LISBON FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TAGUS
Lisbon, like Rome, was built on seven hills. That means that the city offers us a large number of places where we can appreciate it from above.
Some of these places are very well known, such as São Pedro de Alcántara viewpoint in Bairro Alto or St. George’s Castle, in the highest part of the city.
However, we are going to suggest a more special aerial view, rather unknown to most tourists, who do not usually notice this viewpoint, even though it is absolutely striking.
We mean the viewpoint of the National Sanctuary of Cristo Rei, next to April 25 Bridge. This sanctuary is located at 113 meters above the Tagus River’s level and has two parts: the 82-meter high pedestal with a 75-meter interior portico and the 28-meter-high statue of Cristo Rei (Christ the King).
The origin of this sanctuary is due to a visit of the Cardinal of Lisbon, Dom Manuel Gonçalves, to Rio de Janeiro in 1934. There he observed the Christ of Corcovado and wanted to build a similar sanctuary for the Portuguese capital.
Due to World War II, the construction of this monument had to be postponed until 1949 and lasted approximately 10 years. It was inaugurated on 17th May 1959.
This viewpoint is tricky, as it is not located in Lisbon, but in the neighbouring town of Almada. Still, getting there from the city of Lisbon is very easy. We just have to cross the Tagus over the most famous bridge in the city (April 25 bridge), which algo offers us another fantastic panoramic view of the city as we cross it.
Once we arrive at the Cristo Rei, an elevator will take us to the highest part of the monument, from where we will enjoy wonderful views of Lisbon over the imposing Tagus River.
63 Avenida do Cristo Rei, Almada.
How to get there:
Bus 753 from Praça Marques de Pombal. It will take approximately 30 minutes.
A LIQUOR THAT TASTES LIKE HISTORY
If people from Lisbon and Portugal can be proud of something, it is undoubtedly their country´s rich and varied gastronomy. We could highlight the famous "Pastel de Belem" (an egg custard tard), the "bolinhos de bacalhao" (codfish croquettes), some of their fantastic rice dishes or the famous cherry liqueur called "ginginha", but that would be too easy.
Here we are going to propose another local liquor. It is as traditional as the "ginginha" itself, perhaps less known to tourists but even more valued by locals: "Amarguinha". This liquor, which is produced mainly in central and southern Portugal, comes from the distillation of bitter almonds and contains 20% alcohol.
The Portuguese have been using almonds for centuries to make different gastronomic products, such as sauces, sweets or liqueurs.There is a beautiful legend that explains the arrival of the almond tree in Portugal. It tells us about the Moorish king Ibn-Almundim and his wife Gilda.
Ibn-Almundim ruled the centre and south of Portugal before the Portuguese Reconquest. One day, after a battle, the king saw among the prisoners a European woman with blue eyes and blond hair. Her name was Gilda. He instantly fell in love with Gilda and, after her release, Ibn-Almundim gradually gained Gilda´s trust until they finally married.
However, on their wedding day, the king felt Gilda was very sad; she missed the snowy fields of her homeland. Then the king had an idea! He ordered hundreds of almond trees to be planted throughout his territories. When February came, the almond trees blossomed and the king took Gilda to the highest tower of the castle so that she could see the fields. The white flowers made it seem that the fields were covered with a blanket of snow.
Thanks to this Gilda was cured of her sadness. The kings lived happily together for the rest of their days waiting every year for the arrival of spring.Thanks to Ibn-Almundim, even today we still enjoy the fields of almonds and their derived products, such as amarguinha.
Nowadays, amarguinha is usually consumed as an aperitif or as a digestive, before or after meals. Nevertheless, lately it has become very fashionable to make modern cocktails with this very traditional Portuguese liquor. We encourage you to try it on any of its possibilities. You will find it in every single bar and restaurant in Lisbon.
SHOPPING THAT WILL MAKE YOU TRAVEL TO THE PAST
Being a great European capital, Lisbon has many places for shopping, from large and modern shopping centres to countless small shops where you can find classic Portuguese souvenirs.
However, we shall suggest that you buy a book as a souvenir for family and friends; but careful, not just anywhere.
