We’ve talked a bit about Lisbon on the podcast in recent months. It’s name is even the brutal subject of a dumb joke of ours (we keep calling it Libson because I said it wrong once.). In our chats we’ve talked about it’s great food, nightlife and sights. Here, guest Nathan Parks tells us about a few of his must-see spots. –Jake
Even if you are not planning on a trip to Lisbon, a discount airfare from Madrid or Paris may catch your attention.You could get there and back for less than *$100, and you could see a new city and a new country.
Lisbon lies about 200 miles south of Oporto, and regular train departures connect the two cities. If you buy a train ticket five days in advance there is a deep discount.
You can take the subway (Red and Green Lines) from Lisbon Portela Airport, arriving at Baixa-Chiado. From there, many hotels are within a five-minute walk of the station. Lisbon is a relaxed city, and full of walkers. You will not see many bikers, and the buses and subway get you to all the major sights and beyond. As many attractions in the city are spread out, setting a goal of seeing at least three a day may prove to be the best way to start your visit.
On day one, start with some history by taking bus 15E from Commerce Square to see the Monument to the Discoveries. The monument lies on the edge of the Tagus River and its limestone is still strikingly white, although it was constructed and finished by 1960. It is a grand dedication to Portugal’s part in the Age of Exploration during the 15th and 18th centuries. Getting off the bus, look for the underpass that connects you to the monument across the busy highway. The thirty-three figures carved into the ramps include writers, navigators, a painter, and a missionary. The monument juts outward and upward, the image of a ship’s bow taking to the sea.
Next, you can head back to Commerce Square and then visit the Parque Eduardo VII. Commerce Square sits next to the river in the heart of the city, and people of all ages lounge about and sit near the waves and enjoy the good weather. You can walk north about two miles to the park. This is a two-mile uphill walk, but beautiful and lined with shops and restaurants. Those wanting to take the subway can catch the Blue Line near Commerce Square, which will take you to the Parque station. The Av. da Liberdade is a main artery in Lisbon. If you have time, you can branch off to the side streets and explore the neighborhoods connecting to it. On the west side of the Avenue, a small side street called Calcada da Gloria will take you to a miradouro, or a viewpoint. Once at the park, some of the best features are the gardens, the open space, and the views looking down on the rest of Lisbon all the way to the river.
Third on the day’s list, head to Cais do Sodre station and take the ferry to Cacilhas, which lies across the Tagus River. From Cacilhas, it is a two-mile walk to the National Sanctuary of Christ the King. Just follow the signs that read: Cristo Rey. Once at the top, the statue may be overshadowed by the views of Lisbon seen across the Tagus. And because of the 25 de Abril Bridge to the left, the view may remind some of being near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
You can spend half an hour or more enjoying the view and walking around the area. Then make your way back down to the ferry, allowing for a short while to look over a map of Lisbon and plan the next three sights for the following day. Other popular sights include the Belem Tower, the Parque das Nacoes, and the Castelo de S. Jorge.