Two years ago I wrote some posts about different cities in Portugal. I went there for the first time about 7 years ago with my mother and her parents. Five years passed and I decided to share with you a bit of this beautiful country, but I’ve never finished writing my posts from that trip. At the end of 10 days we visited:
Porto, Lisboa, Braga, Guimarães, Óbidos, Cascais, Estoril, Sintra, Fátima, Cabo da Roca, Nazaré, and Batalha.
I only wrote posts about these cities in pink, but I still haven’t given up on writing about the rest of them.
Long story short, in February of this year I went back to Portugal during a stop-over and my boyfriend and I visited Lisbon, Cascais, and Estoril (again). It was nice because the other time I went to those cities was autumn and now it was winter (but not a very cold winter, it was like 16oC) and I had the opportunity to visit some attractions I hadn’t the other time.
The first day we started walking from Avenida da Liberdade – the main Avenue of Lisbon and over 1km long – towards Praça do Comércio because we knew that we would see many things on our way. We passed my Monumento dos Restauradores, a 30 meters high obelisc that celebrates the liberation of the country from Spain.
Then, we went to Rua Augusta, a street full of stores and restaurants. There, in the house #106, you’ll find the most famous Pastel de Bacalhau, called Casa Portuguesa do Pastel de Bacalhau. There’s also another store of them in the city of Porto. The codfish cake was delicious, indeed, and you had the option to eat it while drinking wine, which we didn’t as it was still morning. The pastel is a bit expensive – 3,50 euros – but worthy.
About 300 meters ahead is located the Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square). It’s now one of the biggest squares in Europe and it was once the residence of king D. Manuel I, near Tejo River. Unfortunately, the Real Palace and its big library were destroyed during the huge earthquake in 1755. We went to the bank of the river and enjoyed the sun together with many other tourists and locals.
We went back to Rua Augusta to have a quick lunch (very tasty, btw! Sadly, I don’t recall the name of the restaurant) and went right after, by tube, to Padrão Dos Descobrimentos, in the neighborhood of Belém. It is a monument to Infante Dom Henrique and all the Portuguese discoveries. On the ground, there’s a big wind rose with all of the countries that were once, Portuguese colonies.
Era o porto mais seguro e mais procurado quer pelos navios que entravam no Tejo, quer pelos que se preparavam para abandonar Lisboa. Foi daqui que partiu a armada de Vasco da Gama em direcção à Índia, em 1497 e a de Pedro Álvares Cabral que aportou no Brasil, em 1500. Source
“It was the safest and most wanted port for ships entering the Tagus, and for those preparing to leave Lisbon. It was from here that Vasco da Gama’s navy left for India in 1497 and that of Pedro Álvares Cabral, who arrived in Brazil in 1500.“
Nearby (1 km away) is the Torre de Belém (Belém Tower). Our plan was to visit it after Padrão dos Descobrimentos, but it was almost closing, so we decided to go back there the next day. In front of Padrão dos Descobrimentos is the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), built in the XVI century and was classified by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, just as Tower of Belém. You can visit the monastery from October to April (10h – 17:30min) and from May to September (10h – 18:30min). There are some different options/prices of tickets that you can check here. In its church, you’ll find some important tombs, such as Vasco da Gama’s and Luis de Camões’s.
You can find more info about all of these monuments here.
On our way to the bus stop, we found ourselves in front of Única Fábrica de Pasteis de Belém, the store/restaurant the invented the famous Pastel de Belem. We bought 3 or 4 boxes of these cakes so we could eat them at the hotel. It was already night and we decided to visit a big friend of mine who is now living in Lisbon and then we went back to the hotel.
The next day began early. Our first stop was Convento do Carmo, Carmo Convent, which was once a medieval Roman Catholic convent located in the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior (it was founded in 1389!!). It was also destroyed in 1755 due to the earthquake, along with Gothic Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. You can visit it for 4euros (adults) and 3 euros (students) and you also have the option of having a guided tour. More info about prices and tickets here. After that, we walked towards A Brasileira, a beloved restaurant of Fernando Pessoa, one of the most important Portuguese writers – there’s even a statue of him in front of the restaurant. There, we had a drink and ate some more codfish cake, of course. Then, we went to the most expected (at least for me) part of our visit to Lisbon: the São Jorge Castle. I was very excited about going there because I couldn’t do it the other time and the day was beautiful and the view from there is amazing! We stayed there for a while just enjoying the view of the Tejo River and even had an ice cream. There’s no need to buy the tickets in advance, you can buy it in the box office for 5 euros (under 25 years old) and 8,5 euros (others). More info about prices and opening hour here. The way to the castle is a little bit tiring because it’s in the top of a hill, but it’s worth it if you have some time to spend there.
After that, we finally went to Torre de Belem and I could visit it at that time. The entrance costs 6 euros and the visit takes about 30 minutes. There’s something that very few people know, but in the second floor, if you stand in one corner, looking to the wall, and someone else stands in the opposite corner doing the same thing, you two can communicate without anyone else hearing! It seems like the walls are talking to you, is SO COOL.
Then, we went to Mercado da Ribeira to have lunch there. It is a big and traditional market full of different restaurants and many many collective tables in the centre. I ate a codfish, again, that was delicious! The market is not so cheap, but it’s nice because there are many options of typical Portuguese food. We then headed to Miradouro de Santa Catarina to watch the sunset while drinking a beer and listening to some street singers. It was a very nice program to do because there were almost no tourists there.
The next morning we decided to visit Cascais. It’s a city near Lisbon and you can go there by train – it only takes half an hour. I’ll write about it in another post (someday)!