The Bertrand Bookstore has been recognized by the UNESCO as the oldest bookstore in the world, founded as early as in 1732.Although it has been renovated, this ancient bookstore maintains its charm thanks to the smell of old books and coffee that invades our senses since we set foot inside. It is the perfect place to find a volume of the most famous Portuguese writers such as Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago or Luis de Camões. This bookstore couldn´t be in a more ideal location: the Chiado.
This area has always boasted a unique bohemian atmosphere. A neighbourhood of artists and writers, dotted with countless bookshops, antique shops and home to most of the newspapers since the XIX century.Here we will also find one of the most emblematic cafes in Lisbon, “A Brasileira” (very close to Bertrand Bookstore).
This centenary cafe is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic in Portugal. Its Art Deco will take us back to the 1920s, when this place was one of the main meeting points for Portuguese artists and writers. Among them, we must highlight the great Fernando Pessoa, who spent here long hours immersed in his literary works.Nowadays, at the terrace of the café stands a life-size bronze statue of the Portuguese author.
What better plan than to buy a book at the Bertrand bookstore and flick through its pages over a cup of coffee at one of the tables of Café A Brasileira?
73 Rua Garret, Lisbon.
How to get there:
From Praça Dom Pedro IV (Praça do Rossío), just walk up Rua do Carmo to Rua Garret. It will take 5 minutes.
ALENTEJO IN THE HEART OF LISBON
Thanks to the city tour, together with our guides from Europamundo, we will return to our homes with the memory of our cameras and cell phones full of photos of the most iconic and best-known monuments of the Portuguese capital.
But this time we suggest you photograph one of the most beautiful and hidden places in the city of Lisbon: Casa do Alentejo. Located on a street parallel to the famous Praça dos Restauradores (Restauradores Square), this hidden gem pays tribute to the Alentejo region, its culture and its people.
Located in the south-central part of the country, it is the largest region in Portugal which is mainly dedicated to agriculture and livestock.Located in what was formerly the Viscounts of Alverca Palace, (built at the end of the XVIII century), this wonder will surprise you as soon as you get in. Take a detailed look at the courtyard and its Arabic-style columns, the rich tile decoration, the fantastic stained-glass windows and the wood and leather furniture. At the end of the patio we will see a huge lavishly decorated staircase, which will take us to the second floor. There, we will find two huge rooms that stand out for their high ceilings, large windows and extremely ornate decoration, characteristic of the Rococo style. Perhaps the most striking thing is the impressive ceiling fresco, painted by Benvindo Ceia, as well as the extraordinary glass lamps. It is also worth highlighting the rooms used as dining reading room, both decorated with typical Portuguese tiles representing countryside scenes such as hunting and bullfighting. In the dining room, which includes a pleasant interior terrace, we can also enjoy the rich Alentejo’s gastronomy while recovering energy to continue exploring the city.
Any photograph you take in this inspiring palace will not leave anyone indifferent.
58 Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, Lisbon.
How to get there:
From Praça dos Restauradores we just have to walk along Rua do Jardim do Regedor. It will take us 2 minutes.
A LEGEND MADE STONE
Lisbon is a city full of statues and monuments in amazing squares, most of which are part of the most popular tourist routes.
In this case, Europamundo invites you to discover a lesser-known monument that will undoubtedly surprise your family and friends as soon as you upload your photos to your social networks.
The monument that we propose is none other than the statue of Adamastor, in the Santa Catarina viewpoint (Miradouro deSanta Catarina, RuaSanta Catarina, 1200). This huge sculpture by Julio Vaz Júnior represents a mythological character created by the Portuguese author Luis de Camões. In the work of the famous XVI century Portuguese writer, Adamastor is described as a symbol of the forces of nature that intrepid Portuguese sailors faced during the Age of Discovery.
Besides taking a picture next to this imposing statue, we will enjoy the wonderful views of the Tagus River from the Santa Catarina viewpoint.
It is also worth noting that, next to the statue, we will find a pleasant terrace where we can enjoy our favourite drink surrounded by a pleasant youthful atmosphere, since this viewpoint is a regular meeting place for Lisbon university students.
The Santa Catarina’s viewpoint, framed within the bohemian Bairro Alto, is surrounded by countless and picturesque bars and restaurants where you can taste Portuguese gastronomy or simply have a snack to recharge your batteries and continue visiting the city.
Address: Miradouro deSanta Catarina, 401 Rua deSanta Catarina.
