Portugal Trips

Ribeira (Porto Riverfront): From Rua da Bainharia to Praca da Ribeira.

Ariel Shafir


Ribeira (Porto Riverfront): from Rua da Bainharia to Praca da Ribeira:

Start: Tourist Information Office in the Se' - Cathedral square.

End: Praca da Ribeira.

Orientation: The city is quite varied architecturally, with medieval as well as modern living side by side. Porto's geography is hard on the feet, but pleasant to the eye. The city is extremely hilly, with many buildings built into a cliff face that overlooks the river. Stairs cut into the stone run up and down the cliff face and offer a laborious but rewarding walking tour. With photogenic traditional boats floating at the quayside overlooked by colorful ancient houses, this is the most picturesque area in the city and the place everyone loves -- UNESCO did too, and declared it a World Heritage Site. While the main streets are busy with tourists, the backstreets are quiet and often completely empty. Yet, it's here where you can discover the most picturesque everyday scenes. I particularly liked the backstreets behind the overcrowded Praca da Ribeira and Cais da Ribeira. There are lots of nice places - hidden plazas, colorful houses in narrow alleys, stairs leading up to other squares. One of the reasons why Porto is such a pretty town is very much because it has Cais da Ribeira facing the river.

Distance: 6-7 km.

With your face to the Tourist Information Office in the Se' - Cathedral square, turn RIGHT and descend the stairs (Escadas da Sé) northward to Rua Escura. Turn your head backward to catch one more glimpse of Porto Se' Cathedral:

In the end of Rua Escura turn LEFT to Rua da Bainharia. The designation of the street Bainharia has medieval origin and owes its name to the high concentration of this concourse Bainheiros, craftsmen who dedicated themselves to the manufacture of sheaths for melee weapons, including swords. Walk along Rua da Bainharia and find your way into the small streets. Just look for narrow roads, colorful walls and lots of houses !

On the first turn, turn LEFT to Rua de Santana and you arrive to Largo da Colegio. Small square with exceptional view of houses steeply hung over the square. Here you see the rear of the buildings of the street Aldas:

In the square you find unusual, poorly visited gem: Igreja dos Grilos. Built by the Jesuits in 1577. It is a Mannerist-Baroque-style, funded by donations from the faithful, as well as Frei Luís Álvaro de Távora, who is buried here. The Church and Convent of São Lourenço were built enduring strong opposition from both the Municipal Chamber and the population. However, the followers of St. Ignatius of Loyola finally got the much coveted school which provided free classes - this quickly resulted in a remarkable success. With the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1759, by order of the Marquis of Pombal, the church was donated to the University of Coimbra until its purchase by the Discalced Friars of the Order of Saint Augustine that were there from 1780 to 1832. These friars came from Spain in 1663, settling initially in Lisbon, at the "site of Cricket" (lugar do Grilo), where they quickly gained the sympathy of the village, earning the name "brothers-crickets" (irmãos-grilos) and thus the name of the church where they fixed residence in Porto. During the Siege of Porto, the brothers were forced to leave the convent, which later was occupied by the liberal troops of Dom Pedro. The Academic Battalion, integrating Almeida Garrett, settled there. Today the premises belong to the Seminário Maior do Porto, to which they have belonged since 1834. Its interior is unique, with a magnificent light...and so peaceful ! The interior is monumental, magnificent and monochrome. You can appreciate the weight of history and the building tradition, enhanced by magnificent altars and colorful ornaments. A MUST in Porto !!!

Crucified Christ, polychromatic wood, 18th Century:

Ceramic tile (Azulejo) in the church:

South to the Largo de Colegio and Igreja dos Grilos - there is viewpoint terrace over the Douro river and downtown Porto houses:

Return, via Rua de Santana, to Rua da Bainharia. Walk west to its end.

There, turn left to the bustling Rua São João. Walk down south along Rua São João and turn (in the 1st intersection) RIGHT to Rua do Infante Dom Henrique. On your right Feitoria Inglesa - a historic building built by a British consulate in 1785. An excellent testimony to the Portuguese-British alliance and the weight of the British community in the city of Porto, largely engaged in trade of Port wine. The earliest English factory in the North of the country, dating from the sixteenth century, was located in Viana do Castelo. The first regulation of the Factory House of Oporto came in 1727. The house was built between 1785 and 1790, according to a draft of the English consul John Whitehead. The factory house is inspired by the English Palladian style:

After passing Rua Mouzinho da Silveira, on your right, you arrive to Praca do Infante Dom Henrique and the old, historical houses around it. This square, right in the historic center of Porto, honors the Infante D. Henrique - the most important figure of the early Portuguese discoveries - who, according to tradition, to had been born nearby at the so-called House of Prince, in 1394. This square gets its name from the monument that is in the same center, dedicated to Prince Henry, called "Explorer Prince" or "THe navigator Prince". Made by Tomás Costa, the statue was erected in 1894. The statue comprises several sculptured sets. At the top, there is the prince's statue, standing next to a globe of the Earth. The top part is joined to the pedestal by a neo-gothic phytomorphic stylisation. At the base, there are two allegorical sets: one Victory leading two steeds and two tritons, representing the triumph of the Portuguese sea voyages; a feminine shape symbolising the Faith in the Discoveries. The statue also has low reliefs by the pedestal, representing the conquest of Ceuta and the Prince in the Sagres promontory:

Mercado Ferreira Borges in Praça and Statue de Infante Dom Henrique: The name honors Jose Ferreira Borges market, a jurisconsult and Porto politician who was at the genesis of the implementation of the liberal regime in Portugal. Built in 1885 to replace the now old Ribeira Market, despite never having fulfilled the functions for which it was originally intended, due to the reluctance of dealers to leave the previous market, the Mercado Ferreira Borges is now used for exhibitions and fairs cultural context:

Palacio da Bolsa: Palacio de Bolsa, or Palace of the Commercial Association of Porto was constructed in October 1842, due to the end of the House of the Stock Exchange, which temporarily forced the traders to relocate fully outdoors. With a mixture of architectural styles in the building - it presents all its splendor with traces of neoclassical nineteenth century, Tuscan architecture, as well as English neo-Paladian. As headquarters of the Commercial Association of Porto, it,now, serves for the most diverse cultural, social and political events of Porto city. The Arab Hall holds the biggest highlight of all the rooms of the palace because, as the name implies, the nineteenth century stucco captioned Gold with Arabic characters that fill the walls and ceiling of the room. It is in this hall that takes place tributes to the heads of state who visit the city. In the Portrait Room there is one of the famous engraver José Zeferino Pinto tables. The Palácio da Bolsa is open for tourist visits, being one of the most popular heritage buildings in the city of Porto. Opening hours: April - Octobre: 09.00 – 18.30 (everyday). Novembre - March: 09.00 – 12.30, 14.00 – 17.30 (everyday). Individual ticket:  €7,00, student/senior: €4,00. Children < 12 years - free.

Sala àrab:

Pátio das Nações:


There is Mercado - a restaurant/ Cervejaria in the red market building:

Igreja de S. Nicolau: This church is located almost opposite the Church of San Francisco, and practically opposite to the emblematic Palacio da Bolsa, in the Praça Infante D. Henrique. It is an old medieval church, which had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1758, and therefore presents a mix of classic and Baroque styles. It was named by the bishop of Porto, Nicholas Miller, who had built it. It's small, but what stands out most is the main façade, decorated with tiles and large windows, with a monumental entrance, flanked by pillars on which is the coat of arms of the bishop:

We continue down (south-west) along Rua do Infante Dom Henrique. Before this street changes its name to Rua Nova Alfândega, on your left - you see a red house with CESAP.PT sign. I have no idea what is this building and I suspect it belongs to the School of Arts of the University of Porto:

adjacent to the red house is a new hotel: 1872 River House with colored-glass windows (opposite: chemical WC). The 1872 hotel (opened at April 2014) is located at the Ribeira, right where the Muro dos Bacalhoeiros is, and right in front of the Douro. It has eight rooms, some facing the city, some facing the river:

From here look back to see, again, the Se' Cathedral of Porto. This is the view seen by the hotel's rear rooms visitors:

The more expensive rooms are overlooking magnificent views of the Douro river:

Opposite the hotel, on your right, up on a low hill - Igreja (church) de San Francisco. This famous church and other, nearby, religious and cultural sites (Museu da Venerável Ordem Terceira de São Francisco do Porto, Casa da Horta - Associação Cultural) - are reported in another blog/itinerary devoted, more in-depth to the Centro Storico of Porto city.

Turn left to Rua da Reboleira and zig-zag down to the Douro river. I recommend walking, first, to the EAST (right) arriving to Muro dos Bacalhoeiros densely packed with restaurants, outdoor tables and cafe's. In this area of ​​Porto lived one of the most charismatic figures of the city, called the Duke of Ribeira, known for saving several people drown:

Here is also the famous restaurant Vinhas d'Alho: Not cheap, but, good food and fantastic scenery around. A lot of passers-by. Limited space for outdoor tables:

from Muro dos Bacalhoeiros you get a wonderful view over: Ponte (bridge) Luis I, Cais (pier) Estiva, cais Ribeira and Cais Guindais:

Keep walking along the river eastward and arrive to Largo do Terreiro. Here, you hit the ODE Porto Wine House. The ODE Porto Wine House is very nice restaurant, small, cosy and romantic. Their dishes are based on high quality organic food from local products.

Largo do Terreiro - grandiose views to : Ponte Luis I, Villa Nova de Gaia and Praca de Ribeira;

2-3 minutes later, eastward - and you arrive to Praca da Ribeira, Ribeira Square. The square is located in the historical district of Ribeira (riverside in Portuguese). The Ribeira district spreads alongside the Douro river and used to be a centre of intense commercial and manufacturing activity since the Middle Ages. Also since that time the Ribeira Square was the site of many shops that sold fish, bread, meat and other goods. In 1491 the buildings around the square were destroyed in a fire, and the houses were rebuilt with arcades in their groundfloors. During this rebuilding campaign the square also gained a pavement made of stone slabs. In the mid-18th century the city needed new urban improvements to provide for the swift flow of goods and people between the Ribeira neighbourhood and other areas of Porto. In this context, governor João de Almada e Melo opened a new street, the São João Street, that connected the Ribeira Square and the upper town, and promoted the reurbanisation of the square itself. The project, executed between 1776 and 1782, is credited to John Whitehead, English consul in Porto. The square was to become enclosed on its north, west and east sides by buildings with arcades, while the south side of the square, facing the Douro, was enclosed by the mediaeval walls (Muralhas Fernandinas) of Porto. These walls were torned down in 1821, opening the square to the river. The northern part of the square has a monumental fountain, three storeys high, built in the 1780s and decorated with the coat-of-arms of Portugal. The niche of the fountain is occupied by a modern statue of St John the Baptist by sculptor João Cutileiro. The square also has a modern cubic sculpture by José Rodrigues (nicknamed the Cubo da Ribeira) over the remains of a 17th-century fountain. Nowadays the Ribeira Square is a favourite spot for tourists. The small cafes encircle the square, with tables and chairs crammed into the cave like premises. Tables and chairs spill over into the square, with the chance to enjoy a drink or meal, overlooking the river. The Ribeira quarter , lines the banks of the River Douro, from the foot of the Ponte D. Luis, along towards the Praca da Ribeira. This historical (UNESCO protected) area of Porto is well worth a visit, whether just to stroll along the riverside, enjoying the atmosphere, or to linger for a cool drink or meal at one of the many cafes and restaurants. On a blue skied and sunny warm day afternoon, it is very pleasant to choose a table at one of the pavement cafes and enjoy a leisurely drink, and watch the boats gliding up and down the Douro, be entertained by the musicians and singers, and people watch. At the height of summer it's quite crowded and probably not so relaxing. At night time the area changes its character completely, with the thick sea mist swirling around, and the streets leading off Ribeira, being quite dimly lit and narrow:

São João Batista de Cutileiro:

Around Porto Cathedral: 3-4 hours walk.

Ariel Shafir


Porto Cathedral:

Start: Praca do Batalha - Batalha Square.

End: Porto Se' - Cathedral square - Tourist Information Office.

Duration: 3-4 hours.

Orientation: This itinerary fits perfectly people who arrive to Porto during the late morning hours or around the midday. It can be combined with another 1/2 day route: Centro Histórico of Porto: From Rua da Bainharia to Praca da Ribeira. The second half of the day is better since the Cathedral is better lighted during the afternoon hours.

Distance: 3 - 4 km.

Batalha Square (Praça da Batalha) is a historical public square located in the centre of Porto. It is a pleasant place in which to rest, with several benches and cafés. The name Batalha (Battle) comes from a 10th-century battle fought between the Moorish forces of Al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir and the inhabitants of Porto, which resulted in the defeat of the latter and the destruction of the city. The Batalha area has been an important cultural spot for centuries. In 1794, it was here that the Oporto's opera house, the Royal Theatre of São João, was built. The theatre still exists, although the original building had to be replaced in 1908 following a fire. Batalha Square was an important traffic hub until recently, but since the 1980s it has been mostly pedestrianised. The square is also a touristic spot thanks to its monuments, cafés and hotels. You can rest at the courtyard in front of the Santo Ildefonso church (see below), or at the Batalha Square itself.

"Ardina" (newspaper seller) statue in Praca da Batalha:

The square was urbanised in 1861, when a statue of King Pedro V of Portugal, standing over a pedestal, was erected right in front of Batalha Palace. The statue is a work by sculptor Teixeira Lopes (father):

Another important landmark of the square is the Batalha Palace, Palácio da Batalha, a good example of a late 18th-century urban palace of Porto. The main façade, in a style intermediate between baroque and neoclassical, carries the coat-of-arms of the former owners (Silvas, Guedes, Melos e Pereiras). During the Siege of Porto (1832) the owners left the building and it was used for several purposes, including blood hospital. The interior has been stripped of its decoration still in the 19th century. Nowadays it is used as post office. Located on the eastern side of the square.

Another important cultural venue of the square is the Cinema Batalha, Cine-Teatro Batalha - a landmark of Portuguese Art Deco architecture dating from 1947. Located in the eastern side of the square.

The square also includes the São João National Theatre - Teatro Nacional São João (1911-1920) in the south side of the square. A building with a French Renaissance look, inspired by the Louvre and the Paris Opera. The city's most important cultural events and shows take place here:

Santo Ildefonso church, Igreja de Santo Ildefonso, fronted, garrisoned tiles designed by Jorge Colaco (1932). Located on the north side of the square. Built between 1724 and 1730, this hilltop Baroque church is distinguished by its lovely blue and white tile panels that cover the façade. Its oval interior has Neoclassical side altars and a retable on the main alter by Nicolau Nasoni, who later built Clerigos Tower nearby.

We leave the Praca da Batalha from its western side and walk down along Rua de Madeira. We descend the stairs to get a wonderful view of Estação São Bento, St. Beneto station.

We arrive to Praça Almeida Garrett. The square is named after the poet, dramatist and parliamentary speaker João Baptista da Silva Leitão de Almeida Garrett, born in Porto in 1799.

View of the west and north sides of the square with the Church Congregados right:

right: Sao Baneto station:

Igreja (church) dos Congregados: The Igreja dos Congregados was built in the late seventeenth century on the site where there was a chapel dedicated to St. Anthony. It may not be the most famous or beautiful catholic church in Porto, but certainly is among the most visited ones. Almost in front of the São Bento Railway Station, the church was built in 1703, replacing a chapel dated as far back

as 1662. Beautiful tiles, in the Portuguese tradition, decorate its façade. It is near everything and a short visit is strongly recommended. Beautiful church, very interesting structure, inside is lovely:

Estação São Bento, St. Beneto station. São Bento Railway Station was inaugurated in 1916. The historical station is known for its marvelous tiles (Azulejos) panels that depict scenes of the History of Portugal. It remains in regular use as a railway station, served by trains operated by Comboios de Portugal. The name of the station derives from a Benedictine monastery built on this spot in the 16th century. The monastery fell victim of a fire in 1783, was later rebuilt, but was in a grave state of disrepair at the end of the 19th century. King Carlos I laid the first stone of the station in 1900. The project was entrusted to Porto architect José Marques da Silva, who designed a building under the influence of French Beaux-Arts architecture. The station serves as the main terminus for Porto's suburban railways lines, and doesn't see much other service. It is also the western terminus for trains on the scenic Douro line to/from Pocinho. All trains leaving Sao Bento call at Campanhã as their next station:

See Tip below - about Sao Beneto station ceramic tile panels.

Leaving the São Bento Train Station,with your back to the train station and your face to the São Bento Metro station - turn LEFT. Descend along Praça Almeida Garrett to the south and continue climbing Avenida Dom Afonso Henriques (southward) when the old Porto walls on your left.

You pass the Information Tourist Office onyour right:

Cross Rua Saraiva de Carvalho, on your left, and continue climbing until you see, on your right the Porto Se' (Cathedral).

First, you see, on your right, the Casa Museu Guerra Junqueiro. A big mansion from the 18th century, decorated with the belongings of the famous Portuguese Poet from the 19th/20th century. It also houses temporary exhibitions. The palace dates back to 1730 and was built in Baroque style by Nicolau Nasoni. It is located at Rua de D. Hugo, nº 15. In 1940 the estate was donated by his daughter to honor him and it later became a museum. Exhibited in the museum is a collection of religious art, ceramics and furniture etc. We shall visit it later and display its photos after visiting the Porto Cathedral.

Before you enter the Cathdral square - you climb (after turning right from the main street) a little to the Calçada Vandoma and see, on your right, the statue of Vimara Peres. Vímara Peres (Galicia, circa 820– Guimarães, 873), was a ninth-century Galician nobleman and the first ruler of the County of Portugal:

Opposite the statue of Vimara Peres - there is a beautiful fountain, Chafariz do Anjo San Miguel -  located right next to the Se' Cathedral, in the place where was the Arch of Vandoma, one of the gateways to the primitive city walls. It was built in the eighteenth century by Nasoni and funded by the City Council. The source is a monument by itself, since it has a kind of wrought iron latticework marble reliefs embedded in the top of the reservoir. It is crowned by the statue of St. Michael.

