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The 10 places not to be missed in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital

The Tower of Belem

The Torre de Belém is probably Lisbon’s most iconic attraction. Standing at the entrance to the port, this richly decorated tower rises to four floors and is 35 meters high. Now on the banks of the Tagus, it was originally, in the 16th century, built in the middle, then decentered by a diversion of water following the earthquake of 1755. Successively fortress, prison then lighthouse, it is today classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Le Jeronimos Monastery in Lisbon

The Jeronimos Monastery, or Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, is one of Lisbon’s most visited attractions. In the heart of the capital, this incredible building in the Manueline style displays all the attributes of the constructions launched during the reign of Manuel 1er. Built between 1495 and 1524, it was largely financed by the influx of wealth due to the beginnings of the great voyages to India. It is located near the Belém Tower, and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Alfama district in Lisbon

IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES Lisbon: our ten essential visits

Lurking on the sides of the hill of the same name, the Alfama district is the historic heart of the city. No visit to Lisbon can do without a stroll through its narrow streets, maze of passages, squares and patios. The most typical district of the capital offers a concentrate of Portuguese culture, punctuated by old-style taverns and flower-decked balconies.

Here you can savor grilled fish to the tune of fado, before finishing the ascent with a visit to the Sao Jorge castle crowning the hill.

The Castelo Sao Jorge in Lisbon

To know what to visit in Lisbon, it is sometimes enough to look up. Standing at the top of the hill hosting the popular Alfama district, the Saint-Georges castle, or castelo Sao Jorge, was built in 138 BC. AD Successively occupied by the Phoenicians, the Romans, the Sueves, the Visigoths or the Moors, it became a royal palace in 1255… then an episcopal palace, military barracks, prison or reception centre. Classified as a historical monument, it also offers an incredible panoramic view of the city.

The Tile Museum

The most famous Portuguese craftsmanship is also a must-see attraction in Lisbon: the National Tile Museum is unique in the world, and one of the most renowned in the country. With a rich collection of more than 7,000 azulejos, these hand-painted earthenware and ceramic tiles, it offers an overview of an art dating back to the 16th century. There are also ceramics from all over the world, and a 23-meter-long panel made up of 1,300 contemporary tiles or azulejos.

Le Ponte April 25

What to see in Lisbon? The famous April 25 bridge, crossing the Tagus over 3.2 kilometers and reaching 70 meters in height! Built between 1962 and 1966 by an American company, it is largely inspired by the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, and was originally named Salazar Bridge. It was renamed at the end of the dictatorship, on the day of the Carnation Revolution, April 25, 1974. Although dethroned from the front runners, it is still one of the longest suspension bridges in the world, and offers an unforgettable view of the Tagus.

The Lisbon Oceanorium

New to Lisbon’s attractions is the Oceanorium, or Oceanorio in Portuguese. Created for the 1998 Universal Exhibition, this impressive glass structure is placed on a pool of water overlooking the Tagus. Both Lisbon and tourists admire the largest Oceanorium in Europe and the third largest in the world, illustrating the different ecosystems of the planet. Two sea otters are the mascots, attracting a million visitors each year.

Le Convent-Museum of Carmo

A visit to Lisbon necessarily passes through the Convento-museu do Carmo church, one of the largest in the city. Partly destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, what was the main Gothic church of the Portuguese capital today retains majestic ruins, including an open-air nave. Witness to the destruction suffered by Lisbon, it also houses an archaeological museum exhibiting a small collection of Paleolithic and Neolithic pieces, or Gothic sarcophagi.

The mercados of Lisbon

It’s impossible to conclude a visit to Lisbon without getting lost in one of its bustling markets. There are several in the capital, each with its own atmosphere, characteristics and schedules. We hunt there, we do our shopping, or we eat between two alleys depending on the market, in a typical atmosphere, as rich in Lisbon residents as in tourists. The recently renovated mercado de Ribeira is a real tourist attraction, as is the mercado de Campo de Ourique!

La Praça do Comércio

The capital’s unmissable Commerce Square is also one of Lisbon’s must-see attractions. Concentrating today the main ministries of the country, the Praça do Comércio is considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Entirely pedestrianized, it is surrounded by tall golden yellow buildings on arcaded galleries. A triumphal arch opens onto the Baixa district, while a pontoon used at the time of spice imports plunges into the Tagus.

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