Lisbon’s classic attractions are well-known and well-loved, from the iconic yellow trams, World Heritage-listed buildings, and magnificent Ponte 25 de Abril bridge to the delicious pasteis de nata (egg custard tarts). But this vibrant destination also offers similar experiences that are less familiar but equally captivating for visitors looking for something different.
In this guide to Lisbon we look at some of the best alternative options for travellers for when they next visit:
The Ponte 25 de Abril bridge across the Tagus Estuary is one of Lisbon’s most recognisable landmarks. At 2,300 m long, it is the longest road/rail bridge in Europe and dominates the skyline. But Lisbon boasts another equally impressive bridge across the Tagus; the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
Connecting Parque das Nações with Alcochete and Montijo on the south side of the river, at 17 km long, this architectural marvel is the longest bridge in western Europe.
With its year-round warm climate and biodiversity, Lisbon produces a unique range of wines with some of the oldest and most famous vineyards found in Arrábida, Colares and Bucelas. From award-winning reds and whites to the sweet Muscatel of Setúbal, they make the perfect accompaniment to the local cuisine.
Less well-known is Lisbon’s craft beer industry, which has been on the rise in recent years and now offers a wide choice to those who enjoy an artisan ale on a hot day. Whilst most of the breweries were originally in the Marvila district; there is now no shortage of places to enjoy craft beer across the city.
No visit to Lisbon is complete without making it to one of the city’s many viewpoints. Some of the most popular options include Miradouro da Graça in Alfama and Miradouro de Santa Luzia, both known for their beautiful outlooks.
However, for lesser-known options, these should be added to the itinerary: Miradouro de Penha de França, overlooking the Marvila neighbourhood; Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, which is one of the most peaceful in the city; and Miradouro do Torel, boasting panoramic views of Avenida da Liberdade and São Roque hill.
Fado is the traditional sound of Lisbon, its haunting and mournful sound is an integral part of the city’s soundtrack. Yet Lisbon’s music scene has a much more diverse range of options for visitors, whatever their taste. With an array of local bars, clubs and specialist music venues, visitors can enjoy genres from rock, house and techno to jazz, pop and hip-hop.
The Cais do Sodré, Bairro Alto and Alcântara neighbourhoods are not-to-be-missed for the sounds of both local and international artists, while classical music lovers should head to Coliseu dos Recreios (Lisbon Coliseum) or the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, home to the Gulbenkian Orchestra.
Bag a bargain
While elegant Baixa Pompalina, chic Chiado and cool Príncipe Real are shopping areas par excellence, visitors seeking a bargain should head to the local markets and fairs. The best known is the Feira da Ladra flea market, held twice weekly in Alfama and a treasure trove of everything from art and antiques to handmade jewellery and vintage clothing.
Antique lovers can also head to the Belém Antiques and Crafts Market, which takes place every Sunday in the gardens of the iconic Jerónimos Monastery or the Avenida Da Liberdade Antique Market, where they will find many of Lisbon’s most-respected antiques sellers. For a quirky and hip alternative, the LX Market at the renovated factory building is a hotbed of creativity and unique, handmade and vintage items.
The Portuguese are known for their sweet tooth, and it’s no surprise that Lisbon’s most famous snack is the delicious pastel de nata. But with “pastelerias” across the city, these egg custard tarts are only one option for visitors to enjoy. Other popular options include the travesseiro of Sintra, puff pastries with a filling of almond cream (travesseiro means pillow in Portuguese) and queijadas.
Perfect for cheese-lovers, they are made with queijo (cheese), sugar, milk, and eggs and have flavour variations, including queijadas de laranja (orange) and queijadas de coco (coconut).
For more information, ideas and inspiration on visiting Lisbon, please go to www.visitlisboa.com.
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