Lisbon is situated between 7 hills on the north bank of the river Tagus and has strong historical links which only add to it’s charm. Along it’s coastline it sings of it past with impressive palaces, churches and castles. It’s eclectic mix of neighborhoods, culture and architecture make the city enchanting and vastly different from any other capital cities in Europe.
The best way to explore Lisbon is to get lost in its narrow cobbled streets and discover the thousands of different stories for yourself. The most popular areas to visit are the Baixa, Alfama and Belem districts.
Exhibition & Business District
Furthest from Villa Sao Paulo is Lisbon’s exhibition & business district, however, do not be perturbed by the name. Although a fully functioning business district, the area also has many attractions such as Ocernario de Lisboa a large aquarium with a vast array of exotic fish and the cable cars which run along the coast and let you take in the view of Lisbon in all its glory.
28.4 km - 30mins
The Centre of Lisbon has a huge selection of good restaurants and bars, with long streets full of boutiques shops, a choice of theaters, and places of cultural interest. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian houses many historic artifacts and through the tranquil wooded grounds you will also find the Museum of Modern art exhibiting two floors of current artists.
Belem is an area which is hugely cultural and historic. Along the front you will notice a statuesque monument called Monument Padrao Dos Descobrimentos, which is a memorial to all the sailors that have died at sea. If you are brave and not afraid of heights you can venture to the top of the tower, which gives views of lisbon to one side and the estuary and sea on the other. It is also fascinating to visit Belem Tower built in1515 as a fort to guard the entrance to Lisbon's harbor. Seeping with history the tall tower protrudes into the river in order to give the soldiers the best look out post possible. The architecture is very typical of the period and very intricate in design.
Opposite to the tower stand Jerónimos Monastery and The Fundacao de arte moderna e contemporanea. The monastery is UNESCO world heritage site as it is one of most important monuments of Manueline-style architecture. Next to the monastery stands the Fundacao de arte moderna e contemporanea it is a large contemporary designed building with 3 floors of interesting art exhibitions.
If you would like to see fantastic portuguese building design visit the Champalimund Centre which is on the way out of Belem back to S. Joao. You cannot go inside the building as it is a world class genetics institute but you can walk around and marvel at its beauty. It is possible to walk to the left of the building to view some truly spectacular views. To right of Champlimund Centre is a restaurant called Darwins Cafe, although expensive if you would like tasty food, a fantastic view and to experience modern portuguese design then it is a lovely place to spend the afternoon.