By Emer Mc Hugh
The architecture and layout of Lisbon have been shaped by an earthquake which happened in 1755, which destroyed most of the city. While in Lisbon we did a walking tour, a food tour, a tour of the cruise terminal and our own guided tour so we saw lots of interesting buildings and monuments. Want to know which ones are the most Instrammable? Read on.
Here are my favourite 10 Instagrammable places in Lisbon
1. Praça de Comércio
On our walking tour, we visited some famous buildings and monuments of Lisbon such as Lisbon’s iconic yellow square which is officially known as Praça de Comércio.
The large square faces the river Tagus and is surrounded on three sides by vibrant yellow buildings. The square was built directly after the earthquake and in 1910 in the wake of the revolution, it was painted pink, but some years later was changed back to yellow, its original colour. The buildings were used as government offices.
The square also contains a statue of King Jose І on his horse. The base of the statue is surrounded by snakes. It is said that it was built to honour the King’s response to the disastrous earthquake which happened in 1755.
2. Rua Augusta Arch
In the square is the Rua Augusta Arch which was built to commemorate the city’s recovery from the earthquake. It is a magnificent white stone arch.
3. Lisbon’s Oldest Cathedral – Sé de Lisboa
We also visited the oldest cathedral in the city which is one of the few buildings in the city to have survived the earthquake. It was originally built in 1147, by the country’s first King, Dom Afonso Henriques, after he had conquered the Moors. It has been renovated and rebuilt several times since then.
4. Pink Street Lisbon
We went to Pink Street which was originally the red-light district of Lisbon. It was a meeting point for sailors, criminals and prostitutes and the buildings were originally used as brothels, gambling dens and seedy bars. The city was an important port so most of the buildings were named after ports in the city.
They started painting the street pink in 2011 in an effort to improve its reputation and make the neighbourhood a better place. Their efforts worked and the gambling dens and brothels closed down. The buildings were renovated into some cool bars and nightclubs.
5. Pensão Amor
We visited Pensão Amor one night, it is a nightclub which was originally a brothel but has been converted into a trendy bar with a dance floor, seating area and smoking area. The rooms are filled with bright décor, cushy seating and unique art. The street is overlooked by a bridge under which you can find the city’s hottest nightclub ‘Music box’ on one side and a wine bar ‘Pink Wine Point’ on the other.
The architecture of the city gave it its character and vibrancy. I felt that all the little, less obvious aspects of the city really tied it all together. I loved the terraced houses as they were very quaint and painted in bright colours. I thought the cathedrals and churches all around the city were very pretty and really helped us explore the history of the city.
6. Time Out Market
The city is steeped in history and its cobbled streets are world-famous. The original market hall of Lisbon has since been converted into ‘Time Out Market Lisboa’, this is the world’s first food and cultural market.
It is home to 32 restaurants and 5 bars and offers cuisine from all over the world. It is a great way to preserve and celebrate an important building.
7. Belem Tower
There were so many places in Lisbon we didn’t get to visit because we ran out of time. However, based on my research before the trip and the recommendations of guides and locals,
I think the best pieces of architecture in the city are the tower of Belem which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Lisbon’s most striking monuments. The tower is one of the seven wonders of Portugal.
8. Pena Palace Sintra
There are also the many palaces located in Lisbon such as those found in Sintra. They are said to be magnificent and definitely worth a visit. Pena Palace in Sintra is definitely the most famous and was built in 1847 by King Fernando II after he fell in love with the Sintra region.
It was supposed to serve as a summer residence for the royal family.
9. Sant Justa Lift
The city is also home to the Santa Justa Lift which is an elevator that connects the lower streets of the Baixa area with Carmo Square. It is said that it was designed by the apprentice of Gustave Eiffel who built the Eiffel Tower, although there are no actual written records of this.
10. Monument to the Discoveries
Another striking monument in Lisbon is the Monument to the Discoveries, which commemorates the talented Portuguese navigators and shipbuilders. It is very impressive and you can go to the top and enjoy amazing views.
On our trip, we visited and took advantage of lots of different modes of transport. The transport systems of Lisbon are a credit to its more modern architecture. We visited the cruise terminal and were given a tour by the manager. The cruise terminal facilitates large cruise ships to dock and allows passengers to spend the day enjoying everything Lisbon has to offer.
Lisbon has one airport which is called Lisbon Portela Airport, although its official name is Aeroporto Humberto Delgado. It has two main runways and welcomes guests from all over the world. There are also the various metro stops which are built into the underground of the city. The metro provides quick, cheap transport all over the city. These buildings are vital to Lisbon and they provide essential services to the city and its people. The buildings are practical and need consistent maintenance.
Overall, I think the architecture of Lisbon was perfect. The colours and designs of the buildings were very impressive and had been maintained to perfection. The history of the city was evident through the architecture and I really enjoyed learning about the city in such authentic surroundings. I think the local people have done a brilliant job in preserving the buildings. Lisbon is a brilliant tourist destination and I would highly recommend a visit.
This article is one of a series about Lisbon. To discover more and get excellent information about this city, head over to the Lisbon Portugal Travel Guide.
As the topic of sustainability is so important, you may be interested to learn more about Why Lisbon Is A Top Sustainable Destination by Eduardo Lera Latorre
If you are considering relocating or retiring to Portugal, you may find this article about relocation and retirement to Portugal of interest. It is written by a relocation expert. Doctor Valentino Coletto.
Other articles featured in this Lisbon series are:
- Lisbon ceramics – how azulejos are a huge feature in the city
- Lisbon as a romantic destination
- Lisbon sports destination
- Lisbon solo travel
- Lisbon with children
- Instagrammable Lisbon
- Sustainable Lisbon
- Lisbon for Millennials
- Lisbon Girlies Weekend
- Lisbon Local Dishes & Top Places To Eat
- Fado in Lisbon (typical Portuguese music)
- Lisbon Architecture
- Lisbon After The Earthquake
- Heading 150 km north of Lisbon – be sure to check out the article on the Silver Coast Portugal – written by my Portuguese partner!!