With a population of three million, Lisbon is not only the capital but also Portugal's largest city. Moreover, the city is built on seven hills and divided into several districts, all with their own attractions, character and appeal. It is probably obvious that Lisbon is too big to discover in four days. During this first introduction to Lisbon, you will discover the main districts in the city centre, taste Portuguese cuisine and feel the hospitality of the Portuguese. And most of all, it's going to make you want to come back again.
Day 1: Baixa and Rossio
After a short flight of about 3 hours, you'll arrive in Lisbon. Stay at one of our Caractère hotels in the city centre. You start in the heart of Lisbon, in the districts of Baixa and Rossio. These two neighbourhoods are also called the lower town, as they are directly on the Tagus River. This part of the city is characterised by its wide streets, spacious squares and numerous historical buildings. Most of Lisbon's attractions are relatively new since most of the city was destroyed in the great earthquake of 1755. Make sure to visit the famous iron lift Elevador de Santa Justa, take a ride on the cable car or tram 28 and visit Paraca do Comercio square with its inviting terraces and grand city gates. The lower town also has plenty of small restaurants where you can dine in the evening.
Day 2: Alfama
Today, the oldest and also most beautiful neighbourhood is on your programme, Alfama. Alfama is Lisbon's old fishing district and survived the earthquake fairly well. Here you can stroll for hours through the small, narrow streets connected by stairs. Get ready as there are quite a few changes in height today. At the very top of the hill is the Castelo de Sao Jorge, a beautifully renovated castle from which you have a great view over the city. Also visit the impressive Sé cathedral, the panteao Nacional and the mosteiro de Sao Vincente de Fora. Enjoy stunning views from Miradouro Portas do Sol. In the evening, the neighbourhood's fado houses open and you can listen to fado music while eating, blissful.
Day 3: Belém
Lisbon's suburb of Belém is on the programme today. Tram 15 will get you there in no time. Portuguese ships used to sail the world's seas from Belém. Now Belém is mainly known for its 16th-century Jeronimos Monastery. This former monastery was built with the proceeds of spices brought back from India by the explorer Vasco da Gama. Other must-sees include the defence tower Torre de Belém, the monument of discoveries often used as an icon for Lisbon, the Belém Palace and the Santa Maria Church where Vasco da Gama's sarcophagus is kept. Meanwhile, if you haven't yet tasted Pasteis de Belém, make sure to do so here. The cream pastry is made according to a secret recipe known only to a few people, including the pastry shop Antiga Confeiteria de Belém. This is the only place you can taste the real Pasteis de Belém. The queue for the bakery is certainly worth it.
Day 4: Bairro Alto
Before flying back home, visit the Bairro Alto district. What used to be a working-class district with a working-class character is now a colourful mix of hip bars and small restaurants. The district is located on one of the seven hills, but the elevador de gloria gets you there in a few minutes. From the miradoura de Sao Pedro you will already enjoy great views over the neighbourhoods below. Visit the Igreja de Sao Roque church, which is very sober on the outside but will blow you away with its impressive interior. Have lunch one last time at Praca de Luis de Camoes and start planning your next trip to Lisbon.
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