• Alfama


Lisbon, Portugal's capital, is a ramshackle but charming mix of now and then. Vintage trolleys shiver up and down its hills, bird-stained statues mark grand squares, taxis rattle and screech through cobbled lanes, and well-worn people sip coffee in Art Nouveau cafés. It's a city of faded ironwork balconies, multicolored tiles, and mosaic sidewalks, of bougainvillea and red-tiled roofs with antique TV antennas. With its elegant outdoor cafés, exciting art, stunning vistas, entertaining museums, a salty sailors' quarter, and a hill-capping castle, Lisbon is a world-class city.

At a Glance

In Lisbon

▲▲▲ Bairro Alto and Chiado Stroll The high town's views, churches, and Chiado fashion district.

▲▲▲ Alfama Stroll Tangled medieval streets topped by São Jorge Castle.

▲▲▲ Baixa Stroll: Lisbon's Historic Downtown The lower town, gridded with streets and dotted with major squares.

▲▲▲ Gulbenkian Museum Lisbon's best museum, featuring an art collection spanning 2,000 years, from ancient Egyptian to Impressionist to Art Nouveau.

▲▲ Museum of Ancient Art Portuguese paintings from the 15th- and 16th-century glory days.

▲▲ Parque das Nações Inviting waterfront park with a long promenade (and rental bikes), a modern mall, the Expo '98 fairgrounds, and an aquarium.

Fado Museum The story of Portuguese folk music.

National Tile Museum Tons of artistic tiles, including a panorama of pre-earthquake Lisbon.

Port Wine Institute Plush place selling tastes of the world's greatest selection of ports.

São Roque Church Fine 16th-century Jesuit church with false dome ceiling, chapel made of precious stones, and a less interesting museum.

São Jorge Castle Eighth-century bastion, first built by the Moors, with kingly views at the highest point in town.

Museum and School of Portuguese Decorative Arts A stroll through aristocratic households richly decorated in 16th- to 19th-century styles.

Elevador de Santa Justa A 150-foot-tall iron elevator offering a glittering city vista.

Cathedral (Sé) From the outside, an impressive Romanesque fortress of God; inside, not much.

In Belém

▲▲▲ Monastery of Jerónimos King Manuel's giant 16th-century, white limestone church and monastery, with remarkable cloisters and the explorer Vasco da Gama's tomb.

▲▲ National Coach Museum Dozens of carriages, from simple to opulent, displaying the evolution of coaches from 1600 on.

Maritime Museum A salty selection of exhibits on the ships and navigational tools of the Age of Discovery.

Monument to the Discoveries Giant riverside monument honoring the explorers who brought Portugal great power and riches centuries ago.

Belém Tower Consummate Manueline building with a worthwhile view up 120 steps.



  • Fado Singer, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Alfama Roofs, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Streetcars, Lisbon, Portugal