The northern walls of the Se' (Cathedral) are adjacent to the fountain structure and foundation. Baroque loggia to the lateral façade:

The "Terreiro da Sé" is the name by which we know the large square where is the Se' (Cathedral) of Porto. Its unique location (is at the highest point of the city) to enjoy a great view of both the river Douro and the rest of the city. The "Terreiro da Sé" (the Cathedral square) is very impressive by its size, as its contrast to the narrowness of the streets that had risen around. The truth is that it seems incredible that in a place with so dense urban buildings - there is such an extensive square surrounded by some buildings with such large dimensions. We've reached the "Terreiro da Sé" from the modern expansion of Porto - so the contrast should not be so great. The "Terreiro da Sé" not only houses the cathedral ("Se") of Porto, but is surrounded by other important and imposing buildings: - Museum of Sacred Art Be Porto, Palace (" Paco ") Episcopal, Fundación María Isabel Guerra Junqueiro, Arqueossitio (archaeological remains):

From left to right: Old Town Hall, Porto Cathedral and the Chapter House:

Episcopal Palace (white building in the background), in Terreiro Cathedral. Not open to the public:

The Chapter House, Casa do Cabido - glued to the Cathedral:

The Pelourinho do Porto (pillory) and the medieval tower house in Terreiro Cathedral, opposite the Cathedral of Porto:

The Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto), (Sedes Episcopalis which means Bishop’s Residence in Latin) located in the historical centre of the city of Porto, is one of the city's oldest monuments and one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Portugal. The current Cathedral of Porto underwent construction around 1110 under the patronage of Bishop Hugo and was completed in the 13th century. The cathedral is flanked by two square towers, each supported with two buttresses and crowned with a cupola. The façade lacks decoration and is rather architecturally heterogeneous. It shows a Baroque porch and a beautiful Romanesque rose window under a crenellated arch, giving the impression of a fortified church. The Romanesque nave is rather narrow and is covered by barrel vaulting. It is flanked by two aisles with a lower vault. The stone roof of the central aisle is supported by flying buttresses, making the building one of the first in Portugal to use this architectonic feature. This first Romanesque building has suffered many alterations but the general aspect of the façade has remained Romanesque. Around 1333 the Gothic funerary chapel of João Gordo was added. João was a Knight Hospitaller who worked for King Dinis I. This was followed by a Gothic cloister, which was added during the reign of King John I and is notable for its delightful baroque tiles by Valentim de Almeida, depicting the life of the Virgin Mary. King John I was in fact married here to his English princess, Philippa of Lancaster, in 1387, while one of Portugal’s most important figures, Henry the Navigator, was baptized at its altar. It was during the 18th century, however, that the Se Cathedral of Porto underwent its most significant changes, succumbing to the rich Baroque embellishments that were added to so ecclesiastical buildings of the time. Structurally these included a new main portal and an elegant loggia to the lateral façade, along with a new apse which was decorated with baroque wall paintings by Nasoni and choir stalls. One of the most notable additions during the Baroque period was the altarpiece of the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament, which depicts a beautifully elaborate scene made entirely of silver. Designed by Portuguese artists, this was completed during the late 1800s, as were the three red marble holy-water fonts, supported by a statue. The baptistery also showcases an interesting bronze bas-relief by Antonio Teixeira Lopes which depicts Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist.  In 1772 also a new main portal substituted the old Romanesque original and the tower cupolas were altered. Around 1732 Italian architect Nicolau Nasoni added an elegant Baroque loggia to the lateral façade of the Cathedral. During the War of the Oranges whilst the battle at Amarante was taking place a group of Spanish soldiers briefly took control of the Cathedral before being overcome by the locals of the town. A marble plaque with a Magnetite backing now hangs up behind the altar in order to remind everyone of those who lost their lives whilst regaining control of the chapel. The Se Cathedral of Porto resembles to some extent a fortress, with its rather austere exterior, imposing towers and large rose window. It is visible from many locations throughout the city and is very much a focal point both in the everyday lives of Porto’s residents and within the busy itineraries of the thousands who flock to discover the ancient treasures of Porto every year:

The interior was also altered during the baroque era. In one of the chapels there is a magnificent silver altarpiece, built in the second half of the 17th century by Portuguese artists. Also in the 17th century the Romanesque apse (which had an ambulatory) was torn down and a new one was built in baroque style, later decorated with new wall paintings by Nasoni and choir stalls. The altarpiece of the chapel, designed by Santos Pacheco and executed by Miguel Francisco da Silva between 1727 and 1729, is an important work of Portuguese Baroque. The three red marble holy-water fonts, supported by a statue, date from the 17th century. The baptistery contains a bronze bas-relief by António Teixeira Lopes, depicting the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist. The South transept arm gives access to the Gothic cloister, which is decorated with baroque Azulejos by Valentim de Almeida (between 1729 and 1731). They depict the life of the Virgin Mary and Ovid's Metamorphoses. The remains of the Early-Romanesque ambulatory contain a few sarcophagi. The terrace is decorated with tile panels by António Vidal. The coffered ceiling of the chapter house was painted with allegories of moral values by Pachini in 1737. Free admission. Non commercial photos without flash light and tripod are allowed. Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 8.40 -12.30; 14.30 -18.00. Sunday and public holidays: 8.30-12.30; 14.30-18.00. From April to October the Cathedral closing time is at 19:00. Cloister - Opening hours:
Mon-Sat: 9.00-12.15; 14.30-17.15. Sunday and public holidays: 14.30-17.15. From April to October the closing time is at 18:00.Tickets: € 3,00 (cloister only):

The beautiful arches of the Cathedral-Sé are the great medieval symbol of Porto:

The Se' interior:

Gothic cloisters of the Cathedral. Admission - 3 euros. The Gothic cloister, was built in the 14th century. It is quite interesting; many walls are covered with magnificent blue and white tiles, the sacristy is beautifully decorated, and a couple of the chapels worth a visit: Capela S. João Evangelista and Capela de S. Vicente with its golden altarpiece:

Houses in front of Se Cathedral. Notice facades decorated with tiles. These are examples of many other old buildings in Porto:

Besides the magnificent cathedral, there is also one of the most beautiful viewpoints of Porto. Here you can see Vila Nova de Gaia and its cellars and the Duoro river:

Leave the "Terreiro da Sé" (Cathedral square) from its western exit - Calçada de Dom Pedro Pitões and Rua S. Sebastiano.In the intersection of Rua S. Sebastiao and Rua de Hugo note two interesting sites: tower and fountain. On your left - Torre Medieval do Porto - also known as Porto city tower. The tower remained hidden for long centuries among the houses that populate the Cathedral square. During the 1940s, there was an attempt to give greater dignity to the building of the Cathedral and "clean" the surrounding area, resulting in uncovering a medieval tower. As it was a typical example of medieval buildings that preserved the appearance of strength, it was decided to preserve it, moving it about 15 feet from its original location. The building was rebuilt under the guidance of architect Rogério de Azevedo which added a balcony in stone Gothic feature:

South to the Cathedral square - do not miss the Chafariz (Fountain) da Rua Escura. It was built in the seventeenth century in granite. Has two female figures on both sides of the pipe where the water come out. In the centre - the figure of a pelican. At the top of the fountain you can see a decorative frieze with the shield of the royal arms:

Walk along Rua de Dom Hugo, first, southward, then eastward and at last north-east. You see the south walls of Casa-Museu Guerra Junqueiro. The stairs on your right are the Escadas das Verdades:

Opening hours: Monday _ Saturday: 10.00 - 17.30, Sunday: 10.00 -  12.30, 14.00 -  17.30. Open in holidays times. Free admission at weekends. Weekday - 2,20€:

We made a round route and encircled the whole Cathedral square or hill. Now, we are back in the Calçada Vandoma - where we started our visit of the Cathedral hill. We return to the Tourist Information Office (built over the ruins of a medieval tower, the Casa dos 24), and from there we descend to historical centre of Porto, to the Ribeira (Riverfront) area (see details in a separate itinerary of 1/2 day in Ribeira (Porto Riverfront): From Rua da Bainharia to Praca da Ribeira.

Walk in Figueira da Foz

Ariel Shafir


Figueira da Foz:

Start & End: Figueira da Foz railway station.

Duration: 1 day.

Walking distance: 15 km.

Orientation: Beaches, modern architecture, promenades, salty air breathing, a lot of walks. A city with a lot of untapped potential. Very little past and history relics but, probably, a bright future.

Note: In Figueira street signage does not exist or is not clearly visible in many cases. We use, in this itinerary, as placeholders, in buildings or  easily visible objects instead of street names.

The train from Coimbra leaves from Coimbra B station. There is one train every hour. Check exact times in the CP.PT web site. The ride takes 75 minutes approx. The morning trains are at: 08.54, 09.54, 11.54, 12.54. The return trains (Figueira->Coimbra) are at: 14.58, 15.58, 16.58, 17.58, 19.58 and 21.58.

Figueira is located 40 km west of Coimbra, at the mouth of the Mondego River, and sheltered by hills (Serra da Boa Viagem). The city proper has a population of 46,600. It is the second largest city in the district of Coimbra. It is a coastal city with several beaches, summer and seaport facilities on the Atlantic Ocean coast. As a tourism city, it plays an important part in the centre of the country. With its old and renowned casino (Casino da Figueira), the marina, several hotels, restaurants and other tourist facilities, Figueira is actually a very important Atlantic beach resort, in the center of Portugal's Silver Coast/Costa de Prata tourism region. Its fabulous beach attracting a vibrant holiday crowd throughout the summer. Figueira da Foz has a Mediterranean climate characterized by mild, rainy winters and dry, warm summers. In the summer afternoons moderate to (occasionally) strong north-westerly winds are common. It is quite probable that you'll feel breeze along your visit in the city. Most summer visitors, however, are here for the enormous sandy town beach which is 2km long and very wide. Waves here can be pretty huge, making it a popular spot for surfers, who also frequent the nearby Praia do Cabadelo, on the other side of the Rio Mondego. At the southern end of the beach are the remains of an old sea fort, Forte de Santa Catarina, and the Mercado Municipal, good for fresh produce as well as beachwear, lace, embroidery and other crafts. Out of season, the place has a lonelier charm, but come here in summer and things are upbeat, with sizzling bodies and candy-striped beach huts filling the beaches (mainly, in Augusts).

From Figueira da Foz railway station walk west to Rua de Republica - a central shopping street. Walk along Rua de Republica westward - when Rio Mondego is on your left. You'll see the river only after 15 minutes walking along the Rua de Republica. Cross Rua de 10 Agosto and continue walking until you arrive to a pleasant square, on your left - Largo Doutor Nunes - with a simple metal sculpture. Here Rua de Republica ends and continues with Avenida Foz do Mondego:

On your left a small commercial depots pier/port (Porto de Figueira da Foz) and on your right - a lighthouse. Continue walking west - when on your left is the Marina and on your right - you'll see a white house in a Moorish/oriental style:

Our walk westward, from now, is along a splendid, elegant, tastefully designed promenade paved with typical Portuguese pavement. The Marina reception is on our left. On your right a lighthouse and the old city walls. The Marina of Figueira da Foz is located on Avenue of Spain, at the edge of the River Mondego. It has floating platforms with a capacity of 200 points mooring for boats up to 15 meters and a pier for boats above. It is equipped with numerous facilities dedicated to mariners as repair shop hulls and engines, fuel, water, stores, bars, restaurants, etc:

On our right an entrance to a park and a sculpture:

Further west, we pass Skqiper Bar on our left. Here, starts a brown asphalted track for cyclists. There is a new, impressive regeneration project for the  river/sea front including: piers, snowboard spaces, trees plantations. You'll observe young pine trees just planted all around. In this section the Mondego river connects with the Atlantic ocean:

We arrive to the first formal ocean beach. Here it is quite tiny and limited:

A few minutes of walk further to the west and a little surprise on the beach - exactly where the river and the ocean merge together. A statue of Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy on the beach where the Mondego river meets the Atlantic ocean.  Figueira Da Foz has a rich history with the Peace Run and World Harmony Run organization and projects. Through the pose of this statue—with Sri Chinmoy’s hand on his heart and passing the Peace Torch like this - he is spreading the peace to others In a world where peace is sorely lacking. Sri Chinmoy was a man who dedicated his entire life to the cause of peace. He served the United Nations for 37 years related to programmes whose goals were to spread the message of peace. He found in running one of the best ways to foster peace:

The statue in the evening light:

We return to the north side of the Avenida Espanha - to the Fortress and Chapel of St. Catherine and the city walls. The Fort of Santa Catarina form part of the coastal defense elements, along with the Fortress of Holes and Fortim Palheiros, its function being to defend the entrance of the river Mondego. Its construction began in the sixteenth century is located on Avenue of Spain. It has a triangular shape and within its walls are the Chapel of Santa Catarina, in the quadrangular highlighting its dome and the image of Santa Catarina eighteenth century, and faro courtyard. The entire set is classified as Public Property of interest since the year 1961:

From here we change direction and head, now, to the NORTH along the sea/ocean shore. The Avenida Espanha street changes its name to
Avenida 25 de Abril. On your right - there is a gorgeous square or lake, with wood decks, sculptures and manicured grass and flower-beds. In the background - Figueira houses:

Walk north along Avenida 25 de Abril. On your right shops, cafe's, hotels and residence complexes with view over the ocean  and on your left - a clock tower with a flag of Portugal:

Torre do relógio:

Avenida 25 de Abril changes its name to Avenida do Brasil. You pass, on your right the following hotels: Atlantic, Mercure, Costa de Prata, Eurostars. The beach, on your left, is with crystal-clean white sand and it is quite large and spacy. more northward the white sand is replaced by fallows - but then the access to the seashore is through wooden bridges and decks.
I had lunch at Restaurante Por do Sol in Av. do Brasil 184. See Tip below.

From here, more or less, we slightly change direction and we walk along the sea-shore which heads, now, north-west. Avenida Brasil ends in a wide-space square: Rotunda de Pescador - with an extensive pond and impressive sculpture of a fisherman. Opposite - entertainment park. Here, Avenida Brasil changes its name to Avenida Infante Dom Pedro:

Now we are in Buarcos. It is a traditional fishing town that has grown also as a noted beach resort due to the calm waters of its sea, which is protected by the Boa Viagem small mountain range (Serra da Boa Viagem). Many of its inhabitants still work in the fishing industry but tourism is also an important activity. It has many seafood restaurants and bars. With view over the bay and the extensive beach, Buarcos is now considered a suburb of the city of Figueira da Foz. Rotunda dos Navagantes - houses No. 70-74:

On the tiny pebbled promenade stand a wooden boat and several wood cabins:

Opposite the beach you can enter the local museum of the Bacalau (Bakala fish) or, with its formal name, Núcleo Museológico do Mar, Rua Governador Soares Nogueira, 32 Buarcos. I felt this museum is doing its first steps in consolidating its self-identity - although the exhibitions and artifacts, inside, gained several years of reputation and support:

Buarcos singer - 1933 - Núcleo Museológico do Mar:

We continue along the Praia de Buarcos (beach of Buarcos) until we arrive to Praça Mar Português:

This is the last point we see the ocean from a distance of metres. We turn, now, into the heart of modern Figueira da Foz - looking, in-depth in its residence suburbs, architecture and its commerce and habitation pulses. We turn right to Rua de Cima. Here is a picture of typical house:

Turn right (2nd. turn) to Rua Torre Eiffel. Then, left to Travessa da Torre Eifel. We are still in Buarcos. On your left a small church - Casa N. Srª dos Navegantes - the religious centre of Buarcos residents:

Turn left (east) to Rua S. Pedro. Look at the ceramic tile in house No. 68:

The ocean beach is not far from us, on our right (south). We cut to the south (right) in one of alleys (that diverge from Rua S. Pedro) - and arrive to Rua 5 de Outubro. We see the ocean, but, again, leave it on our back. We returned to the Rotunda dos Navigantes and, on our left is the Mercado Municipal. It is an interesting place during the morning hours. Now, presumably, during the afternoon hours - it is almost closed. Continue along Rua 5 de Outubro. Passing Largo Buarcos on our right - we arrive to a large intersection of 5-6 roads. Take the steepest road (...) and climb along Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas. In the beginning of this street you'll see (on your right) a pillar with names of various countries and on your left - a big palm tree. Along your climb - you see many nice-looking housing complexes (Condominios). They look, partially, empty and deserted. In the end of your climb, on the left, Pingo Doce supermarket:

On your right - you can see, among the high apartments towers, the Palacio Sotto Mayor - the main landmark of Figueira da Foz. The Palace is open to visitors, most of the year, ONLY by appointment and only for groups. See how the situation is today, before heading up there !. Beautiful gardens and a fantastic architecture. It is a Private property, was built by Joaquim Sotto Mayor in the early century. XX. It is a luxurious French-style villa, designed by Gaston Landeck, with sumptuous façade, integrating ample green space around. For interior decoration the designers hired some of the best artists of the time:  Dordio Gomes, Joaquim Lopes and António Ramalho.

In case - you give up: skip the following lines. The palace is located in Rua Joaquim Sotto Mayor which diverges right (south) from Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas. You can try to arrive to Palacio Sotto Mayor by turning RIGHT in the last intersection of Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas, before its end in Rotunda Engenheiro Coelho Jordão.

Anyway, when you arrive to a cross-lights in Rua Rancho das Cantarinhas - DO NOT TURN RIGHT. Continue direct (with the signposts pointing to Porto, Lisboa, Coimbra) until the end of the street - arriving to Rotunda Engenheiro Coelho Jordão. On your left Parque de Campismo. Turn right to Avenida de 1 Maio. On your right - Pavilaho Galamba Marques. Further, on your right soccer pitch. In the end of this street - you arrive to Rotunda 31 de Janeiro (a square with a sculpture). Turn and climb LEFT to Rua Doutora Cristina Torres. Cross two squares (the second is Rotunda Doutor José Nascimento Costa) and continue along Avenida Amália Rodrigues. This street slopes down. You get nice view on part of Figueira and on your right and left empty fields. Be careful. Several small sections without pavements. You arrive to Rotunda Maria Clara. Turn right to  Avenida Bissara Barreto (?) or Avenida Dom João Alves (?) and in the next square - take the most right road, a narrow commercial road, when, on your right is the Centro do Actividades. On your left - a parallel street: Ladeira Várzea. In the next square bend right - to face, in front of you - the railway station (you have to pass, first, the buses stations - before arrival to the railway station).

