The lilting charm of old Lisbon

Lisbon is the Capital and largest city in Portugal.  It is also one of the world’s oldest cities because of its location as a port on the Atlantic Ocean, and was, apparently, one of Julius Caesar’s favourite places.  One of the most charming parts of Lisbon is the old city, where the streets have many tales to tell.

The historical neighbourhoods of central Lisbon are perfect for visitors to the Portuguese capital to experience for themselves. Their culture, the history, the architecture and the people are fundamental aspects of Lisbon’s identity.

The Bairro Alto is an attractive neighbourhood which just oozes character. The Bairro Alto boasts boutiques and bars and is a place where people meet in an eclectic and multicultural atmosphere. To discover its streets, lanes and alleys, it is essential to explore it. Traditional restaurants nestle alongside cosy bookshops; tea rooms serving signature cakes vie for attention with funky design shops and the boutiques of the most respected Portuguese fashion designers.

A short stroll away is the Chiado, the sophisticated hub for the city’s young people, artists and intellectuals.  Here you can enjoy iconic cafés as you ponder its living history. There is an intrinsic beauty about the Chiado, and the people who live there.

For some of Lisbon’s most fascinating historical sites in the city head to the neighbouring Carmo.  Don’t miss the Museu Arqueológico do Carmo, which houses a collection of artefacts from pre-historic, Roman, Medieval, Manueline, Renaissance and Baroque periods. Largo do Carmo was also the site of important events in the 1974 Revolution.

Carmo is connected to the Baixa by the Elevador de Santa Justa, another of Lisbon’s icons. The Elevador is a quaint public lift that is 45 metres in height and built in neogothic style.  It is open to the public and boasts impressive views over the Baixa Pombalina and the rest of Lisbon.

The Baixa is the city’s traditional shopping district where visitors can stroll around the streets and find dozens of shops offering a wide range of temptations.

Avenida da Liberdade used to be the favourite promenade for the Lisbon élite. Today, the Avenida is home to exclusive international boutiques which are there to tempt and inspire your wallet to empty itself.

Lisbon boasts a thousand years of history, and is peppered with monuments of great importance, reflecting the key moments in the country’s history. The peak of Lisbon’s wealth was during the Age of Discovery a time which has left a heritage of rare beauty.

Close to the castle, in Graça, is the church and monastery of São Vicente de Fora, one of the most imposing and notable religious monuments in the city. It was built immediately after the city was recaptured from the Moors in 1143.

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, don’t miss one of the most popular and busy markets in the city, the Feira da Ladra, or flea market, just a short stroll from the imposing church. Every imaginable object and curio – as well as genuine antiques – are on sale, and a visit to the flea market is a real walk through Lisbon culture.

The city’s legendary seven hills will also seduce you into admiring characteristic mosaic pavements and dazzling tiled façades, and will reward you with many great views of the city.

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