How to get there:
We have to take the Blue Metro line from Rossio to Baixa-Chiado. There, a short walk along Rua Horta Secawill take us to RuaSanta Catarina.
It will take 15 minutes.
A LOOK AT LISBON NOT SUITABLE FOR COWARDS
To conclude your visit to Lisbon, Europamundo proposes a challenge.
The 25 de Abril Bridge is one of the great symbols of the city, it crosses the estuary of the River Tagus for 2 km, connecting the city of Lisbon with the neighbouring town of Almada at a height of 70 meters above the water. The bridge has two different levels, each one dedicated to a type of transport, the upper one for motor vehicles and the lower one for trains.
It was built between 1962 and 1966 by the American company United Steel International (the same one that built the famous Golden Gate in San Francisco). Originally it was inaugurated as Oliveira Salazar’s Bridge, paying homage to the Portuguese dictator. After the fall of the dictatorship with the Carnation Revolution, the bridge would change its name to the current one.
In the highest part of the so-called “Pilar 7”, on the Lisbon side, (Av. Da India) there is one of the most modern viewpoints in the city. In this Pilar 7, we find, in addition to an access to the viewpoint, a small museum that is worth visiting. Through models and audiovisual devices, it will tell us a lot of details and curiosities about the construction of the bridge.
Thanks to a panoramic elevator we will be able to reach the top, 80 meters above the river level. There, a cube-shaped glass lookout awaits us suspended in the air. From there we will enjoy fantastic views of both the city and the Tagus River and its mouth.
It is so high that monuments such as the Belém Tower or the Jerónimos Monastery can be admired in all their splendour. Not at all suitable for people afraid of the heights!Do you dare to climb up to the top?
54Avenida da India.
How to get there:
We can take the 15E light train from Praça Figueiras(parallel to PraçaDom PedroIV) to Santo Amaro Station.
It will take us 30 minutes to get there.
THE PARK THAT SHAKES ENGLAND´S HAND
Lisbon is a city full of parks and gardens that act as lungs for the city at the same time that they allow us to enjoy nature without having to leave the Portuguese capital.
If there is a park that stands out from all of them, that is undoubtedly the Eduardo VII Park. Inaugurated as a continuation of the famous Avenida Liberdade, it is made up of 25 hectares of gardens that connect the Estufa FríaPark (Winter garden) with PraçaMarqués de Pombal.
What many people do not know is that Eduardo or Edward VII is not a Portuguese king but an English one. The fact that there is a park named after an English king in Lisbon is due to the visit that this monarch made to the city at the beginning of the XX century (1902) and that served to reaffirm the longest alliance between two countries ever. This alliance began in the XIV century with the Anglo-Portuguese treaty and continues to this day.
The alliance began on June 16, 1373 with this aforementioned Anglo-Portuguese treaty, which established that both countries should provide military aid in the event of war. In 1385 the Portuguese victory over the Castilians took place at the Battle of Aljubarrota. This victory would not only curb John of Castile´s aspirations for the Portuguese crown, but would also place the dynasty on the throne, starting with John I of Portugal.
One year after this battle (May 9, 1386) the Treaty of Windsor was signed. It ratified and expanded the previous pact between the English and the Portuguese. This new pact not only obliged the signatories to help each other in the event of war, but also established the free movement of people and goods between the two countries.
This treaty was sealed with the marriage of John I of Portugal with Philippa of Lancaster in 1387, beginning an alliance that has not been dissolved until today, the two countries are members of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) nowadays.
Over the centuries, both countries have known how to exploit this link to protect their national and colonial interests.
It is important to note that this alliance would define Portugal’s performance during the two world wars. In World War I, Portugal was forced to participate actively by sending thousands of young Portuguese to fight in the front. During World War II, despite remaining neutral, Portugal ceded land to the British in the Azores archipelago for them to establish a military base that would facilitate the Allied dominance over the Atlantic.
In the same way, this alliance has allowed fruitful commercial alliances to develop between the two countries. Perhaps the best example is the Methuen Treaty, also known as the Cloth and Wine Treaty. signed in 1703. According to this agreement, the Portuguese would buy English wool and, in return, the Portuguese would have economic and customs benefits when placing their wines on the English market.
Address: PraçaMarqués de Pombal.
How to get there:
From PraçaDom Pedro IV (Praça do Rossío) we take the blue metro line to PraçaMarqués de Pombal.
