022 – Top things to do in Lisbon – PT – From Belem to Oriente

Lisbon is huge and if you want to see as much as possible you should come here with a plan. I had 2-3 days, and after Sintra it was hard to look at places without thinking that I wish I had more time to see more of Lisbon.

On the map I put some pins to mark the area that I will be covering in this article:

Click on the map or here to get a better view

Where should we start now? Most people start with the main Square/Plaza as it is very Portuguese and easy to recognize (for someone that visited Portugal…), but I choose to start with the west, and go towards east. From one bridge to another.

So here we are to the beautiful and solitary, Belem Tower, the starting point of the big sea journeys of the past:

022.01 Belem Tower

This tower can be seen in some paintings as being far into the ocean, as a defense tower against battle ships. It was built in 1519 (during five years of construction) by the order of Manuel the 1st of Portugal. The place can be visited and it has more than one level. Also, there are canons at posts, facing outside of the windows in the lower level.

The tower itself is so beautiful that I made it in Blender, and you shall see it in the next article.

022.02 The Tower of Belem and the Transatlantic Flight Monument

This tower is part of the 7 wonders of Portugal, together with Pena Castle from Sintra. Also it is a UNESCO monument.

In front of the tower is a small replica of itself and just around it is a common gathering spot for performers. On my stay I enjoyed a violinist that performed many songs from well known movies from which I recall Titanic.

Moving on from here we get to a very good looking, red bridge and famous due to resemblance with another one. This one is the 23 de Abril Bridge.

022.03 Ponte 23 de Abril

Initially, in 1966 on August 6th (basically it was built some 30 years after the Golden Gate bridge from USA) it received another name: the Salazar Bridge, after the Prime Minister who ordered the construction of it. But after his regime ended, the new name 23 of April come to use.

022.04 Ponte 23 de Abril and empty flatcar wagons

I think that if the 23 de Abril was not painted in red; it would have not made the headlines as it does today.

Nevertheless, I love it, and I had huge fun making it in Blender. I had to study a lot and make tons of researches on the internet so that I get many things right. The final result can be seen at the end of this article.

022.05 On the road to Almada

From the bridge I went back to the old center of Lisbon, but first I made a stop to get some refreshment.

This is the Sao Paolo Park or the Dom Luis Garden that is right next to Cais do Sodre train station. On the previous article I featured the beautiful entrance of the station so be sure to check that one out also!

022.06 Sao Paolo Park

022.07 General Marquez monument

On the narrow streets, many buildings are tilled with ceramics and at some point, you will come across two sister buildings looking like Chocolate and Vanilla ice-cream sandwiches.

Sadly, so many wires and cranes are in the area that I choose not to post that picture here but instead went with a blue ceramic tiled building (that is just next to them), sitting next to the St. Paul’s Church.

022.08 Sao Paolo Church

It is very easy to miss stuff when in Lisbon, as streets are narrow, and buildings are so close to each other and on different heights. It does make good material for puzzles doesn’t it?

022.09 View over Chagas Church

For instance, right after the park that I just showed, and right before the St Paul’s Church, there is this (above) beautiful vista of typical Portuguese buildings, sitting on different heights. All colored differently and most with shades covering the windows.

022.10 Bridge over Sao Paolo St

I don’t know the name of this bridge, but I know where I took the picture: I am sitting on the Sao Paolo street and above on the bridge is Alecrim Street. And I am trying to make a multi-exposure photo.

From here you continue on the Sao Paolo and then you turn back on Rua Nova do Carvalho (only pedestrians can go here) and you get to a fancy place with lots of pubs and music stores. The most interesting for me was this passage that had paintings all over it.

022.11 Passage under Rua do Alecrim

As I was discovering Lisbon, most of the first day was lost searching for a repair shop for my camera, and then with searching for a parking place. So I could not go on every little street and check every corner for great places…

022.12 Praca do Comercio and the monument of King Jose I

In the 16th century, King Manuel 1st built a new palace: the Riveira Palace, and many other buildings to help with administration, with the building of ships and to help with flourishing commerce.

Two centuries later, an earthquake and the follow-up tsunami, destroyed most of Lisbon.

022.13 Arches on either side of Praca do Comercio

And thus, the place was re-built in this U shape that we have today, that is opened towards the water. Also, as a fun fact, during this period of time the first statue of a king was made (in Lisbon) and it sits right in the middle of the Square.

It is easy to stay here for minutes, even hours and feed the pigeons or play with the soap bobble giant balloons, or just sit in the oldest Cafe in Lisbon.

We continue our trip and we get to a very beautiful church façade, that of Conceicao Velha:

022.15 Igreja da Conceicao Velha

Inside the church, more colors paint the walls in 360 degrees as in a contrast with the more serious exterior. I would say that the color of Lisbon is Yellow. Just like some main buildings, the trams, the boats and even some trains. Somehow the cabs are not yellow… I wonder why?

