisbon came to be what it is today, and from there you can take an elevator to the top of the monument to admire the city’s main landmarks from a bird’s-eye perspective.

Finally, at the end of the day head to the SÃO PEDRO DE ALCÂNTARA VIEWPOINT, from where you can look straight into the castle crowning the city. Admire the view over all of ancient Lisbon as you have a drink at the kiosk cafe added last year after a clean-up of the garden, and before you leave the city get a quirky souvenir from THE WRONG SHOP not too far away in the Chiado district. (UPDATE: This shop has closed.)