Walk in Old Coimbra - Day 2

Ariel Shafir


Coimbra - Day 2:

Orientation: The first part of this day - is a walk along the northern bank of the Mondego river (from north-west to south-east). The second part is walk and visit of several sites of old Coimbra along the southern bank of the Mondego river. The last part is visiting old Coimbra - north of the river around the Old University - in sites not covered during the first day.

Start: Largo da Portagem.

End: Praça 8 de Maio.

Distance: 16 km.

Duration: 1 day.

We start at the road along the Mondego river. On your left - Largo da Portagem. The triangular square/Largo is the main toll plaza and the city center of Coimbra, at the foot of the Ponte Santa Clara, on the beautiful riverbank of Coimbra's Baixa (Lower Town) district. The Civil Government of the District of Coimbra and the Baixo Mondego Intermunicipal Community is located in a large building near the square. The name means place of the gateway, presumably a gateway to the main city. The name of this square is due to the fact that, here, were formerly raised taxes on goods arriving to Coimbra. In this square is one of the architectural symbols of the city of Coimbra, Hotel Astoria built in 1926 and the building of the Bank of Portugal in Coimbra, both of Adães Bermudez. The statue is of Joaquim António de Aguiar with pen in hand, representing the signing in 1833 of a decree banning religious orders throughout Portugal (the result of an anticlerical liberalism that had infused political thought throughout Europe at the time). Connected to the toll of Largo is the main street of the Lower Town, Ferreira Borges Street, a street that is currently closed to traffic and where there are all kinds of traditional commerce, with cafés and shops.

On your right Ponte de Santa Clara and the Mondego river and we head south-east:

It is a splendid walk along the river Coimbra - along the Mondego river (walking to the south-east, and later, eastward). If you're spending a long time in Coimbra it would be worth going for a little wander. A great place outdoor, hiking, reading, picnic, walks, enjoy nature and the setting of the sun on the Mondego. On your left Parque Dr. Manuel Braga and IBIS hotel and Old Coimbra houses nestled into and climbing up along the steep hill overlooking the river:

Further south-east you'll see, on your left, old wooden boats and a gorgeous shop of antiquities:

Continue walking and arrive to a wooden deck small pier. Descend the stairs and you face cafe's, umbrellas and chairs along the river front. Further, on your left playground for children with a sculpture of a bear:

We continue walking eastward along the wooden-deck path bending more distant from the river. On our right a pedestrian bride (ponte pedonal) - Ponte Pedro e Inês with colored-glass pieces decorating its railings. The form "pushes" the limits of structural dynamics. The design is created from two cantilevered walkways, joining in the middle to form a viewing platform. Each walkway is responsible for supporting the other - the two halves are displaced, giving the visual effect of a bridge that does not meet. The bridge, "appears at first glimpse to be impossible," as stated by a local magazine. The balustrade is made from a clear, fractal pattern crafted in colored blue, pink, green and yellow glass. Very interesting and stunning piece of architecture bridge. This bridge is particularly beautiful at night:

Further east, along the Mondego river, on your left (the path is now asphalted) - the Exploration - Centro Ciência Viva: the first interactive science center in the country. Formed in 1995 as non-profit association, was the main founding members Coimbra University and its Faculty of Sciences and Technology, and the Municipal House of Culture of Coimbra as host. Opened to the public in November of the same year, with the exhibition "Chance in Science", which was, at the time, with the support of the European Science Week. In 1998 it was integrated in Live Science centers network and in 2000, recognized as a public utility. You see pavilions with interactive explanations on: plants, flowers, astronomy etc'.  Continue along the river until Pavilhão Centro de Portugal. Designed by architect Siza Vieira and Souto Moura, for Expo 2000, held in Hannover (Germany), the Centre of Portugal Pavilion, on the right bank of the Mondego Green Park, covers an area of 1,375 square meters, hosting exhibitions, concerts and other events of a cultural nature.

From here the path is blocked and you are unable to continue east. True, there is further east another bridge Ponte Rainha Santa Isabel Quinta das Varandas. BUT, this is very dangerous to walk over the bridge. NO ACCESS FOR PEDESTRIANS.

We RETURN westward, along the river, with our face to the west - until we arrive, again, to the colored-glasses Ponte Pedro e Inês. Here, we CROSS the footbridge to the SOUTHERN (or better, WESTERN) BANK of the river. On the west side of the river - we land upon Parque do Choupalinho.

Now our direction is north. We walk until we arrive to Ponte Santa. The Santa Clara Bridge, is a road bridge and its construction began in 1951 and was inaugurated on October 30, 1954, by the then President of the Council António de Oliveira Salazar. Its construction allowed the replacement of the old iron bridge which began construction in 1873 and opened to the public in 1875, and that in turn had replaced the old stone bridge dated 1513 allowed the continuation of the connection between Santa Clara and the city center (the toll Largo) and the remaining Lower Town. Arriving near the bridge, sharp left onto Av. João das Regras
220 m., Turn left onto R. de Baixo, take the stairs, 32 m. and Continue straight onto R. Baixo and the ruins of  Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Rua das Parreiras) are on your left. The monastery was built in the 14th century on the south bank of the Mondego River, but had to be abandoned in the 17th century due to frequent floods. The well-preserved Gothic ruins of the monastery were excavated in the late 20th century, more than 300 years after being abandoned by the nuns. The ruined church recently reopened to the public after 12 years of restorations with a new visitor center. During the centuries the monastery and church were decorated with religious works of art that are now dispersed. The Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Nova, to which the nuns were relocated in the 17th century, houses three Gothic tombs which were also relocated from Santa Clara-a-Velha, including that of Queen Isabel. Her tomb, dated from circa 1330, displays her full-size recumbent figure over the lid and is by Aragonese sculptor Mestre Pero. Many works of art of the monastery are now in the Machado de Castro Museum in Coimbra. Painted altarpieces include a triptych of circa 1486 about the life of Clare of Assisi and a painted triptych commissioned to Flemish painter Quentin Metsys in 1517. Others pieces of sculpture and metalwork in the museum testify to the wealth and prestige of the monastery. The Museum has 2 excellent films about the sisters/nuns and local religious history, their struggle to create the Convent (this Convent suffered from flooding from the River Mondego over three centuries and the nuns of Santa Clara were eventually forced to move to an uphill site further away from the river to Santa Clara-A-Nova) and the story of the restoration. Plus an excellent exhibit concerning the religious life of the convent and local history. Also quite a good cafe' with special pastry traditional to the convent. Be aware the whole monastery is in a sheltered spot and will get very hot in the summer months - so hat and water are recommended. Adult - 5 euros, senior - 3 euros:

Entrance of Santa Clara Velha in Coimbra:

History of the monastery and artefacts revealed in its premises:

Tapestries exhibition in the monastery:

View of the Old city and the University of Coimbra from Moistero Santa Clara-a-Velha:

Head north on R. Baixo, 40 m. Turn left to stay on R. Baixo, 31 m. Turn right onto Rua António Augusto Gonçalves, 24 m. Turn left onto Av. João das Regras/N1, 29 m. Turn left and see the entrance and tickets office of Portugal in Miniature (5 minutes walk from the monastery). The Portugal dos Pequeninos Theme Park, a miniature village established in 1940, with reproductions of the country's most important buildings and of typical houses and buildings from the former colonies. This recreational-educational park was designed primarily to Children. Live picture of "Portugality" and Portuguese presence in the world, Portugal for the Little Ones is today a historical and pedagogical framework of many generations. Besides being a space approximation of intersection between cultures and peoples, Portugal for the Little Ones is also a qualified show of sculptural and architectural arts. You can see, here, miniatures of important historic buildings in Portugal along with various types of typical buildings existing in the country. You can also see small museums with collections of dolls and miniature furnished houses , collections of handicrafts from Portugal's past overseas colonies like Angola, Brazil, Guinea, Macau, Moçambique, Timor etc'. Opening hours: from 01 JAN to 28/29 of FEB and from 16 of OCT to 31 of DEC - 10.00 - 17.00. From 01 of MAR to 31 of MAY and from 16 of SEP to 15 of OCT - 10.00 - 19.00. Admission prices: Adults (from 14 to 64) 8,95 €,  Seniors ( >=65) 5,95 €, Family (2 adults and 2 children 3-13) 25,95 €. Pictures from Coimbra - Portugal dos Pequeninos - Portugal in Miniature - see Tip below.

From the ortugal dos Pequeninos theme park it is 600 m. walk to Ponte de Santa Clara. Head north toward Av. João das Regras, 6 m. Turn right onto Av. João das Regras and walk along the street 350 m. Slight left onto Av. Conimbriga, 59 m. Sharp right to stay on Av. Conimbriga, 39 m. Av. Conimbriga turns left and becomes Ponte de Santa Clara. On your right - Praça da Canção. In front of you the University of Coimbra hill. Here, you get perspective which comes from stepping away, crossing the Mondego on the Santa Clara Bridge, walking downstream, and looking back at the town from a distance. The view is stunning:

After crossing the bridge/street - you arrive, again, to Largo da Portagem. With your face to the square descend the stairs on your left to have dinner in the modest MAFFA restaurant/bar. See Tip below.

Walk north along Rua Ferreira Borges. On the first turn - turn RIGHT (north-east) to Rua de Corpo de Deus. We climb along this road, when, on our left is Igreja de Sant Tiago:

In the middle of Rua de Corpo de Deus, on your left, is a charming view of the old and new city. Downstairs is the Mercado Dom Pedro V - the municipal market:

In the point which stands a telephone cabin and you see, in front, a signpost of "Monumentos" turn sharply RIGHT to Rua Colégio Novo (high wall on your left). Walking further up along Rua Colégio Novo - you arrive to an intersection where Couraça dos Apóstolos is on your left. Continue along the walls of the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences (Sao Augustino College). On your left decaying houses with broken windows.
Continue climbing up along Rua Colégio Novo until you arrive to the intersection with Rua Sobre Ribas. Turn right to Rua Sobre Ribas to have a look at the Torre do Prior do Ameal or Torre de Anto (Anto Tower). Currently Handicrafts House and declared as National Monument since 1935. Step to the end of the white terrace to get a full view of the tower and the wide wonderful sight around:

Continue to descend along Rua Sobre Ribas. The road bends left sloping down steeply. Pass the arch and you arrive to the Torre da Contenda - Quarrel Tower. This tower was sold to João Vaz at the beginning of the 16th century (1514). Who built a palace ("Paço de Sobre Ripas") partly over the old tower and also constructed the arch which connects the residence to dwellings on the other side of the street. this later became a residence with renaissance decoration:

Walk further a few steps to see houses numbers 27 - 33 in red and yellow:

Return to Rua Sobre Ribas and now climb up direct (NOT TO THE RIGHT) with the signpost pointing to "Igreja S.Salvador, Museu Machdo Castro". A good chance for breeze. Pass under the arch. DO NOT BEND LEFT TO Rua Joao Jacinto and bend RIGHT to Rua da Boa Vista. Bend right, then, left and you face the graffiti:

Now you descend to Rua do Cabido. If you bend, again, to the right - you'll arrive to the Old Cathdral - Se' Velha. But, you have to bend UPWARD to the LEFT (!!!).  On your right a white building with the Loggia restaurant. On your left - Travessa de S. Salvador. In front of you - a spectacular view of old Coimbra with the University and the Old Cathedral:

Continue to climb along Rua do Cabido. On your left - Largo Sant Salvador:

On your right a door with magnificent portico:

In the end of the exhausting climb of Rua do Cabido - on your right: Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, adjacent to Igreja (church) San Salvador and, in the background, the Se' Nova (New Cathedral):

Spectacular views, majestic buildings and grandeur all around. Do not stop here ! Continue to climb to the white-glowing square opposite the New Cathedral - Largo de Se' Nova / Largo da Feira dos Estudiantes which has been considerably enlarged in recent years. The square is richly adorned with large-sclae reliefs.

Mors - Death:

Vita - Life:

The Se' Nova (New Cathedral) stands, boastfully, in the north side of the square. The New Cathedral was, originally, the church of the Jesuit Formation house of Coimbra, established in the city in 1543. In 1759, the Jesuit Order was banned from Portugal by the Marquis of Pombal, Prime-Minister of king Joao I. In 1772, the bishopric seat was transferred from the old Romanesque Cathedral of the city (now called the Old Cathedral of Coimbra) to the vacant, spacious and more modern Jesuit church. The niches of the façade of the New Cathedral carry statues of four Jesuit saints. The Baroque decoration of the upper part of the façade, finished in the beginning of the 18th century, contrasts with the lower part, which follows a rigid Mannerist style. The church has two bell towers located just behind the main façade and a dome over the crossing. You will be asked on the entrance to pay one Euro pro person (as donation to help to maintain the Sé Nova).

The interior, covered with barrel vaulting, has one nave with several lateral chapels and a transept with a dome and cupola. Both transept arms and the main chapel of the apse are decorated with huge, magnificent gilt wood altarpieces built between the 17th and 18th centuries which are fine examples of the so-called "national" Portuguese artarpiece style. The lateral chapels of the nave have altarpieces in Mannerist and Baroque styles. The 17th-century choir stalls of the main chapel were brought from the Old Cathedral, as well as the beautiful stone baptismal font, carved by Pero and Felipe Henriques in late Gothic-manueline style in the beginning of the 16th century:

Descend back (west) to Museu Nacional de Machado de Castro, Largo Doutor José Rodrigues.

Founded in 1911, the Museum opened its doors to the public on the 11th October 1913 being raised to the status of a national museum in 1960. At present it is under the direction of the Instituto dos Museus e da Conservação (Ministério da Cultura). Joaquim Machado de Castro (1731-1822) was born in Coimbra and was one of the most well-known sculptors of the Portuguese Baroque working throughout the reigns of Don José, Dona Maria I and Don João VI. It is one of the most important art museums in Portugal, and is housed in the former Bishop's Palace . During the Middle Ages, this palace was built over the Roman forum of Aeminium (Roman name of Coimbra) and nowadays its remains can be visited on the lower floors of the museum. The bulk of the museum's collection is made up of items from churches and religious institutions in the area surrounding Coimbra. The collections of sculpture (the most extensive of all the national museums of Portugal), painting, precious metals, ceramics and textiles are especially noteworthy. A famous restaurant, Loggia, is situated in the Museum exterior courtyard. The museum was one of the finalists in the "Premier European Museums" competion for year 2013. Entrance fees: Adult - 6 euros, senior (65+) - 3 euros.

Loggia - the courtyard:

The Last Supper" by Hodart, "essential work in the history of Portuguese sculpture":

Deposition in the Tomb (XVI century) of Joao de Rouen:

Roman Crypt - underneath the Museum:

Leave the museum and walk west along Rua Borges Carneiro, and, later, Largo Sé Velha. Turn left to Ruas Ilha. From here turn back to catch pretty sun-glowing sights of the Se' Velha (Old Cathedral):

You have good opportunity to see the Se' Velha under the afternoon sun (coming from the west):

From the Old Cathedral we walk back to the heart of the Old City - passing several sites - visited in Day 1. Head west on Largo Sé Velha toward R. Coutinhos, 29 m. Slight right onto R. de Quebra Costas.
Take the stairs, 33 m. Slight left onto R. Quebra Costas, 62 m. Turn right onto R. do Arco Almedina. Take the stairs, 120 m. Continue onto R. Visc. da Luz, 130 m. Continue onto Praça 8 de Maio, 98 m. Turn left onto R. Sofia, 190 m. Turn left onto R. Carmo to see the Church of Our lady, Mount Carmel in Rua Sofia. Opposite the church - there is a branch of Pingo Doce supermarkets.

Return to Praça 8 de Maio - our final destination.

Walk in Old Coimbra - Day 1.

Ariel Shafir


Coimbra - Day 1:

Main Attractions: Coimbra B railway station, Praça do Comércio, Church of São Tiago, Church of São Bartolomeu, Largo da Portagem, Arco de Almedina, Torre de Almedina, Old Cathedral of Coimbra, Largo de Porta Ferrea, University of Coimbra (Porta Férrea, Via Latina, Páco das Escolas, University Tower, Sala dos Capelos (and Private Examination Room and Arms Room), Academic Prison, Saint Michael's Chapel and Joanine Library), Largo Dom Dinis, Coimbra city walls, Coimbra Botanical Gardens, Jardim de Sereia, Praca da Republica, Jardim de Avenida Sá da Bandeira, Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes with its Azulejos, Jardim da Manga, Municipal Museum, Santa Cruz Monastery.

Duration: 1 busy day.

Start: Coimbra B railway station.

End: Praca 8 de Maio (8 minutes walk from Coimbra B).

Distance: 14 km.

First of all - Coimbra is pronounced as Ko-EEM-bra. The country’s third-largest city, Coimbra lies at the centre of an agricultural region and has a large market. Perched on a hill overlooking the Rio Mondego, Coimbra is surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful countryside. The city itself is a mixture of ancient and new, rural and urban.

Coimbra is sort of the Oxford or Cambridge of Portugal —the home of its most venerable university. Coimbra, the former capital of Portugal is 50km. from the Atlantic, and two hours north of Lisbon. From Lisbon  Oriente station: two trains per hour leave for Coimbra, taking two hours or the slower ones - two hours 20 minutes. All trains from Portugal and Lisbon stop in Coimbra-B, a station far from the city center. Your ticket includes a 5-minute connection to Coimbra-A, the station in downtown Coimbra.

The bus station is located at Av. Fernão de Magalhães and is easily reached by local bus or on foot (a long walk{10 minutes} to city center). It has destinations for all of Portugal (with changes for some far away destinations), and it's faster and fares are normally cheaper than the train.

