If you're planning a trip to Lisbon, chances are strong that you've probably already compiled an extensive list of must-dos. But, on the off chance that you're struggling to fill some time on your itinerary, we've prepared a list of Lisbon attractions that you won't want to miss.
Belem Tower - This ornate and imposing structure on the bank of the Tagus River was erected in the early 16th century as a part of Lisbon's defense system. King John II commissioned the tower to be built out of lioz limestone, ordering the "making of a strong fort" to defend the mouth of the Tagus. The builders apparently took the order quite seriously, as evidenced by the tower's centuries of durability.
Tram 28 - In Lisbon, there are plenty of ways to see the sights, but experienced visitors insist that Tram 28 is one of the best. This historic streetcar ascends through the red rooftops and cathedrals of the striking Alfama district, and ends its journey at St. George's Castle.
The Alfama District - This is the oldest district in Portugal's capital. During the time of Moorish conquest, this area was all there was to Lisbon. The thoroughfares here are a twisted maze of narrow streets and winding walkways, and visitors insist that the atmosphere of the place is simply magical.
Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian - Even if the word "museum" doesn't make you feel excited, you should still pay Fundacao Calouste Gulbenkian a visit. Here, you'll find a collection of arts and oddities to dazzle the senses, including rotating exhibitions from some of the world's most renowned creative geniuses.
Oceanario de Lisboa - If you're traveling with children or simply fascinated by undersea life, you can't go wrong with a visit to Oceanario de Lisboa. This aquarium is the largest in Europe, so plan on spending a few hours here, and taking your time. From sea birds to fish, crustaceans to otters, this place has it all.
Santa Justa Lift - When it first opened at the turn of the 20th century, the Santa Justa Elevator was a steam-powered feat of engineering, designed to allow easy access to Carmo Square from the lower streets of the Baixa. This neo-gothic iron elevator has been kept up through the years, and was later converted to electric power. Despite its age, the Santa Justa Lift still offers one of the most stunning views in the city.
St. George's Castle - History buffs will love St. George's Castle, a stately and royal citadel overlooking Lisbon's historic center. It's easy to see why this hilltop was of such strategic importance; you can see everything from here. Be sure to check out the Tower of Ulysses, where a periscope gives visitors a sweeping, panoramic view of Lisbon, and the surrounding area.
Rua Garrett - If you're looking for upscale retail therapy, exquisite local cuisine, and a wealth of theaters, museums, and other cultural landmarks, then Rua Garret is certainly worth a stop. This trendy street is a popular attraction for travelers, so be prepared for sizeable crowds.
Things to Do in Lisbon
When visiting a new place, sometimes getting lost is a great way to see the sights. Other times, it's best to have an experienced guide to show you around. If you're the type that's more interested in experiencing the very best of Lisbon, Portugal as recommended by the locals, then these top-rated Lisbon tours will be right up your alley.
Lisbon Bike Tour - Seeing the city by bike is an excellent way to go. You don't have to worry about traffic, and the experienced local guides at Lisbon Bike Tour will educate you on famous landmarks and lesser-known corners of this fabulous city. The tour is designed to be a fairly easy ride even for novice cyclists, so don't worry about getting in shape before you embark.
Tour the National Tile Museum - The craftspeople of Portugal have turned tile making into high art. Called azulejos, these handmade decorative tiles have been painstakingly crafted here for centuries. Nowhere in Portugal will you find a more impressive collection of azulejos than at the National Tile Museum. For ceramics fans and art lovers, this place is truly remarkable.
Street Art Graffiti Tour - When you take the Street Art Graffiti Tour, you'll see the Lisbon street art community's hidden gems; the masterpieces furtively crafted under cover of night. You'll also get a healthy dose of local history, along with insight into the political, social, and economic issues informing the street artists of Portugal's lively capital.
Lisbon Boat Tour - Offering boat tours of Lisbon, Estoril, and the coast of Cascais, Lisbon Boat Tour provides visitors with several options for seeing the area's best sights by boat, all while sipping delicious Portuguese wine. There's the "Be a Local" tour, which explores the best snorkeling spots and beaches of the "Portuguese Riviera." And there's also the "Romantic Sunset," which is perfect for a secluded getaway with a special someone. If you'd like, you can even create your own tour, and the guides at Lisbon Boat Tour will be happy to oblige.
Red Tour Lisbon - Red Tour's cheery red Segway scooters and electric buggies are a common sight around Lisbon, and with good reason. Their tours are eco-friendly, fun, and educational, and their guides are among the most knowledgeable in the city of Lisbon. If you'd rather take in the sights at your own pace, you can do a GPS-guided Segway tour that's almost as much fun as touring with a guide. Plus, you get to ride a Segway, which is a lot of fun in itself.
What to Expect from the Weather in Lisbon
Concerning the weather in all of Europe's most wonderful travel destinations, Lisbon's climate is among the mildest. Snowfall here is exceedingly rare, and the city's subtropical-Mediterranean climate keeps temperatures very tolerable throughout the year. Of all Europe's metropolises, the city of Lisbon boasts the warmest average daytime temperatures, the most comfortable nighttime temperatures, and the mildest winters, making almost any time of year the best time to visit Portugal.
Summer in Lisbon - The summer season is Lisbon's busiest. Temperatures from June through August are generally in the 70s, dipping into the 60s at night. It is during these months that you?ll have to make reservations for popular restaurants, and accommodations far in advance, and you should expect Portugal's already crowded capital city to be even more lively than usual.
Average Temperature: 73 Degrees F
Fall in Lisbon - All the sights and attractions are still open, but most of the summer lines have dissipated. And if you get caught in a rainstorm, you can always use it as an excuse to take refuge in one of Lisbon's many hearty and adventurous eateries. It sure beats standing in cue.
Average Temperature: 65 Degrees F
Spring in Lisbon - During the spring, the weather rarely dips below 60, and sometimes warms up to the lower 70s. That's almost trip-to-the-beach weather. True, you'll run a higher risk of getting rained on while you?re seeing the sights (about ten times higher), but with monthly rainfall averages of 1-3 inches from March to May, it's really nothing to worry about.
Average Temperature: 63 Degrees F
Winter in Lisbon - Temperatures usually reach the mid-50s, not exactly swimsuit weather, but you probably won't need a down parka, either. Yes, it's rainy, especially from November to February, but traffic isn't nearly as bad, so you can travel by car or metro, rather than let the wet weather get in the way of enjoying your trip.
Average Temperature: 53 Degrees F
Any Time is a Great Time to Visit Lisbon
So there you have it. Lisbon's summers definitely earn their popularity, but Portugal's capital city is certainly worth a visit during fall, spring, and winter. You'll want to bring a jacket, but you'll probably save plenty of money on accommodations, and you'll avoid the throngs of tourists who visit during the warmer months. Plus, you'll be able to catch Lisbon events aimed mainly at the locals, so your visit will make you feel like you're experiencing the real Lisbon, and mingling with the city's inhabitants.
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