The tour starts in downtown area where you can admire the buildings of the 18th century such as the cage constructions, the first anti-seismic system and the first method of large-scale prefabricated construction in the world.
Then, we go through the Cathedral of Lisbon, whose construction began in the second half of the 12th century, after the city was taken to the Moors by the King Afonso Henriques. Nowadays, Lisbon is a mixture of architectural styles.
The Castle of St. Jorge is placed in one of the hills of the city and it is a must see. Going down through the little stairs and steep streets of Alfama, the oldest and one of the most typical places of Lisbon, you will find the mirador of Portas do Sol (Sun doors) where the view of the Tagus estuary and the city of Lisbon will take your breath away.
Still in Alfama, we find the Monastery of St. Vicente de Fora (st vicent outside the walls), built at the end of the 16th century, in the place where the King Afonso Henriques had built a primitive temple under the invocation of St. Vincent. St. Vicent was proclaimed patron of Lisbon in 1173. Next to it, we find the National Pantheon, installed in the Church of Santa Engrácia and considered the first Baroque style monument in the country.
The José Saramago Foundation (Literature Nobel Prize in 1998) is based in Casa dos Bicos (built in 1523) whose main originality consists of the façade facing the Tagus river, carved in a diamond tip or in beaks. Here, the Italian influences are combine to elements characteristic of the Manueline style.
One of the greatest squares of Europe, the Commerce Square or Terreiro do Paço was the location of the King’s Palace for about two centuries. From there, in Cais das Colunas, it looks like Portugal is welcoming the rest of the world when we see the greatness of tagus river at the end of the square.
Bairro Alto is an old and picturesque neighborhood of the early 16th century. It is placed in one of Lisbon’s hills, with narrow, cobbled streets, secular houses, small traditional shops, alternative shops, restaurants and nightlife places. Since the 80’s it is the best known area of Lisbon nightlife, with countless bars and restaurants, along with fado houses.
Largo do Carmo was the scene of one of the events of Portugal’s recent history: the Estado Novo surrender to the MFA military on April 25, 1974. There, we will find Carmo Convent, former convent of the Order of the Carmelites of the Ancient Observance that was left in ruins due to the earthquake of 1755. It is in one of the main witnesses of the catastrophe still visible in the city. Carmo Archaeological Museum was placed in those ruins.
In the dawn of August 25, 1988, Chiado was destroyed by a fire and its reconstruction took the whole decade of 1990. The design was in charge of the architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Today it has once again become an important trading center in Lisbon, being one of the most cosmopolitan and bustling areas. From here we go to St Peter of Alcântara Mirador and once again we see the river. Going down, we reach São Bento Palace where the Assembly of the Republic meets daily. It is a neoclassical style palace that was built at the end of the 16th century as a Benedictine monastery. It had major renovations in the 19th and 20th centuries. At the top of Calçada da Estrela (star sidewalk) we find the imposing Basílica da Estrela (Star Basilica) built in the second half of the 18th century, featuring characteristics of the late Baroque and neoclassical style.
Pastéis de Belém (portuguese custard tarts) await us for a memorable snack next to Jerónimos Monastery or Monastery of Santa Maria de Belém, classified by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. The highest point of the Manueline architecture (16th century) is the most remarkable Portuguese monastic complex of its time, closely linked to the Portuguese Royal House and to the Portuguese Epic Discoveries. Inside, we can visit the tombs of Luís de Camões and Vasco da Gama.
The Belém Cultural Center emerged from the need to have an architectural equipment that could host the Portuguese presidency of the European Union in 1992. Nowadays, Belém cultural Center is a dynamic center for cultural and leisure activities.
The Monument of the Discoveries or Monument to the Navigators is also in the Square of the Empire. This Monument was erected in 1940 along with the Exhibition of the Portuguese World to pay tribute to the historical figures involved in the Portuguese Discoveries. Belém Tower is the highest exponent of the Portuguese Epic Discoveries. Classified as a World Heritage by UNESCO, it reflects Islamic and Oriental influences, which characterize the Manueline style.
On the way to the Parque das Nações (Nations Park) you will pass under the Aqueduto das Águas Livres (Free Waters Aqueduct) which was an important construction of the 18th Century, allowing water supply to the Portuguese capital.
Then you will see the bullring of Campo Pequeno, built in 1892, which is an arena for bullfighting, Musical concerts and other events. It has a capacity of about 10,000 people.
Parque das Nações is located in the eastern part of the city, where the Expo 98 (World Exposition of 1998) took place. Still in that area, we find the Gare do Oriente (by Santiago Calatrava, imposing his architectural line); the Portuguese Pavilion (by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira); the Pavilion of Knowledge which is a modern science and technology museum with several interactive exhibits; the Atlantic Pavilion (now known as Altice Arena); the Lisbon Oceanarium, one of the largest aquariums in the world and, finally, the Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes Church, completed in March 2014.
From the Vasco da Gama Tower (the tallest building in the country) there is a panoramic view of the Vasco da Gama Bridge over the “Palha” sea.
After returning to Rossio, it is time to drink a Ginjinha, the typical drink of the capital. You can drink it with or without the cherry.