With your back to Coimbra B railway station -

opposite us is Rua Antonio Granjo.We cross this road and Largo das Ameias. On our right is Hotel Mondego and on our left is Hotel Braganca. We cross (cross-lights) Avenida Fernão de Magalhães and enter narrow Rua Adelino Veiga. This road is typical to the Baixa (downtown) of Coimbra: pebbled-roads, blooming containers of flowers in the entrance of every shop and window. Down by the river is Coimbra's "Baixa" (downtown), the commercial heart of the city, with lively cafes, pastry shops, restaurants, boutiques, and other shops leading to the Comercio Square. In the end of Rua Adelino Veiga (and turning, a bit, to the right, east) we arrive to the Praça do Comércio. A beautiful, spacious square in the heart of the historical center of Coimbra. It is entirely closed to traffic, a very nice and easy to get to and accessible pedestrian area.
There's a large number of great cafe's all with, of course, tables outside too. Many bars, restaurants and a pub with outdoor tables and umbrellas. Once a month in the square there is the Feira de Flea Market with exposure of Coimbra. The square, which at one time was also called Praça de São Bartolomeu and Praça Velha, owes its name to the 'intense trade activity' that took place here, until the last century, before the creation of the new Mercado Dom Pedro V (see later). The square , is irregularly shaped oblong, full with character and potential, BUT, shows clear signs of economic decay:

As you end Rua Adelino Veiga, opposite,In a corner of Comercio square is the Church of São Tiago (Saint James), with a plain 12th-century façade, but in its interior is an exuberant Rococo alterpiece in gilded wood. Note the beautiful capitals decorating its portals. This Church is very small. Most of the time it is closed.

Another church, at the end of the square,  is the Baroque Church of São Bartolomeu. This modest but beautiful church located in the historic center of Coimbra in the main street Rua dos Esteireiros, in Largo de Portagem. Very nice facade although it would need a light restoration. The church was built in the 10th century and reconstructed in the 12th and 18th centuries. The reconstruction in the 12th century turned it into a Romanesque church. Today the church has the Baroque look. The façade has two bell towers, one on each side of the main door. There is one nave in the church. The main altarpiece is gilded and is Baroque. In the back you can see some Medieval houses:

Above it is a large painting of the martyrdom of St. Bartholomew and was painted by the Italian artist Pasquale Parente. On the Gospel side there is a Mannerist altarpiece from the 16th century with a painting showing the death and resurrection of Christ:

There are Sanitarios in the Praca Comercio (the east side, in the direction of Largo de Portagem).

The Baixa, the downtown neighborhood. It is a steep, exhausting but walkable uphill climb from there to the Alta, where the University campus sits. In general, Coimbra is a very steep city, and visiting the old quarter is hard. You may use the elevator that stands right behind the market (quite distant from where we are now...) to go up, and make your visit from top to base. It's cheap and comfortable:

Another mean of transportaion: From Coimbra B train station take Trolleybus No. 1, it stops next to the Library. From Coimbra A (you will have to change there) in case the connecting train just left - take bus No. 5 or 25 to Praca de Republica (near the University).

We shall climb to the Alta Cidade - on foot. I suggest to go to the University on foot. it's a great experience to walk along the narrow and cobbled streets. I know that it's quite steep, but it's not a long way. Furthermore, in between, there are some wonderful sights to visit. Both areas (Baixa and Alta) are graced with narrow, winding streets, though the Alta is mostly taken up by University buildings and graffiti-covered student housing, whereas the Baixa is loaded with shops, restaurants and other commercial activity. Ancient churches, picturesque plazas and the nearly total lack of international chain stores can make both areas feel like the 1950s — or the 1590s...

If our back is to Largo da Portagem we turn RIGHT along the stairs (east) to Escadas de sao Bartolomeu. If our back is to Church of São Tiago and the start of Praca do Comercio (where we came from) - turn LEFT (east) along the stairs to Escadas de sao Bartolomeu. In the end of the Escadas, if you cannot resist, turn right and walk along Rua Ferreira Borges until you arrive to the Largo da Portagem. The Largo da Portagem is located down by the river and is the place where various means of transportaion of the city pass by. Many municipal buses seem to go there, including the Yellow Bus tourist bus that takes an hour tour of the city. You can do a river boat tour from there. The main shopping street (Rua Ferreira Borges) is there too. There are a many restaurants in the Largo itself, offering a wide variety of things. They're not all budget ones, but they are useful if you want a quick rest and a snack. Recommended for a little stop and a drink in one of the cafes outside, perfect for soaking up a bit of sun and taking a rest (before we climb to the Alta Cidade). Pleasant classic music from the loudspeakers around:

Retrace your steps and walk back along Rua Ferreira Borges and turn right (in the first turn to the right) (there is a signpost - "Universidade, Zona Monumental) to the Arco de Almedina. The city of Coimbra had a fence walls, dating back to the sixth century, furnished with several watchtowers. Arco de Almedina was one of the main entrances to the city. The Almedina Arch and the lofty lookout tower formed part of the complex defense of this old city. It is assumed that this arch was built during the reign of King Afonso III and Dinis. The entrance to the ancient, upper town (once both a Jewish and Moorish quarter), is, mainly, through the Arco de Almedina. Steps lead (on your left) (DO NOT TURN LEFT along these steps)up to the Torre de Anto, a 16th century tower that now houses an arts and crafts gallery. Here are also houses called "Republicas" where the university students live, just as they have for centuries. We shall return to Torre de Anto in another day's blog.

Two-three minutes of climb behind the arch - you see, on your left the Torre de Almedina. Opposite it stands this sculpture:

This was possibly one of the most imposing towers on the perimeter of the wall, due to its strategic importance, since they constitute the most important access, civil and military, to the city. It may date back to the time of Count Sesnando Davides who conquered Coimbra in 1064, having been over the centuries repeatedly renovated and refurbished. Its present appearance may be the result of a reconstruction in the early sixteenth century by order of Manuel I of Portugal. On the outside of the arc you see the oldest heraldic coat-of-arms of Coimbra and bas-relief of the thirteenth century made ​​by a serpent and a lion. The Almedina Tower is divided into two floors and looks robust as one stone unit. The upper part of the tower is torn by barred windows with columns. One reaches the exterior door by a steep stone staircase outside. Internally, the first and second floors are connected by a narrow staircase masonry.
Previous building was added in 1541 in order to settle there the Town Hall. It had been known then as the Tower of Appeal. From 1878 worked at the site the Free School of Arts of Design, under the guidance of António Augusto Gonçalves. Currently, and after various interventions of restoration and conservation, the tower houses the Municipal Historical Archive. Adult - 1.80€, senior - 1.20€.

The Baixa Cidade of Coimbra from Torre de Almedina windows:

Torre de Almedina interior (Recoltar Palarras organization - Alice Cardoso):

From Torre de Almedina climb a few steps to Rua Quebra Costas (in Portuguese: Backbone breaker...) and take a photo of this sculpture:

Continue to climb along Rua Quebra Costas. Arriving to an intersection - turn RIGHT (signpost: Munumentos Universidade). Climb the stairs (on your right - resthouse) and you arrive to Largo da Se' Velha.

Here stands the Se' Velha de Coimbra - the Old Cathedral of Coimbra. Entrance fees: €2, Opening hours: Mon–Thu and Sat. 10.00 – 18.00, Fri. 10.00 - 16.00. It is one of the most important Romanesque Roman Catholic buildings in Portugal. The Sé Velha (Old Cathedral), renovated in the 20th century, was built between 1162 and 1184. It served as a cathedral until 1772, when the episcopal see was moved to the Sé Nova. Construction of the Sé Velha began some time after the Battle of Ourique (1139), when Count Afonso Henriques declared himself King of Portugal and chose Coimbra as capital. The first Count of Coimbra, the Mozarab Sisnando Davides, is buried in the cathedral. Coimbra Cathedral is the only one of the Portuguese Romanesque cathedrals from the Reconquista times to have survived relatively intact up to the present. From the outside, Coimbra's old cathedral looks like a small fortress. The fortress look is common to the cathedrals of that time and can be explained with the battle time that was taking place at that time. There is a tower-like structure in the middle of the western façade with a portal and a similar-looking upper window.

The most notable aspect of the Romanesque decoration of the Old Cathedral is the large number of sculpted capitals (around 380), which make of the monument one of the main Romanesque sculpture nucleus in Portugal. The main decorative motifs are vegetal and geometric interlacements and reveal Arab and pre-romanesque influences, but there are also pairs of quadrupeds (including centaurs) or birds facing each other. There are practically no human representations, and no Biblical scenes.

The north façade has a remarkable, although eroded, Renaissance-style portal called the Porta Especiosa:

The exterior doesn't give you any indication of the beautiful carvings and sculpture that await inside. The interior of the cathedral has a nave with two aisles, a small transept, and an eastern apse with three chapels. All columns of the interior have decorated capitals, mainly with vegetable motifs, but also with animals and geometric patterns. The windows of the lantern-tower and the big window in the west facade are the main sources of natural light of the cathedral. The cloister, built during the reign of Afonso II (early 13th century), is a work of the transition between Romanesque and Gothic. Each of the Gothic pointed arches that face the courtyard encompass two twin round arches in Romanesque style. The intricate Gothic altar within is of gilded wood, created by two Flemish masters in the 15th and 16th centuries. Sancho I was crowned king here in 1185, and João I in 1385. There are several tombs in the cathedral, including those of the 13th-century Bishop Dom Egas Fafe (to the left of the altar) and Dona Vetaça, a Byzantine princess who was a governess in the Coimbra court in the 14th century. Inside the highlights are a number of fine tombs, a large Late Gothic altar, and a Renaissance font. From the south aisles, a flight of steps leads up to the Early Gothic 13th century cloister:

From the Old Cathedral climb and zig-zag with Rua da Ilha (south to the Cathedral). Look backward to the the Se' (cathedral) turrets:

All twisting roads around - are pebbled. The road continues with a light slope downward. You arrive to a signpost pointing to: Universidade, Museu machado castro, Se' Nova. Continue to climb along Rua da Ilha. On your left an asphalted road. You can choose to climb along this asphalted road - just to have a marvelous view over the city roofs:

Trace back, return and turn left to Rua da Ilha and climb up. Look at the typical roofs of the old buildings around:

Continue up along this road that changes its name to: Rua Doutor Guilherme and Rua José Falcão. Turn left (road without name) and you arrive to Largo de Porta Ferrea / Ferrera. In 1544, it was the Paço das Escolas which agglutinated all the Faculties of the University of Coimbra, after the final accommodation of the University in this city in 1537. I stress the point that Largo de Porta Ferrera (Ferrea) is the square OUT of the University walls. You enter the University courtyard / Páco das Escolas (Patio of the Schools) through the Iron Gate Porta Ferrera. Unbelievable magnificent square.

The whole site of the University of Coimbra is reported in a subordinate Tip to this itinerary.

We leave the Páco das Escolas from the its entrance through the Porta de Ferrea and walk east, crossing the Largo de Porta Ferrea eastward. we walk along Rua Larga and arrive to Largo Dom Dinis - a large roundabout with a statue in the middle: the Monument to D. Dinis (King of Portugal from 1279 to 1325). It is located in Largo D. Dinis on the alignment of the "Iron Gate", which is separated by a wide avenue:

On our right is the University building of the Dept. of Mathematics. Several steps forward and you see the Escadas Monumentais (Monumental Stairs), Coimbra walls and city's red roofs:

From Largo Dom Dinis (Diniz) we turn right in 45 degrees, south-east to Calçada Martim de Freitas and walk along Coimbra city walls on your right:

You pass, on your right, the Instituto Botanico and, immediately further,  under a 16th century aqueduct, is the entrance to the Botanical Gardens, Portugal's largest, created in 1772. There is a combination of flowerbeds (a remarkable collection of some 1200 plants, including many rare and exotic species), meandering paths, and elegant fountains.

Arcos do Jardim - Botanical Garden Viaduct:

A corner memorizing Luis Carrisso Martim de Freitas:

The 19th-century mansion nearby is the House-Museum of Bissaya Barreto, who was a local surgeon. The house was converted into a museum with Portuguese sculpture and painting, Chinese porcelain, old tiles, period furniture, and more.

I recommend exiting the Botanical Garden from its main entrance in Calçada Martim de Freitas. In case you exit the garden in the western exit, walk around the garden and arrive to Calçada Martim de Freitas. Walk eastward along Calçada Martim de Freitas until you arrive to an extensive square - Largo João Paulo II:

We continue, from the north-east corner of the square to Rua de Tomar. On your left, you pass Rua Almeida Garrett and we enter Park santa Cruz or Jardim de Sereia. In the eighteenth century, the Incarnation D. Gaspar promoted the garden's arrangement, making it a recreational space, having been built around the playground (the Pella) and, simultaneously, a garden of rest and meditation in Baroque style. The formal entrance to the garden is made from the Republic Square (the opposite direction of our entry). From the back exit - we turn LEFT (WEST) into the garden. Descending the stairs, we find the Fountain of Nogueira with a statue representing a merman opening his mouth to a dolphin, where the water runs to the source, which explains the popular designation of the garden "Mermaid":

We exit the garden from the Republic Square (Praca da Republica). It presents three statues representing Faith, Hope and Charity, culminating in a cascade. The entrance, consists of a large arches as a quite huge gate. These arches are finely carved and artistically are quite fascinating, and within this park you can admire notable architectural works similar spread all around. There is a Tourist Information office in the Republic Square. We continue from the north-west corner of the square - along Avenida Sá da Bandeira and the Jardim de Avenida Sá da Bandeira admiring the manicured gardening cells, statues spread along the avenue and fountains. On your right - the Golden Shopping Centre.

The most remarkable statue is the one in memorial to the WW I:

You continue walking westward along Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes and the University of Coimbra hill is on your left. Mercado (the municipal Market) Dom Pedro V is also on your left, a bit further to the west. If you look on your right - you see a low wall with wonderful cermaic tiles (Azulejos) of various sites in Coimbra (just before, east to, Escola Secundária Jaime Cortesão):

(Azulejos) of Mosteiro de Santa Clara - a -Velha:

Azulejo of Igreja de Sao Tiago:

Azulejo of Arco de Almedina:

Further west, on your left is Jardim da Manga. Manga Garden is also known as the Cloister Manga. This public area is located at the rear of the Monastery of Santa Cruz, in downtown. It is one of the first fully Renaissance architectural works made ​​in Portugal and its structure is evocative of the Fountain of Life. It dates back to ancient source of Manga, the Monastery of Santa Cruz, belonging to the monks of the Order of St. Augustine, built in 1528. The garden is dominated by a building, that contains dome and a source, connected to four small chapels and small lakes. The whole site Is classified as a National Monument since 1934. The central building is In Renaissance style and characterized by a central dome-shaped body, resting on eight columns and surrounded by four small chapels. Noteworthy are the water games inspired by Moorish architecture:

A few steps further, on the left (south) side of the Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes street - you can visit a charming exhibition, in the Sala de Cidade (Municipal Museum)  on the history, past and present of Coimbra with many "oldies" - photos from the past of Coimbra (the lion's share from 50-60 years ago):

In my visit in the Sala de Cidade at July 2014 I enjoyed the photos (temporary exhibition) of Varela Pe'curto. A bit further, still on the southern side of Rua Olímpio Nicolau Rui Fernandes  stands Santa Cruz Monastery (Moistero Santa Cruz), Rua Martins de Carvalho 3 - the next, and last (for today) attraction. It is a National Monument in Coimbra and Portugal. Because the first two kings of Portugal are buried in the church it was granted the status of National Pantheon. Founded in 1131 outside the protecting walls of Coimbra, the Santa Cruz Monastery was the most important monastic house during the early days of the Portuguese monarchy. The monastery and church were erected between 1132 and 1223. Its school, with its vast library, was highly respected in medieval times and was a meeting point for the intellectual and power elites. Its scriptorium was used for the consolidation of royal power by King Afonso Henriques, thus it was not considered strange that he decided to be buried there. Nothing remains of the early Romanesque monastery. It is known that it had only one nave and a high tower in the façade, as typical of the Augustinian-Romanesque constructions, but none of those elements subsisted. In the first half of the 16th century, the Monastery was completely renovated by King Manuel's order. The main portal, built between 1522 and 1525 under Chanterene, is the most emblematic piece of the whole monastic ensemble, harmonising the artistic elements of the Manueline with other features from Renaissance inspiration. Through the whole 16th century, worked at Santa Cruz de Coimbra the most respected architects, sculptors and painters, such as Diogo de Castilho, Machim and Jean of Rouen, Cristóvão de Figueiredo and Vasco Fernandes besides the already mentioned Chanterene, Boytac and Diogo Pires the Younger. It is also called the National Pantheon because the first two kings of Portugal are buried there. These kings are Afonso Henriques and his successor, Sancho I (the conqueror and inhabitant – first and second kings of Portugal). Their tombs were created by Nicolau Chanterene, and these were done in 1530. The tombs are on both sides of the main altar - so you cannot visit this part of the church while a religious service is taking place. You can enter the main part for free but for 2.50 euro you can see the sacristy and much more.

The square opposite the main entrance of the monastery is Praca 8 de Maio:

The Monumental entrance. The portal was constructed in 1522 by Diogo de Castilla, with sculptures from Nicolau de Chanterene. There are three sculptures in the central part by Joao de Ruao, and these are the Prophet, King David, and Our Lady. The Baroque triumphal arch came later from the hand of the priest Jose do Couto.

Inside the Monastery - walls are decorated with “Azulejos” or hand painted stone tiles. They are from the 17th century:

Baroque pipe organ of the 18th century inside the Monastery of Santa Cruz. The organ is the work of Manuel Brito Gomez Herrera and was finished in 1724:

After you have visited this all, by leaving the church of Santa Cruz, turn to your left and have a nice cold beer or something else in the café Santa Cruz on the side.

Another Coimbra tradition is Fado, a more serious cousin of the Lisbon variety. The sombre Coimbra Fado theoretically requires you to clear your throat in approval after a rendition, and not applaud. It is performed only by men, often cloak-wrapped graduates of the university. Fado is native to Portugal and is best described as traditional Portuguese urban folk music. It is based on classical poems and grew out of the oral tradition hundreds of years ago in Lisbon. Two main branches have developed. Both usually consist of two acoustic guitarists and a vocalist. The Lisbon branch has a female vocalist, while the Coimbra branch features a male vocalist. Queima das Fitas, the May festival, is the best time to take in local Fado. But there are several spots that function as performance venues year-round. The best are usually free: the no-cover Café Santa Cruz, in Baixa, housed since 1923 under the vaulted ceilings that used to be part of the adjacent 16th-century church and monastery.

Walk in Lisbon - Parque das Nações.

