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Lisbon is THE destination in Portugal when it comes to a city break. And with good reason, because the metropolis has everything a perfect cultural vacation destination needs: historic buildings, viewing platforms and architectural attractions. And so that you know which places deserve a place on your wish list, we will show you an overview of our absolute hotspots in Lisbon.
1. Mosteiro dos Jeronimos
The Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, as the locals call the famous Hieronymites Monastery in Lisbon, is part of any cultural journey through Portugal. Because the artistically designed monastery in the Belém district is considered the most important surviving Manueline-style building.
In concrete terms, this means that tourists can expect many ornaments, aesthetic facades, ceilings and columns, as well as a large internal courtyard with gardens and fountains. There are also some sarcophagi and tombs of famous Portuguese in the church that belongs to the monastery. The monastery is accessible for free from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00.
2. Belém Tower
Originally built to accommodate incoming ships, the Torre de Belém is now one of the most important sights in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon. And with good reason: in 1521, Portugal was considered one of the world’s leading maritime powers. Meanwhile the tower was also used as a prison and customs station.
Today, vacationers often go wild at the UNESCO World Heritage Site right on the water to explore the historic 35-meter-high tower. Among other things, the southern facade of the tower, decorated with royal symbols and ornaments from the 16th century, is particularly noteworthy.
3. Santa Justa lift
The historic lift Elevador de Santa Justa, in the historic center of Lisbon, has been connecting the inhabitants of the Portuguese metropolis with each other for over 100 years. The 45 meter high tower was originally intended to connect the two districts of Baixa and Chiado, allowing you to drive from the bottom (Baixa) to the top (Chiado).
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In the meantime, however, the tower has become a popular viewing and viewing platform. In high season, numerous travelers flock to the nostalgic tower in the bustling city center to be able to see the city from above.
Those who have finished the journey in the cabins can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower, where even a small café offers some delicacies. The lift is open from 8:00 to 20:00, a climb and a descent cost just over 5 euros per person.
4. Lisbon Cathedral
For architecture buffs, the Lisbon Cathedral is definitely on the bucket list for a city trip. This is mainly due to its particular architectural style, which is an artistic blend of Baroque, Romanesque and Gothic. Known locally as the Cathedral of Sé de Lisboa, the oldest place of worship in the city is now also considered the main church in Lisbon.
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The history of the cathedral dates back to antiquity, some parts of the building are even still in their original condition. However, after the great earthquake of 300 years ago, the church was largely destroyed, which is why it was restored in the 20th century. Those interested can visit the cathedral for free during the day, as long as there is no mass there.
5. National Pantheon of Lisbon
The National Pantheon was originally built as a Baroque church in the 17th century, but was never used as such. Rather, the imposing building is now a well-known Lisbon landmark, which significantly shapes the urban landscape. Among other things, tourists can admire the many arches and aesthetic decorations inside the building or climb the steps leading to the dome.
Once at the top, vacationers can enjoy the beautiful view of the city with a delicious coffee or snack. But even from afar, the Pantheon attracts attention: it clearly dominates the surrounding houses and gives the neighborhood a special touch. A visit is possible from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00 for less than 5 euros.
6. São Jorge Castle
São Jorge Castle is one of the oldest buildings and one of the most famous places in Lisbon. The magnificent castle complex is located in a small green park and offers a journey into the royal past of the Portuguese capital. From the castle tower there is also a good view of the entire city center.
Inside the castle, vacationers can expect numerous souvenirs from bygone times as well as a restaurant and café. The castle can be visited every day from 9:00 to 18:00. A tour of the castle rooms costs 24.50 euros per person.
7. Cristo Rei
Facing the lively center of Lisbon, in the small village of Almada and on a 75 meter high base, tourists will find the Cristo Rei statue. Modeled after Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the statue is the seventh largest of its kind in the world and a popular hiking destination for both tourists and locals alike.
The best way to get to the statue from Lisbon is by ferry or bus. Once there, tourists can take a lift to the highest point and enjoy the unique view. Incidentally, the 25 de Abril bridge, also very popular, is particularly visible, connecting Lisbon with the neighboring city.
8. Pena National Palace in Sintra
A magnificent castle in the middle of the Portuguese forest: the Palácio Nacional da Pena, or the national palace of Pena, invites travelers interested in history in royal Portugal. About 25 kilometers from Lisbon, in the mountains of the Serra de Sintra, is the special 19th century castle on a peak.
Even from a distance, the view of the building in the middle of the mountain forest leaves an indelible impression. And the castle isn’t the only palace in the Portuguese municipality of Sintra. This is known for the many palaces, castles and parks.