Things to see in Lisbon

Tourist information

Associação de Turismo de Lisboa
Lisboa Welcome Centre, Rua do Arsenal 15, Praça do Comércio (Terreiro do Paço)
Tel: (021) 031 2700.
www.visitlisboa.com
Opening hours: Daily 0900-2000.

The main tourist office gives out information, sells souvenirs and supplies self-guided audio tour kits. Other offices are located at Praça dos Restauradores, Mercado da Ribeira, Rua Augusta, Belém, Santa Apolónia station and the airport.

Passes

The Lisboa Card (www.golisbon.com) offers unlimited travel and free or discounted entry to more than 50 museums and attractions, plus a Lisbon guide. Passes are available for 24, 48 or 72 hours and can be bought from all tourist offices. Cards which give discounts on restaurants and shopping can also be purchased.

Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of St George)

Perched on the highest of Lisbon's seven hills, above the old Moorish quarter, the Castle of St George was the royal residence until the late 15th century. Originally built by the Visigoths and later named after King Joao I, the castle, along with much of Lisbon, was severely damaged by a devastating earthquake in 1755. The castle was declared a National Monument in 1910, with rebuilding work starting in 1940 restoring the site to its former state of luxury.

During summer, there are frequent festivals in the castle grounds. There is also a small restaurant and cafe. Perhaps the greatest attraction is the panoramic view from the well-preserved ramparts, as well as beautiful gardens. There is also a giant periscope in the Torre de Ulisses (Tower of Ulysses-Camera Obscura), from where visitors can see spectacular, live images of Lisbon below, reflected onto a large screen.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-2100 (Mar-Oct); daily 0900-1800 (Nov-Feb).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Largo do Chäo da Feira, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 800 0620.
Rua Augusta Arch

Lisbon's newest attraction is the Rua Augusta Arch, which opened to the public for the first time in August 2013. Accessible by a lift, visitors can now soar to the top of the monument for breathtaking views of the city encompassing Terreiro do Paço public square, the Baixa district, Sé Cathedral, São Jorge Castle and the River Tagus. Learn about the history of the city's triumphal arch, from the start of its construction after the earthquake of 1755 until its completion in 1875, through an exhibition in the "Sala do Relogio". The arch was originally built to celebrate the city’s reconstruction after the earthquake of 1755, which ended the Portuguese capital’s golden age. Adorned with statues of famous figures, including that of explorer Vasco da Gama, the arch marks the start of one of the key pedestrianised thoroughfares in the city’s central Baixa area, bustling with shops, cafés, market stalls and buskers.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1900.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Rua Augusta, Lisbon, Portugal
Torre de Belém (Belém Tower)

Completed in 1515, the Tower of Belém is one of Lisbon's most famous sights. Built under the instruction of the architect Francisco de Arruda, who was greatly influenced by the style of fortifications in Morocco, the tower was intended to provide strategic defence to the River Tagus during Portugal's naval ascendancy in the 16th century. Symbolically, it was also the last sight seen by seafarers leaving the city.

The tower has a famous 18th-century statue of Virgin and Child, Our Lady of Safe Homecoming, built into the terrace of the bastion, as well as sentry posts on each corner.

Access to a very average museum  inside is over a gangway; there is also a drawbridge and bulwark, as well as a terrace that offers superb views across the river and of the western part of Lisbon.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1700 (Oct-Apr); Tues-Sun 1000-1830 (May-Sep).
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Avenida de Brasília, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 362 0034.
Miradouros (viewing points)

With its seven hills, Lisbon has a number of places not only to see but also to see from. The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, Rua São Pedro de Alcântara, at the top of the Elevador de Glória funicular, offers views over the Baixa and across to the Castelo de São Jorge. Sightseers are urged to hop off tram 28 to see the view over the Alfama and the River Tagus from the Miradouro Santa Luzia, Largo Santa Luzia, and Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Largo Portas do Sol. Further along tram 28's route, up the hill, is the Miradouro da Graça, Largo Graça, which overlooks the Mouraria and the Castelo. All are free and open 24 hours.The Elevador de Santa Justa is another great vantage point, located at the end of Rua Santa Justa.

Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Hieronimite Monastery)

This 16th-century monastery is one of the few surviving examples of medieval Manueline architecture (named after Manuel I, characterised by maritime motifs) and is listed, along with the Torre de Belém, as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is a spectacular building with high arches, impressive columns and ornate spires. It is also the resting place of Vasco da Gama who set sail from Bélem in 1497 to discover India, and of Luís de Camões, Portugal's most famous poet who wrote Os Lusiadas (the Lusiads).

Other places of interest are the chapels, which house the tombs of royal descendants of Manuel I, and the cloister, which has many impressive galleries.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1730 (Oct-May); Tues-Sun 1000-1830 (May-Sep).
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: Yes
Address: Praça do Império, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (21) 362 0034.
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (Calouste Gulbenkian Museum)

This treasure house of art, covering almost every significant epoch, benefited greatly from a major revamp at the start of the new millennium. Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Islamic and Oriental art comprise half the exhibition rooms and the remainder is devoted to European art from medieval times to the early 20th century. The sequence continues with the foundation's Centro de Arte Moderna, which is part of the same complex.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1745.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Avenida de Berna 45, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 782 3000.
Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum)

Located in the Convent of Madre de Deus, which was built in 1509, this museum catalogues the history of the decoration that makes Lisbon so unique, with examples of azulejos (glazed tiles) from the 15th century to the present.

Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Rua de Madre de Deus 4, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 810 0340.
Parque das Nações (Nations Park)

The former Expo 98 site has been converted into a leisure oasis, with a shopping centre, a string of attractions, concert halls, bars, restaurants and a walkway along the River Tagus. In summer, especially at weekends, the park can be uncomfortably busy. A three-day cartão do parque (park card) entitles visitors to discounted admission to many of the park's attractions, as well as discounts in shops, restaurants and car parks.

The Torre Vasco da Gama (the site's landmark tower and Lisbon's tallest building) situated inside the park has an observation platform and restaurant, two-thirds of the way up.

Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Parque das Nações, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 891 9333.
Tram 28

Tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself. Vintage trams still ply the well-worn route from the city centre on sea level, right up through the jumble of streets towards the heights of the Castle of St George. On the way, the tram slices open the city, providing insights into the Lisbon way of life, as well as offering sweeping views back towards the city and out over the River Tagus. One word of warning - in recent years pickpockets have targeted the route.

Opening Times: Daily 0600-0100.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Campo Ourique-Martim Moniz, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 361 3069.
Aqueduto Das Águas Livres (Águas Livres Aqueduct)

The impressive 18-km (11-mile) Aqueduto das Águas Livres is a national monument with startling baroque stone arches, erected by architects Manuel da Maia and Custodio José Vieira in 1748. Thanks to these, the aqueduct survived the 1755 earthquake, which laid waste to most of the city.

Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Largo do Rato, Lisbon, Portugal
Centro Cultural de Belém (Belém Cultural Centre)

This modern complex houses temporary exhibitions and is also home to various performance and exhibition spaces. The courtyards and rooftop gardens make a great place to relax in-between sightseeing. The Berardo Collection is a welcome addition to the city's already buoyant cultural life. The man (and the money) behind the collection is Madeiran Joe Berardo, whose taste for 20th-century art and penchant for acquiring it are impressively on show in a collection that is almost 1,000 works strong.

Opening Times: Daily 0800-2130.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Praça do Império, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 612 878.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art)

Essentially Portugal's national gallery, this museum's collections of painting and sculpture date from the 12th century and include a wide range of works by Portuguese and international artists.

Opening Times: Tues 1400-1800, Wed-Sun 1000-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Address: Rua das Janelas Verdes 9, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 391 2800.
Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Pavilion of Knowledge)

The Pavilhão do Conhecimento (Pavilion of Knowledge) features science and technology exhibits, many of which are hands-on, aimed at children. The waterside cable car, connecting the tower and oceanarium, situated between Torre Vasco da Gama and the Marina locks, offers excellent views over the site.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 1000-1800, Sat-Sun 1100-1900.
Admission Fees: Yes
Disabled Access: No
Unesco: No
Telephone: (021) 891 7100.
Oceanário

The Oceanário (one of Europe's largest aquariums) has huge pools that are home to manta rays, penguins and sharks, as well as adorable otters floating around on their backs. There are great activities for children too, such as the chance to spend a night sleeping next to the sharks' tank.

Opening Times: Daily 1000-2000 (summer); 1000-1900 (winter).
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Esplanada D Carlos I-Doca dos Olivais, Lisbon, Portugal
Telephone: (021) 891 7002.
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