From the very first evening wandering the streets of old Alfama, I knew that I was going to fall hard for Lisbon. This city has everything I love about Europe. Narrow winding streets. Grand Squares. Beautiful vistas. Awe-inspiring monuments. I had high expectations for my inaugural trip to Portugal and it did not disappoint. Lisbon is quintessential Europe and a city that deserves a spot on every traveller’s bucket list.
We jam-packed so much activity into two days that it’s hard to choose just one highlight… so here are a couple of my favourite spots in the city.
Praca do Comercio
One thing that Europe does better than anywhere else is expansive plazas. In Lisbon, the Praça do Comércio is not only surrounded by gorgeous and brightly coloured buildings but it’s also situated on the Tagus River. A square that is also a waterfront? Yes please.
This region of the city is home to not one, not two, but three UNESCO World Heritage sites. So obviously it was a must see.
(1) The Tower of Belém
(2) Jerónimos Monastery
(3) Monument to the Discoveries
Jardim Botânico da Ajuda
Every once in a while you stumble across a place that isn’t on any must-see tourist list and then ends up being one of your favourite spots. That’s what happened to my park loving travel buddy Megan and I when we stumbled across this completely empty garden with beautiful river vistas. It looked like it fell straight out of a Jane Austen novel and was such a lovely reprieve from the crowded tourist sights. We may or may not have staged an hour long photo shoot…
Castelo de São Jorge
What would a trip to a European capital be without a hilltop castle visit? The Castle of St George is an 11th century, Moorish castle & royal residence strategically positioned high on a hill with stunning city views. Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in during our visit which inhibited the view but definitely added a level of mystery quite fitting to playing in such a fortress.
I could have spent weeks exploring this city that clearly has so much more to offer than the conventional sites, but I know that a return trip to Portugal is in my future. This trip was just a teaser for what’s to come.