Ariel Shafir


Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations):

Start & End: Oriente Metro station.

Distance: 7-8 km.

Weather: perfect destination for a cloudy, gloomy or, even, little rainy day. If the day is very hot - go early and spend the first half of the day in this area. Good chance for ocean breeze.

Tips: No high heels and no sandals in this itinerary. Walking/stepping on wooden bridges and (on our way to the Oceanario) on slotted wooden plates - please use steady-state sneakers or sportive shoes. BRing umbrella if there is even a slight chance of rain. There will be no shelter in most of our route.

Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) is a leisure, commercial, and residential area since the 1998 World Exposition. It covers an extensive area in northeastern Lisbon next to the Tagus estuary, formerly used for mainly industrial purposes. The area underwent a tremendous transformation in the 1990s when it was chosen as the location for the World Exhibition. After the exhibition, the area got its current name (the Portuguese still refer to it as "Expo"), and more transformations occurred such as the new Vasco da Gama shopping mall, the Lisbon's International Fair complex, hotels and many new bars, restaurants, office and residential buildings. Many attractions built for the Expo '98 remained and keep drawing visitors, such as the Oceanarium, one of the world's biggest aquariums. In terms of culture, several facilities must be highlighted: the Pavilhão de Portugal (Portugal Pavilion), the Pavilhão Atlântico (Atlantic Pavilion), the Oceanário (Oceanarium), the Área Internacional (International Area), which became the Feira Internacional de Lisboa exhibition centre, and the Estação do Oriente train station. Taking advantage of its geographical position, Parque das Nações also have a brand new Marina, Marina Parque das Nações featuring 600 berths and modern infrastructures, a river pier for cruises or historical vessels. It is also a spot for bird watching as it is sited in the Tagus Estuary, one of the largest and diverse estuaries of Europe. Today, the Parque das Nações is a lively, dynamic and multipurpose space. It is the brand of contemporary Lisboa, a place where the city’s inhabitants have fun, enjoy shows, go for a walk, play sport, shop, work and live in quality and tranquility.

Oriente Metro and Train station: One of the most stunning modern sights in Lisbon is Oriente Station. It was built by master architect Santiago Calatrava with a roof of glass and steel made to look like a row of trees. Upon arrival at the Parque das Nações, it is impossible not to notice the work of the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The Oriente station dominates the view, serving as an element of urban order, majestic, and includes a bus terminal, car park, underground station, train station and shopping gallery. The entrance to the metro platform has huge tile murals designed by some of the best local contemporary artists. The station will soon be expanded to become the main terminal of the high speed train service planned for Lisbon, and as the city's first stop for the train arriving from the future Lisbon Airport to be built across the river:

Torre São Gabriel:

subway art:

Vasco da Gama shopping mall:

Towers of offices named after two of Vasco da Gama's ships, São Gabriel and São Rafael:

Pavilion of Knowledge - Ciência Viva. It is an interactive science and technology museum. Mainly games-based, its exhibitions and activities allow children to explore a variety of themes in an interactive and fun way. The “Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva” was designed by the architect João Luís Carrilho da Graça and awarded with the Grand Prize of the FAD Jury in 1999 and it is an emblematic building, representative of the architectural shift that took place with EXPO’98. With an average of 800 visitors a day the “Pavilhão do Conhecimento – Ciência Viva” is nowadays one of Portugal’s most visited museums.

Pavilhão Atlântico - The great hall of Lisboa (Arena): The Pavilhão Atlântico is one of the biggest and most modern covered pavilions in Europe, capable of accommodating all kinds of events. With a 20,000-person capacity, the enclosure hosts nearly 100 events per year. With an architecture based on the old ships that played a central role in the Portuguese Age of Discovery, the Pavilhão Atlântico is now the stage for countless sporting events and welcomes the large scale shows that take place in the capital.

The Atlantic Pavilion Concert Hall:

The Portugal Pavilion is a striking building designed by Portugal's Pritzker Award-winning architect Alvaro Siza Vieira. Its remarkable sagging concrete roof weighing 1,400 tonnes and measuring 50 by 67 meters (167 by 223 ft) is an instant attention-grabber, undulating like a sailcloth, keeping the maritime theme of most of the district's architecture. The building is currently empty but there have been plans to turn it into an architecture museum:

With the Feira Internacional de Lisboa on your right and the Arena on your left - turn left (WEST) and you arrive to a garden (Parque das Nações) with fountains and ground decks of wood - with tunnels of water and many pretty colored tiles. There are several volcano fountains in the park:

From here we head NORTHWARD along the water on wood decks and bridges. On our right we pass near the Torre de Vasco de Gama, Myriad by SANA Hotels, Cais das Naus:

On our left are housing complexes along the ocean:

If we look back - we see the São Gabriel and São Rafael twin towers, and the Atlantic Pavilion. The Cable Car provides an air trip over the whole of the Park of Nations, along the river Tagus. The cable car runs parallel to the river along the full length of the site. Round-trip: €5.90, One-way: €3.95.

Torre São Gabriel:

We walk north - our destination is the Vasco da Gama Bridge. After passing the Parque de Tejo, we pass by the Passeo de Tejo. On our left is Parque Infantil with an interesting sculpture of Audrey Flack (1931) - Rainha (queen) D. Catarina do Bragance, Bronze, 1998:

We start to walk on wooden deck bridge - leading to the giant Vasco de Gama (VDG) bridge. It is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts),[3] with a total length of 17.2 km, including 0.829 km for the main bridge, 11.5 km in viaducts, and 4.8 km in dedicated access roads. Its purpose is to alleviate the congestion on Lisbon's other bridge (25 de Abril Bridge), and to join previously unconnected motorways radiating from Lisbon. Construction began on February 1995; the bridge was opened to traffic on 29 March 1998, just in time for Expo 98, the World's Fair that celebrated the 500th anniversary of the discovery by Vasco da Gama of the sea route from Europe to India:

In the small intersection, on the wooden deck, you can turn right to Estacada das Gaivotas - to get a closer view of the mighty bridge:

This our final, northmost point. From there turn back (southward) to get far view of the Torre Vasco de Gama:

We leave the seafront path/bridge. With low houses on our right, we turn RIGHT (west) to these houses and housing quarter. Cross the grass and find a path leading (zigzag) southward (south-west, in the beginning) to these nice residences. We head back to Torre Vasco de Gama. Head west on Caminho das Gaivotas toward Passeio dos Heróis do Mar, 130 m. Turn left onto Passeio dos Heróis do Mar, 10 m. Slight left to stay on Passeio dos Heróis do Mar, 800 m. Turn right onto Rua Comandante Cousteau. The parallel road more south is Rua do Cais das Naus - leading back to Torre de Vasco de Gama:

Rua Comandante Cousteau:

Rua do Cais das Naus:

Again, Torre Vasco de Gama / Myriad Hotel:

We continue southward (passing by the point where we started our walk along the sea) leaving the Oriente station (on our right, now) on our back. We step now on big plates of wood. Quite dangerous. You can walk here only with sneakers. No sandals and no high heels. We walk, now, along Passeio Neptuno and see the Oceanário on our right:

WE can stop at the Oceanário de Lisboa or walk even further (south) to the Marina of Parque Das Nações. In the latter case - we can return to the Oceanário through Passeio Neptuno or return along Rua das Musas.

Oceanário de Lisboa opened during the Expo’98, the Oceanário de Lisboa is one the largest public aquaria in Europe. It is the Oceanário’s mission to promote knowledge of the oceans, educating visitors and the public about the necessity of protecting natural resources, through changing their daily habits. Every year, one million visitors walk through the Oceanário’s exhibits, which rank first as the most visited attraction in Portugal. Students, teachers, families and organized groups may enjoy quite a few activities, including guided tours, theme workshops, seminars, concerts for babies, birthday parties and even spending a very special evening right next to the sharks. The Oceanário de Lisboa was the first European Public Aquarium to be awarded the 9001, 14001 and EMAS Quality Certificates. Other distinguished acknowledgements include the Valmor Architecture (1998) competition, the International Chiara Science Award and the EMAS Award 2005 (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme).
It also plays a very active role in multiple research and conservation efforts, regularly collaborating with academic and zoological institutions on projects such as CORALZOO, SECORE, FAITAG, and even in situ environmental conservation efforts focusing on Lamprey-eels, from the Tagus estuary, and Sea-turtles in Cape Verde. Together with the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Oceanário created an Award which rewards excellence on scientific projects that encourage a sustainable use of the oceans. Designed by renowned architect Peter Chermayeff, the Oceanário de Lisboa includes two buildings, connected by a bridge. The exhibits are housed on the main building, which is surrounded by water, evoking a docked ship ready to cast off. The support building features a striking wall with 55 thousand tiles, depicting jumbo sized marine animals. The Oceanário is situated in the heart of the amazing Esplanada da D. Carlos I.

Tickets can be purchased near the waterfall and the big fountain and NOT near the souvenirs shop.

There is also an computerized/automated vending machine. Free - children 0-3, 11€ - children 4-12, 16€ - from 13 to 64, 11€ seniors 65+. Family - 42€. Opening hours: Summer 10.00 - 20.00 (last entry 19.00) , Winter 10.00 - 19.00 (last entry - 18.00):

East to the Oceanário I had a dinner at Restaurante Chimarrão - Parque das Nações, Alameda dos Oceanos. See tip below.

We head back to the Oriente station - passing by, again, the Pavilhao do Conhecimento, Cienca Viva:

and the Parque das Nações:

We turn left, here, near the Casino - to the Oriente Station:

Walk in Lisbon - Belém - Part 2.

Ariel Shafir


Part 2: Belém - Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), Museu Nacional dos Coches (Carriages museum). Other attractions of Belém - see Part 1:

Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) - located along the Praça do Império (Empire Square), across from the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), it was originally built to support pilgrims who travelled in the region by Henry the Navigator; expanded and elaborated from 1501 by architects for King Manuel I of Portugal to serve as a resting-place for members of the House of Aviz; and as a church for seafearing adventurers who embarked during the Age of Discovery, after Vasco da Gama's successful voyage to India. Construction was funded by a tax on eastern spices, and over time came to represent Portuguese historical discoveries, becoming over time a national monument and UNESCO World Heritage Site (from 1983), housing (in addition to the religious art and furniture from its past) artefacts and exhibitions like the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (National Archaeological Museum) and the Museu da Marinha (Maritime Museum) within its walls. The monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Late Gothic Manueline style of architecture in Lisbon. This majestic monastery is a great showcase of Portugal’s splendor during the age of discoveries. Built in 1502 in the late Gothic style Portuguese-exclusive “Manueline” style.

In 1496, King Manuel I (1495–1521) asked the pope for permission to build a great monastery in thanks to the Virgin Mary for Vasco de Gama's successful voyage to India. The request was granted and construction began on the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos on January 6, 1501. The project was funded by treasures from explorations in Africa, Asia, and South America, as well as a stiff tax on the Portuguese-controlled spice trade with Africa and the East. The king hired French architect Diogo de Boitaca (1460-1528; master of the pioneering Igreja de Jesus in Setúbal), who was later succeeded by João de Castilho (1475-1552) of Spain, Diogo de Torralva (c.1500-1566), and Jerónimo de Ruão (1530-1601). The site Manuel chose for the new monastery was on the banks of the Tagus river, replacing a small chapel dedicated to St. Mary of Belém by Henry the Navigator. King Manuel I named his new foundation the Mosteiro de Santa Maria de Belém and invited the Order of St. Jerome (Hieronymites, or dos Jerónimos) to occupy it. The powerful Hieronymites were known for their contemplative spirituality and productive intellectual output; they also shared the king's political views. The Hieronymites monk were expected to celebrate daily mass for the souls of Prince Henry the Navigator, King Manuel I and his successors in perpetuity, in addition to hearing confessions and providing spiritual counsel to seamen and navigators who sailed from Belém. As for the monastery, it would be not only a thank-offering to the Virgin Mary but a lasting monument to the Age of Discovery and the mausoleum of King Manuel I and his successors. The project was completed around 1600, by which time Renaissance and Baroque elements were incorporated into the design. The 1755 earthquake damaged the monastery but thankfully did not destroy it. Many restoration projects have been undertaken since then, some executed better than others. The Hieronymites occupied the monastery for 400 years until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1833, when the building became state property. It was used as a college for the Casa Pia of Lisbon (a children's charity) until around 1940.

it is in my opinion one of the most wonderful structures in Portugal. Here, Vasco da Gama spent his late night in prayer before his successful journey to India. Vasco de Gama’s tomb is at the front entrance and so is the tomb or a famous Portuguese poet, Luis de Camoes. The stone works inside the monastery and the (Santa Maria de Belem) church are incredible. It's amazing to think how many stone masons must have been engaged. The beauty of this couple of sites is magnificent. Pictures don't do it justice. You must see it in person. The internal court of the monastery is very beautiful with its delicate carving on the columns and the refectory excels with pictures on the tiles of the wall. You can spend, easily, about 2-3 hours wandering around their grounds. Queue is very long in the late morning hours ! This itinerary is planned that you'll hit the monastery around 14.00-15.30/16.00. After 10.00 the site is flooded with tourist coaches. Keep in mind that groups have priority in entrance over individuals or families. After 10.00 expect to queue-up, at least, one hour...

Opening hours: October to May From 10.00 to 17.30 (last admission at 17.00), May to September From 10.00 to 18.30 (last admission at 18.00). Closed: Mondays and 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May and 25 December. Individual ticket: €10, seniors: €5.

Combined tickets:

■Descobertas: Jerónimos Monastery /Tower of Belém: €12
■Jeronimos: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: 12 €
■Praça do Império: Jerónimos Monastery +Tower of Belém + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: €16
■ Cais da História: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Torre de Belém + Museu Naciona de Arqueologia + Museu de Arte Popular + Museu Nacional de Etnologia + Museu dos Coches: 25 €

Special discounts:

■Visitors aged 65 and older (proof of age must be shown): 50% discount
■Family ticket: 4 members or more (parents + kids): 50% discount
■"Youth Card": 50% discount
■Student Card: 50% discount

Free admission:

■1st Sunday each month.
■Children up to the age of 12
■Members of APOM/ICOM and ICOMOS,
■Researchers, journalists, tour guides and other tourist information professionals when visiting for Professional reasons and duly identified (the visit must be booked in advance)
■Teachers and students of any education level in the context of study visits, provided they are booked in advance and there is documental proof of their status (personal letter) and the context of the visit (a document issued by the respective education institution)
■Members of the "Friends of the Monuments" and "Friends of the Castles" associations
■DGPC employees, duly identified
■Holders of the pre-purchased Lisboa Card (purchased online via www.askmelisboa.com or at ATL tourist information offices).

External entrance: The main entrance to the monastic church is the south portal, designed by João de Castilho. Occupying the central pillar is a statue of Henry the Navigator. Inside, fragile-looking pillars covered with sculpture support a complex web of lierne vaulting over three aisles. Much of the artwork depicts scenes of St. Jerome, translator of the Vulgate and patron of the Hieronymite order:

Monastery of Jeronimos - internal court / Cloister: Essentially serving the purpose of isolation for the monastic community, the Cloister was an agreeable and serene place for prayer, meditation and leisure for the monks of the Hieronymite Order. Designed by Diogo de Boitaca, who commenced the work in the early 16th century, it was continued by João de Castilho from 1517 onwards and completed by Diogo de Torralva in 1540-1541. Due to its significance and symbolism, the Cloister is today one of the most important examples of Manueline architecture. With two storeys, vaulted ceilings and quadrangular layout, its decoration showcases the originality of this style by combining religious symbols (images from the Passion, amongst others), royal imagery (the Cross of the Order of Christ, the armillary sphere, the royal coat of arms) and naturalist elements (ropes and plant-inspired motifs that cohabit with late Mediaeval imagery of fantastic animals). In the north wing of the lower cloister is the tomb of Fernando Pessoa, created by Lagoa Henriques in 1985:

Monastery of Jeronimos - Refectory. The refectory was built in 1517/18 by Leonardo Vaz and his team of master builders. With its multi-ribbed and low vaulted ceiling it exemplifies the most widespread taste of the Manueline period Below the thick stone ropes, the walls are covered with azulejo tile panels dating from 1780-1785. The panels depict the Miracle of the Bread and Fish in the New Testament (north end) and scenes from the life of Joseph in Egypt from the Old Testament (side walls).
On the wall facing the windows there was a small wooden pulpit for the reading of the Holy Scripture and from the Lives of the Saints during meals. On the north side is a 17th century painting representing St. Jerome, which is attributed to the court painter Avelar Rebelo. At the southern end, over the heating chimney, one can see an oil mural, "Adoration of the Shepherds", attributed to António Campelo (late 16th century), which was restored in 1992.

The view of the inside of Santa Maria de Belem church - from 2nd floor accessed from Monastery is impressive:

View of the cloister / internal court from the Monastery's 2nd floor:

Picture of king Joao II:

Picture of king Sebastio:

Picture of king Jose I:

National Coach Museum, Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, opposite the Belem Tram stop. Lovely coaches commemorating 300 years of the coach builders craft. The museum has one of the finest collections of historical carriages in the world. The museum is housed in the old Horse Riding Arena of the Belém Palace, formerly a Royal Palace which is now the official residence of the President of Portugal. The Horse Riding Area was built after 1787 following the Neoclassical design of Italian architect Giacomo Azzolini. Several Portuguese artists decorated the interior of the building with paintings and tiles (Azulejos) panels. The museum was created in 1905 by Queen Amélia to house an extensive collection of carriages belonging to the Portuguese royal family and nobility. The collection gives a full picture of the development of carriages from the late 16th through the 19th centuries, with carriages made in Italy, Portugal, France, Spain, Austria and England. Among its rarest items is a late 16th/early 17th-century traveling coach used by King Philip II of Portugal to come from Spain to Portugal in 1619. There are also several pompous Baroque 18th century carriages decorated with paintings and exuberant gilt woodwork, the most impressive of these being a ceremonial coach given by Pope Clement XI to King John V in 1715, and the three coaches of the Portuguese ambassador to Pope Clement XI, built in Rome in 1716. Flamboyant pieces representing the pomposity of royalty & religion. The enormous size and lavish detail of some of the coaches is amazing. Good information signage in English.