It will take us 10 minutes
A WALK THROUGH THE CARNATION REVOLUTION
If there is a date that defines the history of the Portuguese, that is April 25, 1974, in other words, the Carnation Revolution.
In this simple walking tour we will take you through the most significant places that marked that important day in the life of all Lisbon´s inhabitants.
Our walk starts from the Tagus River’s bank, in Praça do Comércio which, for years, was a symbol of Portuguese power. On April 25, 1974, the soldiers left from this place on their way to the Carmo Barracks with the intention of arresting the former president of Portugal, Marcelo Caetano.
From this square we will go to another of the great squares in this city, Praça do Rossio (King Pedro IV Square), where the famous scene of the people handing out carnations to the soldiers took place. This gesture did not meant but the unanimous popular support for the coup against the dictatorship.
To get from one square to another we will follow Rua Augusta, which witnessed the impressive parade of armoured cars that alerted the population about what was happening on the day of the revolution.
From Rossio or Dom Pedro IV Square, we will head down Largo do Carmo. To do this, we will first takeRua do Carmoand then Calçada do Sacramento, which leads directly to our next stop. Here, in the Largo do Carmo barracks, Marcelo Caetano lived his last hours as Portuguese president before being forced to resign in front of General Spínola and later going into exile.
Nowadays you can still see some bullet holes left by the Portuguese soldiers in the building, due to Caetano´s refusal to surrender.
We will continue our walk, leaving Largo do Carmoalong Rua Trinidadeto Rua Nova Trindade, which a few meters later becomes RuaAntonio María Cardoso. There, we will find our next stop, the old headquarters of the PIDE (International and State Defence Police), where the saddest event of the entire revolution took place. When some members of the regime´s police were cornered, they opened fire on the unarmed population at the gates of the barracks. This event left the only 4 dead of the entire revolution.
To get rid of that bad taste that this last stop may have left us, we will go along RuaVitor Cordon (perpendicular to RuaAntonio María Cardoso) to Rua Ivens, so we can finish our walking tour. At number 14 we will find the old headquarters of the Portuguese National Radio. This was one of the first spots that were taken by the rebels and the place from which the starting gun was fired for the Revolution.
At 0:00 on April 25, a song that was banned for years by the dictatorial regime was sounded as a signal to the rest of the military rebels: “Grândola, Vila Morena” by José Alfonso.
We recommend to start from Praça do Comércio.
How to get there:
Walking from PraçaDom Pedro IV (Praça do Rossío) we take Rua Aureauntil we reach Praça do Comércio.
It will take 5 minutes.
A CORNER TO REST IN THE HEIGHTS
What if in the middle of our walk we take a break ... in the heights?
If you feel like it, Europamundo suggests that you climb to the rooftop of the Hotel Mundial in Martim Moniz square, in the heart of Baixaneighbourhood.
Taking advantage of its privileged location, right in the centre of Lisbon, this rooftop bar is famous for its impressive views over the heart of the city. This panorama is the perfect invitation to a relaxing moment after our exhaustive visit to Lisbon. Considered an essential attraction, this terrace is, undoubtedly, one of the best in Lisbon. It offers unforgettable experiences, including an amazing sunset for all those who wish to see the sun go down over the Portuguese capital.
In addition to the extraordinary panoramic view, the rooftop of the Hotel Mundial offers a complete menu of cocktails, gins or champagnes, making this place one of the most inviting in the city.
However, we also recommend the occasion to have a delicious tea (or chá, as it is called in Portuguese). The reason is that the Portuguese sailors, after their arrival in Japan in 1531, were the first to bring this drink, so widespread nowadays, to the west. Tea quickly became popular especially among the upper classes of France and the Netherlands. Later, it was brought into England when Catherine of Braganza (wife of King Charles II of England) introduced it to the English royal court through the famous Tea Parties.
Little by little, tea became more and more common among the English population, although it was not until the XIX century that the Duchess of Bedford established the custom of having tea at five o´clock in the afternoon.
2, Praça deMartím Moniz.
How to get there: From PraçaDom Pedro IV (Praça do Rossío) we simply walk along Largo de Santo Domingo and Rua Barros Queirós until we reach Praça Martim Moniz.
It will take us 5 minutes.
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