Celluloid Diaries: My Top 10 Favorite Moments in Lisbon

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Top 10 Favorite Moments in Lisbon

favorite moments in lisbon

So, I just figured I could use a blog once in a while to post pictures and reviews of my trips, visits to film festivals, etc. I just came back from a trip to Lisbon, so this week is a good one to start posting.

My top 10 favorite moments in Lisbon...

Strolling through the Alfama

One of the particularities about the Alfama is the smell of grilled sardines wafting its way through the meandering streets. I loved strolling through those local, charming roads and discovering places such as the Casa dos Bicos, the Miradouro de Santa Luzia and the castle of São Jorge.

alfama lisbon

I could oversee the Alfama and the Tagus from the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, located near the access road up to the Castelo de São Jorge.

miradouro de santa luzia lisbon

The beautiful Castelo de São Jorge was built around the 10th century by the Moors as a means of defense and is now one of the best viewing points in Lisbon.

castelo de são jorge lisbon

Dining in Mouraria

I stayed in an apartment in Mouraria, a picturesque and multi-racial part of Lisbon just outside of the Alfama district. The view from my kitchen was amazing as it overlooked the entire city.


In front of my apartment was the restaurant São Cristó Vão, a favorite place among locals where you can choose between Portuguese and African food. The restaurant was tiny and simple and the atmosphere addictively local. It was also very cheap: no more than 7 euros for a main dish and only 1 euro for a pint of beer. São Cristovão, Rua de São Cristovão 28-30, Mouraria, Lisbon.

Shopping in the Baixa

The Praça da Figueira was only a few minutes away from the apartment. The square led to the bustling Rua Augusta where street sellers touted souvenirs, drinks, and snacks.

praça da figueira

At the end of the Rua Augusta, I drifted through the Arco Triunfal archway into the airy, neo-classical Praça de Comércio, a large square on the bank of the Tagus (Tejo) featuring the statue of king Dom José I.

arco triunfal lisbon

Discovering Belém

I took the bus 714 at the Praça da Figueira to go to Belém. During the ride of half an hour along the Tagus, the only attraction was the Ponte de 25 de Abril, a huge bridge which name refers to the day the revolution broke out in Portugal.

The Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries) of Belém was first erected in 1940 for display during the Portuguese World Exhibition. Its final version was completed in 1960 for the celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. An elevator took me to the top of the monument where I could oversee Belém, the Cristo Rei statue, and the tiling in front of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos depicting Portugal's Golden Age of Discovery.

monument to the discoveries

The Torre de Belém appeared small from a distance but seemed huge once I had to climb all the watchtowers, battlements and arrow slits. It was originally built on a small islet in the middle of the Tagus, but the earthquake and flood of 1755 made it shift so it is now on the bank.

torre de belem lisbon

Taking the funicular in the Bairro Alto

Because Lisbon is built on seven hills, there are several funiculars that take you to the top or the bottom of those hills. The yellow funicular Elevador da Bica was certainly the most charming one.

funicular bairro alto lisbon

Admiring the Elevador de Santa Justa

I'll probably never tire of the Elevador de Santa Justa, so I was lucky that my apartment was close to this cast iron elevator (I could even see it from the balcony in my kitchen). It bridges the differences in height between the Baixa district and the Bairro Alto. The Convento do Carmo, next to the upper exit of the Elevador de Santa Justa, was also worth visiting.

elevador de santa justa lisbon

Exploring the Jardim Zoológico (Lisbon Zoo)

No city trip could ever be complete without a visit to the local zoo. The decorations of the Jardim Zoológico reminded me a lot of those from the Barcelona Zoo. Apparently, there's a funicular that takes you round the zoo and keeps you hanging just above the lions. Unfortunately, the funicular was closed when I visited the Jardim Zoológico.

jardim zoológico lisbon

Sipping Ginjinha in the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão

I loved sitting beside the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão in the thin spring sunshine and sipping Ginjinha as an apéritif. For those of you who wouldn't know, Ginjinha is the famous Portuguese cherry liquor. The Rossio district is well-known for its tiny bars that specialize in this delicious drink.

rua das portas de santo antao lisbon
rua das portas de santo antao

Sunbathing in Cascais

Cascais sells itself on its image of yachts swaying gently in the harbor, champagne on the terraces, and sports cars speeding across the coastal road.

I was shown the best places in Cascais: the Praia do Guincho beach, the Museu Conde de Castro Guimarães, the Farol de Santa Maria, the Casa da Guia (a complex on the beach with bars and restaurants) and the restaurant A Carvoaria, known for Portugal's juiciest steaks (if you want to know what the spiciest sauce ever tastes like, try the Devil Hot Ostrich at your own risk).



  1. Cool blog and Cool pictures !
    Makes me want to go back there.


  2. Sofia Moreira Baptista BaertApril 25, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    Merci d'être venue au Portugal. Gros Bisous.

  3. Lisboa is definitely a city worth visiting.Thanks for reminding me the nice places I went to while in Portugal.

    One of the great things as well in Portugal is their coffee!!! After a nice night out in Lisbon, it's nice to sit at the terrace of Café Nicola at the Praça da Figueira.

    Cascais is really nice and if you get a chance, try to take one day to visit Sintra in the same area.

  4. http://twitter.com/fernandohuJune 29, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    Thanks speaking and showing some photos from Portugal!

    Try to take a few days to visit the Porto city and the Wine Producing Region of Upper Douro! (Alto Douro Vinhateiro-World Heritage), where is produced the Port Wine!

  5. What a great virtual trip. Thank you for sharing it.

    Thank you for stopping by Daily Organized Chaos and leaving a comment.

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  7. Wow~ it looks like it was an amazing trip!! Hi~ I am your newest follower from the blog hop & would love it if you stopped by and returned the love :)


  8. This was really interesting to read. Such a magnificent work. The design of that building is unique and cool.

  9. Lisbon is a captivating blend of old-world charm and vibrant modernity. Its sun-kissed streets echo with the rhythm of Fado music, welcoming you to explore historic neighborhoods like Alfama and immerse yourself in the warmth of its friendly locals. The city's stunning vistas, from São Jorge Castle to the Tagus River, provide a picturesque backdrop to its lively atmosphere. Lisbon's delectable cuisine, from pastéis de nata to fresh seafood, tantalizes the taste buds. With its rich cultural tapestry, breathtaking architecture, and a spirit that resonates with authenticity, Lisbon truly enchants visitors, leaving an indelible mark on the heart.

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