It is basically a huge display of royal carriages dating back to the 17th century. They are organized chronologically - oldest and shabbiest first. You can see this museum in about an hour and it is well worth it.

Tram: 15.

Bus: 28, 714, 727, 729, 743, 749, 751.

Train: Cascais Line (Belém Station).
Boat: Belém boat station.

Opening hours: 10.00 - 18.00 (Tuesday - Sunday), Last entry: 17.30.
Closed: Mondays, January 1st, May 1st, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day.

Admission fees:

Normal: 6,00€
+ 65 years : 3€
Youth-Card holders: 3€

Family ticket:

- 50% discount for children (15-18 years) when accompanied by a parent.

Free entrance:

- Sundays and Bank Holidays until 14.00.

Walk in Lisbon - Belém - Part 1.

Ariel Shafir



Main attractions: Tram 15, Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, Belém Palace (Palácio Nacional Da Ajuda), Praça do Império, Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos), Belém Tower (Torre de Belém), Museu de Combatente, Centro Cultural de Belém e Forte do Bom Sucesso, Belém's Museu Colecção Berardo, Museu De Marinha (MARITIME MUSEUM), Igreja de Santa Maria de Belem, Antiga Confeitaria de Belém – Pasteis de Belem Café - Part 1.

Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos), Museu Nacional dos Coches - part 2.

Duration: 1 busy day (visiting the interiors of most or part of Belem attractions). 1/2 day - without visiting the interiors. Tip: Arrive to Jerónimos Monastery around 14.00 - 16.00. During the morning hours - there is a long queue there. In case you decide to visit the interiors of the Monastery and the Berardo Museum - allow 1 full day and start early !!!

Start & End: Figueira Square ("Praça da Figueira") or Comercio Square ("Praça do Comércio").

Distance (both parts, all Belém attractions): 3-4 km. (without the Belém Palace), 6-7 km. (with the Belém Palace).

Lisbon's most monumental and historical area is Belém. It was from here that many of the great Portuguese explorers embarked on their voyages of discovery: Prince Henry the Navigator and the first overseas expedition to conquer Ceuta in Morocco, Bartholomeu Dias to round the Cape of Good Hope, the first voyages of Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco da Gama to discover the sea route to India, and Christopher Columbus stopped here on his way back to Europe after discovering the New World. Belém is recognized for its concentration of national monuments and public spaces, including a mixture of historical buildings and modern symbols of Portuguese culture. The Discoveries Monument During this time Lisbon flourished with riches pouring into Portugal and saw the construction of great monuments like the Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. Today these monuments and their surrounding museums are must-see atrractions for any visitor. Belem's attractions warrant a full-day visit. We sketch an itinerary for half-day only. Don't go on a Monday, when many of the sites are closed. Located on the mouth of the Tagus River it is located 6 kilometres west of the city centre and 2 kilometres west of Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge). Its name is derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem.

To get to Belem from Lisbon, you will need to take either tram 15 or tram 127 from the downtown area’s Figueira Square ("Praça da Figueira") or Comercio Square ("Praça do Comércio"). I recommend taking the tram from the Figueira squre. Tram 15 runs regularly and takes about 25 minutes to get from Placa da Figueria to the stop for Belem. Tram 15 (destination: Alges) is the best way to reach Belem from downtown. You can hop on 15 either at Figueira Square or Comercio Square (getting off by Jeronimos Monastery). The stop at the Comercio square is quite crowded - so, find shelter (from the sun) under the bus-stop roof in front (cross the street). The tram #15 wagons are air-conditioned and quite modern. You can catch it outside Cais do Sodre railway station as well, but I wouldn't advise that unless you are staying nearby. Usually, there are tens of people waiting at Cais do Sodre (cruise ships porting there) and the chances of you getting on a tram within one hour are nil even though people are crammed on like sardines. Do take care on the tram. All crowded situations are prime hunting ground for pickpockets and tram 15, with its continual loads of tourists, is a favourite spot. Keep cash and cards safely underneath your clothing, never ever in your pockets or bum-bags/fanny-packs, and hold your bag firmly in your arms. The same applies while you are queuing at the bus stop. Don't stand with your daypack facing the road which runs parallel to the tram tracks. Get off at the stop marked Belém (the best) or the next one called Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. A single ticket can be purchased on board the tram costs €2.85, the ticket machines do not accept bank notes and frequently run out of change. A single ticket price is reduced to €1.40 if a pre-paid Viva Viagem ticket is used, these can be purchased from any metro station. A one-day travel pass for all of the public transport in Lisbon costs €6.00. As this is the busiest tram service of Lisbon the trams start early and continue well into the night. The first service departs at 05.00 and the last departure is at 01.00, there are between 4-6 services an hour. Delays are frequent in rush times. The Lisbon tram 15 route also passes the trendy Santo Amaro docks. These old warehouse have been converted into trend bars and restaurants that over look the suspension bridge, River Tejo and marina. The docks area and is served by the Avenue Infante Santo stop which is 11 minutes from Praca do Comercio.

Another option is the train. Belem's small train station can be found on the Cascais Line that runs between Lisbon's Cais de Sodre train station and Cascais train station. This line is very scenic and many of Belem's attractions (including the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos and the Monument to the Discoveries) can be seen from the train.
When travelling on this line, you should be aware that not all trains stop at Belem. If travelling from Cais de Sodre, you should board a train that stops at all stations to Cascais. These trains say 'TODAS' on the front to indicate that they are stopping at all stations between Cais de Sodre and Cascais.

Buses no. 28 or 43 depart from Praça da Figueira to Belém, again taking 15 minutes.

All means of transportaion cost (as of summer 2014) 1.40 euros.

Do not go to Belem on Mondays since that’s the day that: Jeronimos monastery, Belem Tower and the Monument to Discoveries are all closed.

We drop the Tram #15 at the 'Belem' stop. Belém's main street and historical avenue is Rua de Belém, a strip of 160-year buildings that have survived several years of change and modernization. This includes the famous pastry shop Fábrica de Pasteis de Belém known for a specific Portuguese confectionery: pastel de Belém (pastéis de Belém), an egg tart made with flaky pastry (see later). Five hundred metres to the east of Praça do Império lies Belém's other major square Praça Afonso de Albuquerque - this is the first park or garden we face. The site of the square used to be a harbour, built in 1753. In 1807, Queen Mary I, Prince John VI and the royal family fled Lisbon from this harbour to Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, to escape the Napoleonic troops which had invaded Portugal. The square is located in front of Belém Palace, an early 18th-century palace that nowadays serves as residence for the President of Portugal. The square is named after the Second Governor of Portuguese India Afonso de Albuquerque, and offers the best views of Belém Palace. It has a beautiful monument, in neo-Manueline style, by artists Silva Pinto and Costa Mota tio, inaugurated in 1902. The monument carries a bronze statue of Afonso de Albuquerque and has interesting reliefs about his life:

To the southeast of the gardens is the Belém Palace (Palácio Nacional Da Ajuda) (1770), the official residence of the Portuguese President. It had, overtime, been the official residence of Portuguese monarchs and, after the installation of the First Republic, the Presidents of the Portuguese Republic. Located in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belém, the palace is located on a small hill that fronts the Praça Afonso de Albuquerque, near the historical centre of Belém and the Monastery of the Jeronimos, close to the waterfront of the Tagus River. The five buildings that makeup the main façade of the Palace date back to the second half of the 17th century, and were built at a time when, more and more, the monarchy and nobility were escaping the urbanized confines of Lisbon. Access to the Palace is made from Rua de Belém at the main gate and ramp (guarded by military sentries). Open every day except wednesdays, 10.00 to 18.00. Closed every Wednesdays, 1st January, Easter Sunday, 1st May, 25th December. Admission charge 5 €
Admission free: First Sundays of the month (groups 12 pax max.), children under 14, teachers and students if in organized school visit, ICOM members, unemployed EU resident (documentation needed). 50% Discount: Students, Youth Card, + 65, families with children with more than 4 persons. Circuit Ticket 7,5 € Palacio Nacional da Ajuda and Museu Nacional dos Coches. Public transport: Bus and tram: 18, 729, 732, 742, 60
Estoril railway: Belém Station.

The Palace is quite distant from Rua de Belem (1.6 km. !). A view of the Palace of Belém from the main obelisk in Praça Afonso de Albuquerque:

A monument to assassinated monarch King Carlos of Portugal in front entrance to the Ajuda National Palace:

The eastern façade (and main entrance) to the Palácio Nacional da Ajuda:

The interior façade from the Palace courtyard looking towards the statue of King Carlos of Portugal:

The interior of the Green Room, used by the Queen for official duties:

The avant-garde Blue Room with visual affects that implied a greater grandeur:

Portrait of the Royal Family in the Green Room:

Red Room (Salinha Encarnada):

The Marble Room (known also as the Winter Garden or informally as the Egyptian room):

The Grand Dining room:

We continue/return with/to Rua de Belem along the gardens heading to the WEST.

In the heart of the parks area is  Praça do Império, an avenue of open-spaces and gardens, with a central fountain, which was laid-out during World War II. The square commemorates the Portuguese Empire and was built for the Exhibition of the Portuguese World in 1940. This park has many pathways and a beautiful fountain that changes into several different forms over a few minutes and you could enjoy a walk or just sit and enjoy the sun, birds, vegetation and cute statues of horses. 

Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) from Praça do Império:

From the parks/gardens - cross the Avenida Brasilia to the seafront to see:

Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos) - located on the edge of the Tagus' northern bank, this 52 metre-high slab of concrete, was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. The monument is sculpted in the form of a ship's prow, with dozens of figures from Portuguese history following a statue of the Infant Henry sculpted in base relief. Adjacent to the monument is a huge square in the form of a map, showing the routes of various Portuguese explorers, during the Age of Discovery. It is 52 meters tall and is shaped live a ship with historical Portuguese navigators standing at the prow. Inside is an exhibition and you can go up to the top to get a better look at Belem below. Opening hours: Daily 10.00 - 18.00, Closed on Mondays.

Rosa dos Ventos (Rose of Winds) square north to the Monument of Discveries:

Continue west along the seafront to:

Belém Tower (Torre de Belém) - constructed on the rocky outcropping/island along the northern margin of the Tagus River as part of a defensive system to protect access to the Tagus estuary envisioned by king John (Joao) II of Portugal. It is one of Belém's iconic symbols of the parish. Originally, the Tower of Saint Vincent (Torre de São Vicente), it was elaborated by Manuel I of Portugal (1515–1520) to guard the entrance to the port at Belém. It stood on a little island in right side of the Tagus, surrounded by water. Built in 1515, this Manueline style fortress served also the important purpose of being a starting point to much of the voyages the Portuguese made to places like the New World, India, and Japan. It is because of its significance that the Belem Tower has been honored as a UNESCO World Heritage monument. Its design is breathtaking. It has details such as stones that look like twisted rope, lots of balconies, domes, and the arched windows that are customary in the Manueline style. It is completely surrounded by water. You’ll need to cross a bridge to get to it. Opening hours: October-April 10.00 - 17.30, May-September 10.00 - 18.30. Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee: 6 euros. Combined tickets: Descobertas: Jerónimos Monastery /Tower of Belém: €12, Jeronimos: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: 12 €, Praça do Império: Jerónimos Monastery +Tower of Belém + Museu Nacional de Arqueologia: €16, Cais da História: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos + Torre de Belém + Museu Naciona de Arqueologia + Museu de Arte Popular + Museu Nacional de Etnologia + Museu dos Coches: 25 €:

Further west along the seashore, quite close to the Belem Tower is the Museu de Combatente. The main purpose of this Museum is the expression of the Portuguese military conquests, with a space reserved to divulgate the Portuguese military history, near the public in general and the combatants, through distinct museum references regarding time, matter and especially shape, from the First World War, the Overseas Campaigns and Peace Missions. Therefore, the Museum of Combatant honours the Combatants who served Portugal in the Overseas Campaigns, with the integration of the “Monument to the Honour of Overseas Combatants” in this space, since 1993. These two symbols – the Museum of Combatant and the “Monument to the Honour of Overseas Campaigns”, stands for the concepts of Culture, Citizenship and Defense. The two of them represent an end of a cycle in the Portuguese history – the End of the Empire, whose beginning is materialized in the same space by the Belem Tower. Outside the fort is a Military memorial and what one assumes is an eternal flame guarded by two soldiers. The museum is managed by the Portuguese equivalent of the British Legion and is housed in an 18th century fort, which at one time was directly attached to the tower and provided protection for old Lisbon from attacks from the river Tagus. Open every day, including weekends, and holidays. From 10.00 until 17.00 (Oct-March), from 10.00 until 18.00 (April-Sept). Prices: 3€ (adults), 2€ (children with seven years old and up, pensioners and groups), free entry (for members of the Combatants League and leaders of groups on guided tours):


From here we go back eastward. Find the upper bridge (over Avenida Barasilia and the railway track) and walk east along Rua Bartolomeu Dias to arrive to:  the Centro Cultural de Belém e Forte do Bom Sucesso, built in 1992 during Portugal's term in the revolving role at the helm of the European Union presidency. The Belém Cultural Centre, also known as CCB, affords three functions, a congress centre, a concert hall complex and an exhibition centre. The building also has several shops, a restaurant and two bars. The concert hall complex has three halls that are equipped to house different kinds of shows, from ballet to cinema. The exhibition centre houses the Berardo?s Foundation modern and contemporary art collection (Fundação de Arte Moderna e Contemporânea - Museu colecção Berardo) since 2007. The temporary exhibitions vary what they have on show, from sculptures, to architecture, to design, photography and installations:

It is now an arts complex, containing Belém's Museu Colecção Berardo - a brand new museum of modern and contemporary art. Admission is free. To visit some of the temporary exhibitions it may be necessary to purchase a ticket. Opening times: Tuesday - Sunday
10.00-19.00 (last admission: 18.30), 24 December 10.00-14.30 (last admission: 14.00), 25 December Closed, 31 December 10.00-14.30 (last admission: 14.00), 1 January 12.00-19.00 (last admission: 18.30). The museum has an extensive permanent collection, but it is also the host of various temporary exhibitions that change on a regular basis.  It is an extensive museum and FREE. For modern art lovers - even 2-3 hours won't suffice. A vast collection showcasing some of the biggest names in art: Picasso, Warhol, Pollack, Abstract and Expressionist works. It is rare opportunity to see so much at one place. GOOD ASIAN-EUROPEAN RESTAURANT WITH REASONABLE PRICES.

DO NOT MISS  the Museum's gardens. Stunning views of the river (from vey limited and specif hidden points....:

Stunning views also of the Maritime Museum and the Jerónimos Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos):

You can exit from the back side of the museum, through its garden to Rua Bartolomeu Dias and to the Museu De Marinha (MARITIME MUSEUM) in the Praca do Imperio. Opening hours: From 10.00 to 17.00  (01 Oct - 30 Apr), from 10.00 to 18.00  (01 May - 30 Sep). Prices: Adults 6,00€, seniors 65+ ​3,00€, students 3,00€, children 12 - 18: ​3,00€.

The church Igreja de Santa Maria de Belem is adjacent to the Jeronimos Monastery. You can enter it first - since it it in the western part of the monastery.  It features many details embedded in its walls. It contains the tombs of Vasco da Gama and Luís de Camões. Absolutely not to be missed! Very beautiful both externally and internally:

The ornate Manueline south portal by João de Castilho:

Tomb of Luis Vaz de Camoes:

Tomb of Vasco de Gama:

Royal tombs in the main chapel. Each sarcophagus is held by two elephants:

The Nave and Apse:

The Sacrament:

Belém is home to a number of other museums: Museu da Electricidade (Electricity Museum), Museu do Centro Científico e Cultural de Macau (Macau Cultural Museum), Museu de Arte Popular (Folk Art Museum), Museu Nacional dos Coches (Coach Museum), and Museu da Presidência da República (Presidential Museum).

Antiga Confeitaria de Belém – Pasteis de Belem Café: A trip to Belem is not complete without stopping at Antiga Confeitaria de Belém. This is a very large cafe-confectionery with several rooms. Some of these are decorated with Azulejos (blue tiles). It’s one of those things that everyone does while visiting the district. They produce about 14,000 of these sweets per day and the café is obviously very popular. You won’t wait more than half an hour until your order gets taken. You can either take-away the pasties or you can eat inside, in the latter case you’ll be taken to a seating area in the back which is very spacious. Soon after you place your order, your warm, straight out of the oven custard tart will be served. Traditionally, these pastries are sprinkled with “canela” or cinnamon and powdered sugar. If you order the pastries to go, they’ll be given to you in a beautiful tube box decorated with a traditional Portuguese design. Café Pastéis de Belém has been specializing in these treats since year 1837 ! These pastries are served warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and/or sugar (if you like). Their original receipt is kept secret. Only three persons knows it. This sweet is believed was created before the 18th century by the nuns at the Monastery of Jerònimos. Antiga Confeitaria de Belèm was the first place selling these tarts since 1837. In this year the baking of the 'Pasteis de Belém' has begun in buildings joined to the refinery, following the ancient 'secret recipe' from the monastery. Passed on and known exclusively to the master confectioners who hand-crafted the pastries in the 'secrets room', this recipe remained unchanged to the present day. In fact, the only true 'Pasteis de Belém' contrive, by means of a scrupulous selection of ingredients, to offer even today the flavour of the time-honoured Portuguese sweet making.

Opening hours: June 1st – September 30th 8.00 – Midnight, October 1st – May 31st 08.00 – 23.00.

Now, move to Belém part 2 - Monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) and the Museu Nacional dos Coches (the Carriages Museum).

Lisbon - walk to Sant-George Castle and Alfama (the Old Quarter).

Ariel Shafir


Sant-George Castle and Alfama.

Start: Largo Martin Moniz.

End  : Praca de Comercio.

Duration: 1/2 day.

Distance: 6-7 km.

Weather: Arrive to Sant-George Castle as early as possible to avoid high temperatures while in Alfama.