022.16 Inside Conceicao Velha Chruch

From here more colors, more buildings upon buildings and a cathedral.

022.17 View over Se Cathedral de Lisboa

Most of the good restaurants are in this area (Bacalhoeiros), and all of them have their menus outside, together with prices. So if you are not into all sea food maybe you find something that grows on the land.

I searched for one that had soup (any kind) and found a very interesting restaurant, decorated with travelling items and a big collection of wine. Service was great and fast so I took two soups just to be sure I have enough.

022.18 Restaurant on Bacalhoeiros street

Walking next to the Tagus River might not be as romantic as you would expect (unlike in the case of Porto or Paris), due to the shipyard activity, so I stayed on the main road Cais de Santarem and found this beautiful pink palace filled with roses:

022.19 Palacete Chafariz d`el Rei

And guess what: you can stay here for about 160-200 euros per night (breakfast included). I did not; but judging from pictures is much better than at a distant hotel where one night is 60 euros without breakfast (add 10euros/person to that price) and nobody comes to get you to and from the airport.

Now I don’t remember exactly where I made the following picture, but I think I can guess the approximate location.

022.20 National Panteon uphill

I was walking on the same street Cais de Santarem that became Rua do Terreiro do Trigo and then that one became Rua do Jardim do Tabaco. Anyway, I just followed the main road, there are no curves no intersections and but one opening where I came across the dome of the Pantheon, up on the hill. Also you can see that there are a bunch of cabs here. I did not crop the image so that you can more easily find the place.

Next, I figured I should go around the area, and in the end try to get up to the Pantheon.

And so, I got next to the Military Museum:

022.21 Military Museum and Pantheon

I love to see how much Portuguese people like (or used to like) watches. They put them on pretty much every building, to remind people not to forget to board on their ships to the new lands, or just back home to Africa/America/India. Or at least this is what I would like to think of.

022.22 Military Museum arches and clock

This is the oldest museum in Lisbon and the biggest of its kind in Portugal and features canons, artillery, paintings and even machines that were used to build the beautiful Arch that is in the Commercial Plaza.

After a small stop at Santa Apolonia station (see previous article) we follow the Pantheon as it stays visible from a-top the buildings.

022.23 Pantheon and buildings at Apolonia

From Apolonia to Oriente Station not much can be seen. Trains on the left side of the road, trains and boats on the right side of the road. I featured some of this in the previous article.

After very much walking I arrived to the ‘98 Exposition area, and just before you see paintings on the floor, this interesting building that looks very much like a cruise ship will be welcoming you.

022.24 Cruise Ship building at the beginning of Nations Park area

As you have probably guessed it, from here, walking next to the river is again beautiful and can be also romantic.

022.25 Jardim das Ondas

In this whole region you can either walk, take a bus, take a train (tourist train on rubber wheels), take the Teleferico de Lisboa (cable), take a boat… you name it!

022.26 Oceanario de Lisboa

There is so much to see here, including the biggest oceanarium with all the good stuff, including sharks! The building makes me think of the bunkers on the French coast…

022.27 Agencia Nacional Para a Cultura Cientifica e Tecnologica

Speaking of fish, check the design of this museum (above), situated in the same area with the green grass and the Aquarium. Pretty awesome right?

Portuguese people they really are the masters when it comes to ceramics on walls. They should teach a thing or two to the people who make glass buildings and keep losing heat/cold and glass.

Next to the building with scales there is another one, even more wow (in my opinion) but not because of the details, but because of the scale and the opening that it has.

022.28 Pavilhao de Portugal Expo 98

If you like architecture, then Lisbon is the place to be. This tube structure that spans from one building to another is one giant wow machine. During my visit, here was an exposition on Toutankhamon.

For now, I continue towards my main destination (Oriente Station, featured in the previous article), and I make a small stop at Altice Arena, where all the flags are:

022.29 Rossio dos Olivais, flags Street.

Next I visited the train station and of course the Vasco da Gama commercial center that featured tons of glass (just like the whole area around) and these interesting bridges that show the footprints, when looked from underneath.

022.30 Vasco da Gama commercial center

022.31 Vasco da Gama commercial center

On my last day in Lisbon, I made a trip on the 23rd Abril Bridge (the red one shown in the beginning of the article) and came back on the Ponte Vasco da Gama. Here are the pictures that I took on the later:

022.32 Ponte Vasco da Gama

This bridge is the longest in EU (as it was in 2019/20) and the second longest in Europe. Sadly, when we talk about scale at a world context, this bridge does not make the top 10 but is really impressive nonetheless!

022.33 Ponte Vasco da Gama and Lisbon

As the sun was setting (when I reached Oriente Station) I too will end this article and continue from there back to Belem Tower.

For now, I leave you with these images and with the hope that I helped you get a some idea of what is in Lisbon and some pictures you can take for your own use.

See you in the next article, where I shall show you more but at nightfall.

MiDe

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