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Lisbon 7-8-9-10 March 2016

Holiday in Lisbon!

It has always been my desire to visit Portugal. After talking with several Portuguese friends, I was intrigued more and more and they told me what would capture my attention. In the end the choice of Lisbon was inevitable.
Known as the San Francisco of Europe, because of the similarity of the 25 de Abril Bridge with the Golden Gate Bridge and the up and down of the streets of the city, Lisbon is rich in history.

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Let’s start with some suggestions. If you choose to spend three days in Lisbon, (this amount of time can be enough to explore most of the city attractions) I recommend you buy the Lisboan Card. Easily available on the internet, you can pick it up at the airport at the time of arrival. The Lisboan Card, in addition to the guarantee of the full use of all public transportation gives you free access to attractions and many discounts.
You can choose between one, two or three day packages, depending on the length of your stay, but I would highly recommend the three-day package.

lisboa-card

We were very lucky with the accommodations, we stayed at the Restauradores Square, a bit ‘in the heart of the city, with the metro and bus station directly opposite the hotel door. If you plan to travel only on foot to Lisbon, I strongly advise against it for two reasons: 1) the city is more extensive than it may seem and attractions are located far from each other; 2) you need to do a good workout because of the ups and downs of the roads! 😉 Here I am attaching some pictures of places not to be missed; the first, easily accessible along the Rua Augusta, is the Square of the Commerce and the Triumphal Arch. From above you can see a great view of the city at 360°!

Once in the Square of the Commerce, you can’t help but notice on your right, the 25 de Abril Bridge. You can also take a bus or a tram to get closer.

25 de Abril Bridge
On the other side of the bridge you can see a statue that towers above all, which is the famous “Christ Rey” Statue of Lisbon. I recommend taking a bus from Marques de Pombal square, cross the bridge and get off at the first stop to see Lisbon from another perspective.
Cristo Rei
25 de Abril Bridge

For only 4 € you will have the chance to climb to the foot of the statue and enjoy a great view of both the bridge and of Lisbon.

Another area I advise you not to miss, is Belem; the main attraction is definitely the tower, but my suggestion is to start from the Jeronimos monastery.

Monastero de Jeronimos

Walk in the opposite direction from the Monastery, you will find the Monument to the Discoveries; also here you can enjoy the splendid panorama. Then you can go toward the tower and take a few good shots with the Monument to the Discoveries and the 25 de Abril bridge as background.

However, once you get to this point, you will have eyes only for the Tower of Belem, very well preserved and well finished, which is free for owners of the Lisboa Card. I recommend you to avoid to come in here in the middle of the day because it is very crowded; given the narrow dimensions of the tower, there is a limited access for the total number of people that can go at one time to the highest point. Do not despair, the wait is worth it.

Torre de Belem

Another of the attractions that youneed to visit, which is absolutely less publicized, is the Ajuda Palace, which is also free for the owners of the Lisboa Card. A real museum, where you can’t take pictures, but which is very interesting.
From the completely opposite side of the city, compared to Belem, you will find instead the Oceanarium. I recommend you get here by subway, getting off at the Oriente station, so you can see the other famous Lisbon bridge Vasco da Gama. It is to this day, still the longest bridge in Europe. It spans 7,6 miles…
Ponte Vasco de Gama
Oceanario

When you return to the historical center of the city, certainly the main attraction is the Sao Jorge Castle.

Castello de Sao Jorge

Once you have visited the castle, I suggest you catch up with the legendary tram line 28. You have to try the last form of transport in Lisbon that have not taken yet. If you are good at bargaining, for five € they will take you in one of the buildings that I think is one of the most beautiful of the city, the Pantheon.

Tram 28
Phanteon

When you are in Lisbon, you should absolutely reserve a day to go to Sintra. With the Lisboa card, you can take the train at no additional cost. Once there, you can get lost in the beauty between buildings and lovely gardens. Unfortunately, the weather was not so good for us the day when we were in Sintra, but this made the experience special because we were literally in the clouds!

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