Take the Metro to Largo Martin Moniz. We start from this extensive square. There are several places in Lisbon that still remain unmentioned in tourism guides. It's one of Lisbon's biggest squares but has been one of the most overlooked over the last few years. Martim Moniz, a multicultural area, is still one of them. It seems like you’re in the Orient. There are small Chinese groceries, Turkish kebab houses, Indian restaurants and stores, and by the smell you can say you’re in Chinatown or Little Bombay. Great conglomeration of ethnic supermarkets and colorful lifestyle. it's been brought back to life and now attracts all kinds of locals and tourists. Inside the Mouraria shopping center, located in the Martim Moniz square, you’ll find Popat Store. There are African products, dried fish, coconut milk, Okra and hot Piri-piri. Ask the shops owners to find the most exotic spices and products from any corner of the world. On weekends there's a market offering everything from grocery products to clothing. The square is therefore now a meeting place, always accompanied by a view of the Sant-George Castle.

Take Tram 28 from Martin Moniz to Portas do Sol. From there it is 5 minutes walk to Castle Sant-George. Martin Moniz is one of the terminals of Tram 28. It's perhaps Lisbon's most popular activity: A ride back in time over hills and medieval streets in vintage trams that are still part of the city's public transportation network. Line 28 of Lisbon's iconic trams was inaugurated in 1914 and today it has a 7km route between Martim Moniz Square and the neighborhood of Prazeres (between Graça and Estrela in a shorter journey). It survived the rise of the automobile and of the bus by being the best way to squeeze through the narrow streets and corners of the older districts, for being an attractive tour, and for its clean energy. It's now an essential part of Lisbon's life, a city that would lose part of its soul without the constant rattling of these singular yellow, ringing "wagons". The trams are known as ‘electricos’ in Portuguese, so look out for ‘electrico 28’. The 28 line uses about fifty turn-of-the-century cars, built in wood with a capacity for twenty seating passengers and 38 standing (although many more cram in). The average intervals between each one is 15 minutes and the entire trip takes between 40 minutes and one hour (at a maximum speed of 50km per hour), depending on the obstacles (traffic and doubled-parked cars) along the way. The ride to Sant-George Castle takes 10 - 15 minutes. The first one starts the day just after 6AM, and the last one departs shortly after 11PM. Tickets can be purchased from the driver but most passengers use re-chargable / pre-paid cards, including most tourists who buy the Lisboa Card (recommended to avoid having to get a ticket each time you board, and to save money). Upon entering (always through the front door), validate your ticket by scanning it on the machine behind the driver. As you step on and off, watch your wallet and other possessions as this being a major tourist attraction it's a favorite target of pickpockets who easily blend in with tourists. It passes the Saint George’s (São Jorge) Castle, the famous viewpoint (miradouro) Portas do Sol (Gates to the sun) (see below) and the legendary fleamarket ‘Feira da Ladra’ in Alfama, Graça, Mouraria, Bairro Alto, (Lisbon’s bohemien haunt of artists and writers, and posssibly one of the best spots in Europe for a night out). Last stop: Cemetery ‘Prazeres’ (Cemetery of ‘Pleasures’), really worth a visit !

Tram 28, near Lisbon’s legendary flea market ‘Feira da Ladra’ ('Market of Thieves'):

The best stop for St George’s Castle, and there we drop, is at the Largo Portas do Sol viewpoint, which affords delightful views down to the river Tagus, with its boats docked in the harbour and the Alfama rooftops dropping away below. Next stop on the tram 28 route is St George’s Castle itself, sitting at Lisbon’s highest point, perched right on top of a hill and overlooking the Alfama and the river Tagus. Portas do Sol, is a panoramic viewpoint where you can relax or enjoy the cocktail bar and a restaurant offering delicious coffee and light fare:

Statue of St. Vincent - Patron of the City of Lisbon with a boat (symbol of the city) in his hands:

From the square walk south to Largo de Santa Luzia and, immediately, turn right to climb Travessa de Santa Luzia. There are brown signposts leading to Castle of S. Jorge. This is a shady road with houses decorated with Azulejos on your left:

The steep road bends left to Rua do Chão da Feira, bends again left and we arrive to the Entrance gate to Castle of Sant Jorge:

Here, starts Rua de Santa Cruz do Castelo and, 2-3 minutes climb and you face the tickets office of Castelo do Sao Jorge. Open (Last admission: 30 minutes before closing time): 1 November - 28 February (Closed - December 25 and January 1) 09.00 - 18.00, 1 March - 31 October (Closed - May 1) 09.00 - 21.00, Periscope - Tower of Ulysses | Subject to weather conditions 10.00 - 17.00. Prices in euros: Adults 8,50, Students < 25 years old 5,00, Families (2 Adults and 2 children < 18 years old) 20,00, People with disabilities 5,00, Senior (> 65 years) 5,00.

Castelo do Sao Jorge:

In brief: It’s located on one of the seven hills in the city and a huge part of the castle was destroyed by the Great Earthquake of 1755. However, the main structures were recovered and, these days, visitors can enjoy the magnificent castle, the views and many cultural activities that are promoted on its grounds. This fortification is situated in the area most difficult to access at the top of the hill, making use of the natural slopes to the north and west. The purpose of the castle was to house military troops and in case of siege. The elite who lived in the Alcáçova (Citadel). Unlike most European castles it was not meant as a residence.

Saint George's Castle can be seen from almost everywhere in Lisbon. Its oldest parts date from the 6th century, when it was fortified by the Romans, Visigoths, and eventually the Moors. It served as a Moorish royal residence until Portugal's first king Afonso Henriques captured it in 1147 with the help of northern European crusaders on their way to the Holy Land. It was then dedicated to St. George, the patron saint of England, commemorating the Anglo-Portuguese pact dating from 1371, and became the royal palace until another one (that was destroyed in the Great Earthquake) was built in today's Lisbon's Comercio Square. It is now an oasis of peace, but just past the main gate is a statue of King Afonso Henriques and a series of cannons, reminders of the castle's original purpose. What remains of the Alcaçovas Palace where medieval kings lived, is a stone building now housing a restaurant, and round the back, a small archaeological museum in three underground chambers (including the one where Vasco da Gama was once received by King Manuel). Most of the castle was destroyed over the years, especially in the Great Earthquake of 1755, but still includes a long extension of walls and 18 towers. Visitors can climb the towers and walk along the ramparts for the most breathtaking views of Lisbon, or relax in the gardens where peacocks, geese and ducks walk around. One of the Castle's inner towers, the Tower of Ulysses, holds the Câmara Escura, a periscope that projects sights from around the city.

Immediately, after your entry - you face a bronze statue of Afonso Henriques, the Portuguese monarch who took the castle from the Moors. This statue is a copy of the 19th-century original by the romantic sculptor, António Soares dos Reis, which is located near Guimarães Castle in central Portugal:

This is one of the most intact castles in Europe with much of the ramparts and keeps still intact. It is awesome to be able to walk the perimeter of the old ramparts and get up into the turrets. It still retains eleven towers, the most outstanding being the Torre de Menagem (Tower of the Keep), Torre do Haver ou do Tombo (Tower of Riches or Trumbling Tower), Torre do Paço (Tower of the Palace), Torre da Cisterna (Tower of the Cistern) and the Torre de São Lourenço (Tower of St. Lawrence) located on the hillside. Ruins of older structures and a cistern still remain in a second courtyard. Also found here is a small door on the northern wall called the Door of Treason which allowed secret messengers to enter or exit when needed.

Tower of Ulysses:

Other ramparts:


Don Manuel I "O Venturoso", King of Portugal (1495 - 1521):

On your way out - you'll see the Icon of Sant Jorge, protector and defender of Portugal:

Part of the castle grounds are being dug up for archaeological purposes, as it’s known that the hill has been inhabited for millenia. The museum on the grounds has artifacts that date back to roman times. The ruins are of two times, some Roman, and some Islamic.

And the views of the city from the castle are breathtaking. I think you can see the ocean from here. Due to its exceptional location, Castelo de S. Jorge stands out among Lisbon’s belvederes for its unique and majestic sights:

Within the inner courtyard of the castle ruins a small park with water courses and with some animal enclosures has been laid out. Peacocks sit in the old trees or walk along the paths, here and there there are quiet corners in which little fountains babble. There were peacocks roaming the grounds. It is weird. I wonder if they’re natural to the area.

Another cool thing about the St. George Castle are the falcons and owls that you could hold and have your picture taken with for money:

We leave Castelo do Sao Jorge and return to Portas do Sol in the same way. With our face to the Tagus river (south) we take, on our RIGHT, the stairs down to Alfama. The flight of steps (starting from Bar Cerca Moura) is DOWN along Rua Norberto de Araújo. On your right walls from the Vizigoth period, the 10th century:

Alfama is Lisbon's one of the most picturesque and rewarding for walkers and photographers thanks to its medieval alleys and outstanding views. It survived the 1755 earthquake, and a walk through this old-fashioned residential neighborhood is now a step back in time. It is an Moorish-oriental village within a city still made up of narrow streets, tiny squares, churches, and whitewashed houses with tile panels and wrought-iron balconies adorned with pots of flowers, drying laundry, and caged birds. It was settled by the Romans and Visigoths. It was also an important Jewish quarter in the 15th century. But it was the Moors who gave the district its atmosphere and name (Alhama, in Arabic, means spring or bath - a reference to the hot springs found in the area). The Moors were also responsible for its web of streets created as a defense system, while at the same time enabling their homes to remain cool in the summer. Most of the older residents have lived here all their lives and retain a strong sense of community. An increasing number of wealthier people are investing in their properties and moving in. Several renovated buildings directly below the Sant-George Castle have been converted into some of the city's most atmospheric and unique hotels or pensions. The quarter has a quality that needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated, and the best way to get to know it is wander around admiring the postcard-perfect views, visiting the churches, and walking up to the Sant-George Castle for the most breathtaking panorama of the city and the greatest sunsets.

Turn LEFT in the first intersection to Calçadinha da Figueira.Soon, you arrive to Beco de São Miguel:

After 5 minutes of walk you'll see the white towers of the Sao Miguel Igreja (church). The original church was built in 1150 and was renovated several times in the 13th C. and 17th C. After the earthquake it had to be almost completely rebuilt, although old parts of the building were incorporated, such as the valuable carving. The ceiling is of Brazilian jacaranda wood:

With your face to Sao Miguel church - turn right to Calçadinha de São Miguel. From there, immediately, left to Beco de Cardosa. Climb the stairs. On your left:

On your front:

In the end of the flight of stairs - turn right to Rua Castelo Picão:

Turn right to Beco das Cruzes. Bend left along this alley:

In the end of the stairs - climb LEFT to Rua da Regueira:

After 180 m. steep climb in Rua da Regueira - we arrive to Largo do Salvador. Turn RIGHT to Rua de Guilherme Braga. Bend slightly, with the alley, to the right - arriving to Largo de Santo Estêvão and Santo Estêvão church. The church was founded in the 13th C. by Dinos I. It originally consisted of five aisles, a unique feature in Lisbon. The earthquake almost completely destroyed it and it was rebuilt in 1773 to an octagonal plan. The ceiling paintings in the chancel and the sacristy come from the original church. The small square in front of the church offers a fine view across the quarter to the Tagus:

Largo de Santo Estêvão:

Go down with the stairs with your face to the sea:

In the end of the stairs you arrive to Escadinhas de Santo Estêvão. On your right a splendid, typical Portuguese fountain with Azulejos:

Continue descending along the flight of stairs and you arrive to Rua dos Remedios. Do not turn left (we finished with climbing up...). Turn RIGHT, and look on your right on this Manueline door / entrance portal dating from before the 1755 earthquake:

Continuing along this road and we arrive to a broad street with a nice square - Largo do Chafariz de Dentro. On the Largo do Chafariz de Dentro is located the unobtrusive fountain of the same name. It was called Chafariz de Dentro (inner fountain) as it was unusually positioned, i.e. within the old city walls. Originating from the 14th C., it once also bore the name "Horses' Fountain", as the gargoyles portrayed two bronze horses heads. These were stolen in 1373 by Spanish troops. The fountain was built in its current form in 1622. Here you find the Museu do Fado. OPENING TIMES: Museum: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10.00 to 18.00  (last admission: 17.30). Closed on 1st of January, 1st of May and December 25th. Documentation Centre: Monday to Friday, from 14.30 to 18.00 (by previous appointment), Museum School: Monday to Friday, from 14.00 to 20.00. PRICES: Admission – 5.00€, Reduced admission prices for: under 30 years of age and adults over 65 years of age and other pensioners, organized groups and families, Lisboa Card. Go ONLY if you want to know what Fado is and it's history. How to make a museum about music? Answer: include substantial selection of Fado and the artists to listen to. The €5 entrance includes an audio guide which as well as the usual voice overs includes a vast array of music samples. There are many photos of fado singers within this small museum and for each one you can dial the number into the guide and hear a sample of their singing. You can sit on a comfy chair, tune the headphones and choose from a menu of singers - this gives you songs to enjoy while reading about particular singers. Sights and songs with the same ticket:

Opposite the Museu there is charming market of handicrafts and antiquities:

With your back to sea - cross the market and turn left to Rua de Sao Pedro, a narrow and shady alley/road. The Rua de Sao Pedro starts at the northwestern boundary of the Largo do Chafarizde Dentro. This narrow street is very lively. In addition to the open air handicrafts market - there is also an early-hour fish market which takes place here every morning. Building number 6-10 is representative of the houses in this quarter:

On your right you cross Rua da Galé and on your right Largo de São Rafael:

Turn sharply down LEFT to Rua da Judiaria. On your right a fountain with running water. Continue walking down along the steps. Again, another fountain with water. This is Lisbon's oldest fountain, the Chafariz d'El Rei. Rua da Judiaria is the center of the former Jewish quarter. It originates from the 13th C., although a fountain possibly stood on this site in Moorish times. The current fountain dates from the 18th C. The King's Fountain is built right by a piece of the old city wall. Not only did Lisbon's inhabitants come here to fetch water, ships anchored in the harbor were also supplied with water from this fountain. The high demand for water must have led to fights amongst the users as an official decree passed in 1551 regulated exactly the withdrawal of water according to sex, race and position.

Pass through the Arco do Rosário to the Largo do Terreiro do Trigo. During the 16º century it was built a small palace upon the wall. We can still see the windows of it, in the characteristic "Manuelino" style.

Turn RIGHT to Rua Cais de Santarém and you see the wall with the empty windows of it:

There is "hole" in the wall. Pass through the "hole" and turn left to Travessa de São João da Praça. This small road continues west as Rua de São João da Praça. Walking further WEST along Rua de São João da Praça - you pass Pois Cafe (#95) on your left. If you want a break in general with an eclectic but homey atmosphere, this is where you want to go. Not only do they have books to peruse through here, but you can have your cake and eat it too! Their cakes are delicious. Depending on time of day and availability, it's hard to go wrong with any of them. The place is cozy, with large tables if you need to work, and comfortable couches if you're there to just relax. They have free Wi-Fi, which is always a plus.

Continue west along Rua de São João da Praça. It changes its name to Cruzes da Sé. On your right is the Lisbon Se' (Cathedral). It is 650- 700 m. walk to Praca do Comercio. It is a good idea to spare the second half of the day (if it is not so hot...) to Belem. You catch Tram #15 from Praca do Comerci to Belem. Head west on Cruzes da Sé toward Largo da Sé, 67 m. Slight left onto Largo da Sé, 40 m. Continue onto Largo Santo António da Sé, 51 m. Turn left onto Rua da Padaria, 26 m. Turn right onto Rua de S. Julião 170 m, Turn left onto Rua da Prata, 100 m. Continue straight onto Praça do Comércio.

Lisbon - walk on both sides of the river Tagus.

Ariel Shafir


Baixa Pombalina, Cais do Sodre, Cacilhas, Cristo Rei:

Orientation: Round walking trip of 15-16 km. We'll cover most of the classic attractions in old Lisbon in the Baixa quarter and take you to the other bank of the Tagus river for sweeping views and unforgettable visit in Cristo Rei. This trip will supply you with several unconventional roads and sights - out of the beaten path.

Duration: 1 day. Approx. 15 km. A really lovely day out all in all !

Weather: Any weather is good except of heavy rain and very hot day. It is not recommended to walk in Lisbon when it is raining - because of its steep roads. Avoid a rainy day and keep your sneakers dry ! Avoid, as well a day with temperatures above 28 degrees. The ascent to Cristo Rei is quite demanding (3 km. each direction) but you can bypass it by taking bus #101.

Start & End: Praça da Figueira.

The Praça da Figueira (English: Square of the Fig Tree) is a large square in the centre of Lisbon, in the area of the city re-urbanised after the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. In the 16th century the square was occupied by the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos (All-Saints Royal Hospital), the most important in the city. In 1755, after the great earthquake which destroyed most of Lisbon, the hospital was greatly damaged and was demolished around 1775. The large area was turned into an open market square. Around 1885, a large covered market of 8,000 m² was built. This market existed until 1949, when it was demolished. Since then the square has been an open space. This square is a few steps from the Rossio. The Praça da Figueira has a very uniform profile, with four-storey buildings dating from the rebuilding of the Baixa Pombalina. The buildings are occupied by hotels, cafés, and several shops. It is also an important traffic hub, with bus and metro stops. In the square stands a bronze equestrian statue representing King John I (Joao I) (1357-1433):

On the south side, the charming old Confeitaria Nacional was considered to be one of Europe's most elegant pastry shops when it opened in 1829, and still serves some mouth-watering cakes:

The Rossio square is adjacent and west to the Praça da Figueira. Rossio Square is the popular name of the Pedro IV Square (Portuguese: Praça de D. Pedro IV). It has been one of its main squares since the Middle Ages. It has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions.The current name of the Rossio pays homage to Pedro IV, King of Portugal. The Column of Pedro IV is in the middle of the square. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola. Other traditional shops include the Pastelaria Suíça and the Ginjinha, where the typical Lisbon spirit (Ginjinha) can be tasted. The building of the Maria II Theatre and the Public Gardens to the north of the square only made the area more attended by Lisbon high society in the 19th century. Most buildings around the Rossio date from the reconstruction of the Pombaline Downtown carried out after the great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, which leveled most structures in the area, including the magnificent All-Saints Hospital. Only the Palace of the Independence survived the catastrophic earthquake. The rebuilding of the Rossio was undertaken in the second half of the 18th century. After a fire in 1836, the old Inquisition Palace was destroyed. Thanks to the efforts of writer Almeida Garrett, it was decided to build a theatre in its place. The Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, built in the 1840s, was designed by the Italian Fortunato Lodi in neoclassical style. A statue of the renaissance Portuguese playwright Gil Vicente is located over the pediment of the theatre. Ironically, some of Gil Vicente's plays had been censured by the Inquisition back in the 16th century. In the 19th century the Rossio was paved with typical Portuguese mosaic and was adorned with bronze fountains imported from France. The Column of Pedro IV was erected in 1874. At this time the square received its current official name, never accepted by the people. Between 1886 and 1887 another important landmark was built in the square: the Rossio Train Station (Estação de Caminhos de Ferro do Rossio). The Station was built by architect José Luís Monteiro and was an important addition to the infrastructure of the city. Its beautiful neo-Manueline façade dominates the northwest side of the square:

 Rossio with bronze fountain, and the typical Pombaline façades:

The Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, and the statue of the Portuguese playwright Gil Vicente:

Rossio Station. Looking more like a theater or a lavishly adorned palace with horseshoe arched doorways, this monumental Neo-Manueline building located between Rossio and Restauradores squares, was built at a time when train stations were seen as temples of technology:

Praca D. Pedro IV No. 20 house:

Rossio Square - a small fountain:

Leave the Rossio Square in its most southern exit. Turn left (south) onto Rua dos Sapateiros, 15 m. Turn right onto Rua 1º de Dezembro, 55 m. Turn left onto Rua do Carmo:

There are trendy shops of international brands, in this road, and some other traditional and very old ones. One famous shop is the little glove store ‘Luvaria Ulisses’, Rua do Carmo No. 87 A. This very small shop has his own production of tailor made gloves from any design. A real tourist attraction:

Another interesting shop is the "Au bonheur des Dames" (Rua do Carmo 5-7):

Joalharia (Jewelry) do Carmo, Rua do Carmo 87B, is one of the best shops in the city. All the silver pieces are handmade, it’s really worth a visit.

