Lisbon Portugal, City of 7 hills

By Ali Karim
This post is part of a series called Northern Portugal July 2018
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After Porto and Coimbra, we came back to Lisbon Portugal, and settled into our Airbnb apartment; which was a good sized one bedroom, fully equipped, in an old building, only 3 minutes’ walk from the central Cais do Sodre station, for connection to the trains, buses, trams and the metro. Very convenient indeed.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in Europe, predating Rome, Paris and London. Lisbon (like Rome) is built on 7 hills, and has a population of about 3 million people, and is the Capital of Portugal. Excavations in Lisbon show Phoenician remains from 1200BC; and was inhabited by Celts, and then occupied by Romans, followed by various Barbarians and Visigoths, Moors from Berber North Africa, Crusaders, Spain and France (Bonaparte).

Lisbon suffered multiple major earthquakes over the years, with the last major one being in 1755, after which the city was largely rebuilt as most of it was destroyed by the earthquake and the resulting Tsunami.

We took some time to check out some of Lisbon’s sights, and captured images below. Lisbon has great weather; mid 60’s at night and mid 80’s daytime. Public transportation is excellent and gets you close to almost anywhere in the city. There were a lot of tourists in Lisbon, particularly in Alfama area, which is the oldest part of Lisbon.

Lisbon Portugal: Typical gulleyways between apartment buildings; note the water fountain and the laundry
Typical gulleyways between apartment buildings; note the water fountain and the laundry
Awaiting the tram in Barrio Alto area with friendly locals
Awaiting the tram in Barrio Alto area with friendly locals
Lisbon Portugal: View of the Moors Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) on the hilltop above Lisbon from Martim Moniz barrio
View of the Moors Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) on the hilltop above Lisbon from Martim Moniz barrio

The Ascensor de Bica, one of 3 or 4 working Funiculars in Lisbon, was close to our apartment, and very convenient to get to Barrio Alto, for a Launderette and for Trams into Alfama, without having to walk steep hilly climbs. Included in our Metro pass.

Lisbon Portugal: The Ascensor de Bica funicular, with lively action along its tracks in the evenings
The Ascensor de Bica funicular, with lively action along its tracks in the evenings
Lisbon Portugal: Entertainment at dusk at the Miradouro de Santa Catarina; one of multiple scenic viewpoints on the hills of Lisbon. You can see the Christo Rei statue in the background on the opposite riverbank, lit up for the evening.
Entertainment at dusk at the Miradouro de Santa Catarina; one of multiple scenic viewpoints on the hills of Lisbon. You can see the Christo Rei statue in the background on the opposite riverbank, lit up for the evening.

We spent some time exploring nearby Belem, which is a Bario a few kilometers to the west of Lisbon, on the Tagus river. We took the 15E tram to Belem from the Cais do Sodre (cost included in our 7 day pass), and 15 mins later, were in Belem, close to all the sites we wanted to visit. Belem has long been associated with seafaring and early Portuguese explorers, and there are many historical monuments here; a result of the vast wealth Portugal received from its many colonies, including India (Goa etc) and Brazil

Lisbon Portugal: The Grand Mosterio dos Jeronimos, an inspiringly built Monestary; and the attached Museo National de Arqueologia to the left; in Belem
The Grand Mosterio dos Jeronimos, an inspiringly built Monestary; and the attached Museo National de Arqueologia to the left; in Belem
Lisbon Portugal: The Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument in Belem, which documents & honors the various Portuguese seagoing explorers & their financiers
The Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument in Belem, which documents & honors the various Portuguese seagoing explorers & their financiers
Lisbon Portugal: The Torre de Belem was a fort and early warning network for Portugal. It is inspired by North African designs, and comprises Moorish watchtowers and decorative architecture.
The Torre de Belem was a fort and early warning network for Portugal. It is inspired by North African designs, and comprises Moorish watchtowers and decorative architecture.

No trip to Belem is complete without a visit to the Pastéis de Belem bakery, which is the original place where the recipe for the Pastéis de Nata was first available from the nearby Mosterio dos Jeronimos. This is quite a popular place for tourists and the place is quite large inside, having grown to accommodate the hordes of tourists. The recipe for the Pastéis de Nata is still guarded and only known to 3 people in this restaurant café. Wait was not long for us as an Israeli-Australian couple kindly invited us to share their table with them. We ordered coffee and the Pastéis de Nata, which turned out to be quite nice. We got talking to the Obed & Oma. the Israeli-Australian couple, who were waiting to board a cruise ship to a Mediterranean cruise. An interesting & humerous couple, who then paid for our coffee and pastries; very nice of them.

