13 Feb

One of the things I love about Lisbon is that all year round there is beautiful sunlight. Less than 600mm of rain and at least 2800 hours of sunshine per year. I love Lisbon with a blue sky, but trust me that even its rare dramatic grey vaulted ceiling suits it perfectly too, as it somehow matches our sometimes fatalistic souls. Many of us here are driven by Fado, a melody engraved deep in our hearts like a living poem.

The Portuguese capital has many different neighbourhoods: each with its unique ambience and history. There are some that cannot be missed as you’ll be amazed with the amount of things you can learn from experiencing them. Being a hilly city, Lisbon allows you to contemplate dreamy panoramas from different viewpoints, some still unbelievably quiet and inspiring. Whether you choose to go uphill, downhill, stay in the flat area or mix it up, Lisbon keeps offering you a bit of everything, from ancient to modern times.


1. Start by getting to know the heart of Lisbon, that might probably be the area around where you’re staying: the Downtown (Baixa), with its extremely spacious and well organised urban planning and architecture, result of the rebuilding works after the 1755 earthquake and much influenced by the Age of Enlightenment.

2. Then take a gentle walk along the Tagus River.

3. ...or simply sit by the water and admire the triumphal arch in Commerce Square.

4. Another top place is undoubtedly the lovely Carmo Square with its jacaranda trees that bloom purple in May and June. Originally from South America, these trees arrived in Lisbon in the mid 17th-century and are a colourful sight in the spring.

5. While at the square, don’t miss visiting the partially-ruined 14th century Carmelite Convent, a former religious building which presently houses an Archeological Museum. Enter and delight your eyes with the old stones framing Lisbon’s blue sky.

6. Then it’s time to discover what’s underneath your feet in Príncipe Real garden, but only after you take a deep breath and immerse your spirit in the outstanding tropical flora it contains.

7. The tunnels and galleries of the Water Museum (Reservatório da Patriarcal) are part of a unique experience through which you can discover the historical, technological and scientific heritage of the role played by water in the city, strictly related to the 18th century aqueduct.

8. Definitely make sure you enter São Jorge’s Castle, up the highest hill of Lisbon, an area where the remains that have been found date as far back as the 6th century BC. The castle itself was founded in the 10th and 11th centuries and besides being one of the over 200 existing castles in Portugal, is a place where you can learn about the impressive Middle Ages period, the fortress’ specific functions and the main events that took place there.

9. The neighbourhood of Graça is by far my top choice for 2021, and beyond! Located up a hill about a 20 minute walk from Baixa or a ride on tram #28, it arose around a 13th century Convent and kept a kind of rural appearance until the 19th century when there was a sudden arrival of a vast migration of people from the countryside to the city. That’s when the spectacular “Villas” were born. In their genesis, areas of popular and working-class housing and although their use might now be different, the local charm remains untouched from the days of yore. And the views here…? Breathtaking!

10. Finish the day with a live fado experience. I’ll be happy to recommend to you some of the best places to listen to this melancholy, expressive music.

I hope you’re ripe for the experience: most likely Lisbon will capture your heart and there won’t be a one time only, as you’ll get hooked by its vibe! I love leading walking tours and I definitely think they’re one of the best ways to get into Lisbon’s spirit: walk, walk and walk a bit more. Itineraries can be built from scratch, depending on your interest, mobility and how long you want the tour to last. Everything is possible and doable and we can make it work and explore the city together as a team.


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