Lisbon Portugal: Pastéis de Belem bakery for the Pastéis de Nata and coffee
Pastéis de Belem bakery for the Pastéis de Nata and coffee
Lisbon Portugal: With Oded & Oma at Pastéis de Belem bakery
With Oded & Oma at Pastéis de Belem bakery

After saying our goodbyes, we then took Tram 15 back to Cais do Sodre station, and walked across the road to the Mercado da Ribeira, which is an original market for fruits, vegetables, meats and fish. However, due to lack of popularity, about three quarters of the market has been taken over as the Timeout Market, which is basically a high end food court, with multiple kitchens offer various foods, which are reasonably good and decent, and the center of the place is where all the common tables are located to sit and eat. And the Timeout Market does stay very busy with locals and tourists. The original market is reduced in size and was not very busy.

Lisbon Portugal: Mercado da Ribeira
Mercado da Ribeira
Lisbon Portugal: Mercado da Ribeira
Mercado da Ribeira

We left the Mercado and headed towards our apartment, and below are some views along the way

Lisbon Portugal: Street view with overpass
Street view with overpass
Lisbon Portugal: Large square (Praca de Sao Paulo) occupied by artists
Large square (Praca de Sao Paulo) occupied by artists

Below are more views of other areas of Lisbon Portugal

Lisbon Portugal: Interesting mural artwork everywhere in Lisbon
Interesting mural artwork everywhere in Lisbon
Lisbon Portugal: Beautiful view of the Moors Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) and the river Tagus from Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Beautiful view of the Moors Castle (Castelo de São Jorge) and the river Tagus from Miradouro de Santa Luzia
Lisbon Portugal: Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) in Alfama, very ornate &amp beautiful inside
Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa) in Alfama, very ornate & beautiful inside
Lisbon Portugal: Another hilltop viewpoint at the Viewpoint Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen
Another hilltop viewpoint at the Viewpoint Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen
Lisbon Portugal: Street view leading to the water
Street view leading to the water
Lisbon Portugal: Please use me
Please use me
Lisbon Portugal: Narrow ancient cobblestone roads shared by trams, people and cars in Alfama
Narrow ancient cobblestone roads shared by trams, people and cars in Alfama
Lisbon Portugal: Another Miradouro of Lisbon and zig-zag ferries; note the wall mural on the building in foreground
Another Miradouro of Lisbon and zig-zag ferries; note the wall mural on the building in foreground
Lisbon Portugal: Beautiful views of Old Lisbon
Beautiful views of Old Lisbon
Lisbon Portugal: Nice lookout points
Nice lookout points
Lisbon Portugal: Alfama and Tram 28; outside the Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa). Tuk-tuks were also popular with tourists
Alfama and Tram 28; outside the Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa). Tuk-tuks were also popular with tourists
Lisbon Portugal: Arches at the Praça do Comércio, a huge open square at the waterfront
Arches at the Praça do Comércio, a huge open square at the waterfront

It was here in the Praça do Comércio that I dropped my camera while reaching for the metro tickets in my pocket (or maybe I was arguing with Dilshad 🙁 ), and the camera stopped working completely, much to my dismay. Bummer. We took the Tram 15E back to our apartment to decide how to proceed with this issue; I cannot see myself going anywhere on a trip without my camera…

More on my dilema, and more on Lisbon next…..

This entry was posted in ››Northern Portugal July 2018, Europe, Portugal

8 thoughts on “Lisbon Portugal, City of 7 hills

  • NoorJehan Tejani August 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Beautiful Dilshad & Ali.
    Hope to meet you guys in Toronto soon !

    Love, NoorJehan

    • Ali Karim August 23, 2018 at 4:10 pm Reply

      Thanks NoorJehan, look forward to meeting you too

  • Muslim Harji August 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Beautiful memories of Lisbon…Beautiful city , and beautifully photographed…
    Love, Light & Cheers
    Muslim Harji

    • Ali Karim August 23, 2018 at 4:11 pm Reply

      Thanks Muslim, for the nice words

  • Akber Virani August 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Beautiful pictures and blog. We may take a trip there next year.

    • Ali Karim August 23, 2018 at 4:12 pm Reply

      Thanks Akber, you should definitely visit, you will enjoy Lisbon and Portugal.

  • mahamud jinnah August 23, 2018 at 4:08 pm Reply

    Great summary and history lesson as usual.Looks like we were staying close to you. we were also in Bario Alto close to the Parliament buildings. We were close to the furniculars.Of course you got out and saw more than we did.I just saw the park where i played with my grandson.

    Hopefully your camera gets back in action as we need the blog to continue.Those women and their arguments lol.

    • Ali Karim August 23, 2018 at 4:14 pm Reply

      Thanks Mahamud, Camera is recovered and blog continues 🙂
      And remind me not to argue with my wife again….

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