Convento do Carmo from the Rossio Square:

In the end of Rua do Carmo you turn right (west) to Rua Garrett. These elegant streets are lined with old-fashioned shop fronts, now home to Portugal's top fashion designers. There are also well known bookshops, patisseries and cafés. The most famous of these is A Brasileira (Rua Garrett No. 120) once frequented by the poet, Fernando Pessoa. Since the centenary of his birth in 1988, a bronze statue of the poet, in a pensive mood, has been placed at one of the tables on the terrace. But, this site and area are in Chiado, out of Lisbon Baixa. At the moment - return to the Rossio Square. We leave the square at its south-west corner and walk southward along Rua Augusta. This is a lively pedestrian street with mosaic pavements, outdoor cafes, international shops, and the occasional street artist and peddler.

Rua Augusta, Hotel Internacional:

At Rua Augusta No. 267-269 we find the Casa Brsileira. This is a classic coffee shop that serves some of the best coffee in Lisbon, as well as delicious pastries (one of the best pastéis de nata, custard cream tarts, in the city). Great outside seating but be prepared to sit for a while and pay more than Lisbon low price tags. This is one of the oldest coffee shops in the city.

The first turn to the right from Rua Augusta is Rua de Santa Justa. You immediately see the Santa Justa Lift. The Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa) also called Carmo Lift (Elevador do Carmo) - is an elevator/lift. It connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo (Carmo Square). Since its construction, the Lift has become a tourist attraction. Elevador de Santa Justa was inagurated on 10 July 1902 and it is the only vertical lift in Lisbon for public service. It was built by the architect Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard, with a cast iron structure, enriched with filigrana details. In 2002 it was classified as National Monument. Santa Justa is the only remaining vertical lift in Lisbon. Others, including Elevador da Glória and Elevador da Lavra, are funiculars, and the other lift constructed around the same time, the Elevator of São Julião has since been demolished. Price: 5 euros (acquired on site, valid for 2 trips, includes access to the viewpoint). You get a great view of the city and surrounding area from the viewing platform. The trip is free on the Lisbon card and some of the other travel tickets (like the Lisbon 1-day pass, Viva Viagem 24h ticket, which includes all public transportation like trolley, metro, lifts and funicular). The queue can be very long for the amount of time you will spend there though (5 euros for a 1/2 minute elevator ride). Tip: there is also another entrance from the back where you do not need to queue or pay for the lift. Another tip: the view from the top is really nice but you can get similar views for free. Third tip: you can use your bus/tram/metro card for going up, with the additional cost of 1 ticket (in July 2014 - 1.40 euros). Santa Justa Viewpoint Timetable: Everyday: 08.30 - 20.30.

From Rua de Santa Justa take, again, the first turn to the RIGHT to Rua dos Sapateiros. In the 19th century, Baixa was Lisbon’s commercial heart, with streets named according to their trades. Rua dos Sapateiros means ‘the shoemakers’ street. At No. 201restaurant ‘Adega da Mo‘, a typical Portuguese restaurant . Almoçar (lunch): Picanha, (meat from Brazil) is generally considered to be the number one cut, even better than beef fillet. Picanha is melting in your mouth, much better than a steak.  No more than 8 euros, including glass of red wine.

At Rua dos Sapateiros No. 225 you see a charming shop: one of Lisbon’s remaining examples of Art Nouveau. This old movie house, the Animatógrafo , is a strip club nowadays, Lisbon’s earliest cinema hall opened in 1907, by brothers Ernesto and Joaquim Correia Cardoso. It has remained unaltered since then. The beautiful facade is adorned with a highly detailed Art Nouveau style, which consists of Azulejos tiled panels, which depict Edwardian styled females surrounded by fruits and flowers.

We arrive/return to the intersection of this road with the Rossio square. The entrance to the Rua dos Sapateiros is spanned by the decorative arch Arco do Bandeiro. This bears the name of the wealthy sponsor Pires Bandeiro who commissioned it at the end of the 18th C:

Walk, again, along Rua Augusta southward. At No. 245 you'll see Pedemeia, a specializing shop of socks (est.1966). I've seen other branches of this brand/shop in other cities in Portugal:

Along Rua Augusta, at the third turn to the left - you turn to Rua da Vitória. Here, right and left is the Rua dos Correeiros. A splendid road with charming iron terraces. Better, turn right onto Rua dos Correeiros, cross Rua de Sao Nicolau:

Return in Rua dos Correeiros, northward to Rua da Vitória. You can turn right in Rua da Vitória, cross Rua de Prata and Rua dos Douradores to arrive to Elevador de Castelo - to catch a new lift to St. George Castle. But, we turn left in Rua da Vitória to return (turn left), again, to Rua Augusta. Here, we start a pedestrians-only section of Rua Augusta surfaced with nice mosaic pebbles. We cross Rua de Sao Nicolau, R. da Conceicao, R. de Sao Juliao. On our left is Museu do Design e do Moda (MUDE), Rua Augusta 24. FREE entry. This is a lovely museum which at the time of visit was focusing of vintage items. Highly recommend if you are a fan of 1950-1970 years design and fashion. pretty cool and nice-to-remember objects. You can spend here no more than 20-30 minutes.

Photos are allowed ONLY in the 3rd. floor. In this floor, there was a temporary exhibition of André Saraiva, an artist of Portuguese origin, first began his career in the 1980s on the streets of Paris, when he began painting his graffiti on the walls of the city. In the early 1990s, Saraiva created an "alter-ego" named Mr. A – a joyful, energetic stick-figure character with a round head and big smile, who began invading the storefronts, metro stations, postboxes and abandoned buildings of cities across Europe. As Mr. A's travels grew to a global scale, subtle changes to his appearance and attire – a top hat, an X-sha­ped eye, wings, and even a female counterpart – gave depth to Saraiva's character. Never losing his original graphic language, André Saraiva has been exploring other artistic areas, including installations, painting, serigraphy, the creative direction of the L’Officiel Hommes magazineand, more recently, edition, short-films and video:

In the end of Rua Augusta - we arrive to Arco da Rua Augusta. Only 2.50€. Open to the public daily between 09.00 and 19.00. Opening towards the Augusta Street, which links the square with the  Rossio square, The original project by Eugénio dos Santos planned a triumphal arch, only realized in 1875. This arch, usually called the Arco da Rua Augusta, was designed by Veríssimo da Costa. The four statues over the columns, made by Victor Bastos, represent Nuno Alvares Pereira and Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal (who conducted the reconstruction of Lisbon after the 1755 great earthquake which destroyed most of the city) on the right, and Vasco da Gama and Viriatus on the left. The two recumbent figures represent the rivers Tagus and Douro. Originally designed as a bell tower, the building ultimately transformed into elaborate arch within more than century-long delays.

The Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) is located near the Tagus river. The square is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square), Because it was the location of the Paços da Ribeira (Royal Ribeira Palace) until it was destroyed by the great 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. After the earthquake, the square was completely remodeled as part of the rebuilding of the Pombaline Downtown, ordered by Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo - the 1st Marquis of Pombal, who was the Minister of the Kingdom of Portugal from 1750 to 1777, during the reign of Dom José (Joao) I, King of Portugal. On 1 November 1755, during the reign of King Dom José I, a great earthquake followed by a tsunami and fire destroyed most of Lisbon, including the Ribeira Palace and other buildings by the river. José I's Prime Minister, the Marquis of Pombal, coordinated a massive rebuilding effort of Portuguese architect Eugénio dos Santos. He designed a large, rectangular square in the shape of a "U", open towards the Tagus. The buildings have galleries on their ground floors, and the arms of the "U" end in two large towers, reminiscent of the monumental tower of the destroyed Ribeira Palace, still vivid in the architectonic memory of the city. His plan was realized almost completely, although decorative details were changed and the east tower of the square and the Augusta Street Arch were only finished in the 19th century. On 1 February 1908, the square was the scene of the assassination of Carlos I, the penultimate King of Portugal. On their way back from the palace of Vila Viçosa to the royal palace in Lisbon, the carriage with Carlos I and his family passed through the Terreiro do Paço. While crossing the square, shots were fired from the crowd by at least two men: Alfredo Luís da Costa and Manuel Buiça. The king died immediately, his heir Luís Filipe was mortally wounded, and Prince Manuel was hit in the arm. The assassins were shot on the spot by members of the bodyguard and later recognized as members of the Republican Party – which two years later overthrew the Portuguese monarchy. The square was named Praça do Comércio, the Square of Commerce, to indicate its new function in the economy of Lisbon. On the north side is a triumphal arch and one of the city's legendary cafes, Café Martinho da Arcada. It dates from 1782 and was a favorite of poets Fernando Pessoa and Almeida Garrett and of novelist Eça de Queiroz.  The city's main tourism office is located in one of the classical building on the west side the square. Here visitors can request information about the city. The symmetrical buildings of the square were filled with government bureaus that regulated customs and port activities. Most of the government offices that once surrounded the square have now been taken over by restaurants with outdoor tables and there's a modern interactive museum called "Lisboa Story Centre" dedicated to the history of the city.

The main piece of the ensemble was the equestrian statue of King José I, inaugurated in 1775 in the centre of the square. This bronze statue, the first monumental statue dedicated to a King in Lisbon, was designed by Joaquim Machado de Castro, Portugal's foremost sculptor of the time. The statue of King Jose I is showing him on horseback, wearing his emperor's mantle, and measuring 14 meters in height counting from the pedestal. This square is so vast ! I've learned this is the biggest "plaza" in Europe. It is relaxing place and the square never feels overcrowded (maybe only in August). The architecture is grand and impressive with the sun shining off the polished floor and the yellow color of the buildings is dominant:

Statue of King José I, in the Commerce Square, by Machado de Castro (1775). The King on his horse is symbolically crushing snakes on his path:

Walking along the promenade and watch the ocean and along the water front of Tagus River is far more pleasant than through the city. So we head along the river coast WESTWARD (with our face to the water - we turn RIGHT). First, along Avenida Ribeira das Naus - and here the seafront is neglected - although it is quite pleasant around.

Here, you see the back side of the government buildings - when you stand on wood bridges built along the river front:

View of the Baixa quarter (to the North) from the Ribeira das Naus promenade:

It is a short walk to Cais do Sodre. The "Wharf of Sodré" is a terminal of the ferries that link Lisbon to Cacilhas and Almada across the river, and is also a train and metro station as well as a major bus stop. To the west of the square is a huge dome under which stands the city's main food market, Mercado da Ribeira, and next to it is another square, Praça de Dom Luis. It is filled with palms and other trees, and is overlooked by a 19th century statue of the Marquis of Sá da Bandeira. Rua Nova do Carvalho behind the market was for decades known as the city's "red light district" with bars named after northern European capitals to attract their sailors who stepped off their boats here. It's now a seedy-chic street lined with hip bars and clubs that become especially crowded after 2AM when the bars in Bairro Alto start to close.

As you approach the Cais do Sodre terminal of the ferries - you see this collection of gardening containers. A good idea:

Trafaria Praia, the ferries terminal from Lisbon to Cacilhas across the Tagus river:

A nice statue opposite the terminal:

Now, we'll take all these pieces of information and create an original and budget idea for lunch. Go to the terminal ticket office and buy round trip ferry ticket to Cacilhas (1.20 euros for round-trip ticket). If you show your (chargeable) Viva/Metro ticket - you can save 0,50 euros for a NEW chargeable ticket (in this case - a ferry ticket). In the meantime, cross the road and walk north in the direction of the Cais do Sodre Metro station and enter the huge supermarket (Pingo Doce) there. Find the meat department there, take a numbered ticket for queuing-up. Buy your lunch, a grilled half-chicken in 0.50 euros (!!!). You can fuel yourself with fresh vegetables and fruits (washing them in the supermarket or terminal facilities) Take the packaged grilled chicken to the river front, find a quiet place and enjoy this top quality ready-made food with the ocean breeze. Another option is to dine in one of the restaurants in Cacilhas (see later). The ferry to Cacilhas leaves, punctually, at time. Here some views from the ferry to the southern coast of Lisbon, to Cacilhas and Cristo Rei and Ponte 25 de Abril:

The ferry ride from Lisbon's Cais do Sodré station across the river takes 10 minutes arriving to Cacilhas, a district of the city of Almada. Cacilhas is a picturesque neighborhood of Lisbon in the banks of the river best known by its Cervejarias (traditional beer houses) also offering shellfish, seafood, and fresh fish:

It is there, in Cacilhas, that you get a complete view of Lisbon's skyline, from Alfama to Belém, and where tourists hop on bus 101 to the Monument to Christ from where there are even more breathtaking views. The bus stop for bus 101 to Cristo Rei is near the lighthouse - the second last bus stop. The bus comes every '00' & '30' of the hour. Keep your bus ticket to show the driver for the return bus ride. Approximately 15 minutes bus ride to reach Cristo Rei (the last stop). Look out for the return bus schedule when you reach the Cristo Rei bus stop so that you won't miss the last bus. We opt to do the whole way to Cristo Rei on foot along an astonishing (and a bit demanding) route. With our back to the river, in Cacilhas river front, we turn to the RIGHT, to the west. We walk westward along Rua Ginjal (direction of the huge, remote Ponte 25 de Abril). You pass along rusy, neglected platforms, full with old, decaying Azulejos tiles. Abandoned and ruinous old warehouses in Cacilhas, Lisbon on the other side of the river Tagus:

On the riverfront in Cacilhas are restaurants known for their fresh fish and tables placed outside to offer views of Lisbon. "Atira-te ao Rio" (which means ‘throw yourself into the river’) and "Ponto Final" (Brasilian restaurant and a perfect romantic location for a great dinner overlooking Lisbon by night) are the two favorites. In the back is Elevador (Elevator) Panoramico Boca do Vento - leading to Cristo Rei:

The road/path leads to the Elevador Panoramico Boca do Vento. From there you get a splendid view to Ponte 25 de Abril:

If you continue along the path, from the elevator, more westward - you arrive to the Museu Naval (not much to see...). Again, a nice view to the giant bridge:

We do recommend you to take a stroll around the elevator entrance. There is a wide garden around - Jardim do Rio:

The view from the Elevador Panoramico Boca do Vento is breathtaking:

You pay 2 euros for a round trip with the elevator. We recommend paying one-way only. Ring the bell and the person who is responsible for operating this elevator will come within 1-2 minutes. It is a 20-30 minutes walk to Cristo Rei. It might be quite exausting in a very hot day. Just follow the signposts of Cristo Rei. Getting to the Cristo Rei statue is a journey in itself and one that every visitor to Lisbon should make at least once. You pass the following roads: Rua Latino Coelho, Largo Jose Alaiz.

Turn right to Rua D. Alvavo, Abranches da Camora (climb up). You arrive to Semipario (cross-lights) Maior de San Paulo. Turn left to Rua Francisco Fereira. To your right a wall of 2 m. height. Walk along the wall, the road bends right. Walk along the white wall. In house No. 84 take the stairs and turn right climbing in Rua Melvin Jones. Bend right with the steep road, on your right a school and orange wall and, later, metal green bench. Enter, the garden on your right. You've arrived to Cristo Rei (Christ the King). You see the giant statue/monument from its back:

The Cristo Rei statue is a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ.It was inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), after the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon visited that monument. The project was inaugurated on 17 May 1959, at a time when Portugal was being ruled by the authoritarian President António de Oliveira Salazar.The giant statue in cement was erected to express gratitude because the Portuguese were spared the effects of World War II. The monument is erected on an isolated clifftop 133 metres above the sea, overlooking the Tagus River left margin. it is now located within the parish of Almada, in the municipality of the same name. It is the highest point in the municipality of Almada, on a plateau dominated by the 25 de Abril Bridge. It is accessible from Lisbon by car (over the 25 de Abril Bridge east of the crossing), by train through station in Pragal and by ferry (the Cacilheiro) over the Tagus, through the port of Cacilhas in Almada. the statue is 79.30 metres in height, and overlooks the Tagus (192 metres above the river). In the interior of two of the pillars is an elevator system with access to the terrace. The statue is 79.30 metres in height, The Cristo Rei statue stands with open arms in a symbolic gesture, dominating the city’s skyline. The views from the statue are as breathtaking as the views of it, with the sweeping panorama taking in the banks of the Tagus River, the 25 de Abril Bridge that crosses it, and the rooftops and spires of the Lisbon skyline beyond. The elevator to the top of the Cristo Rei monument is open from 09.30 - 18.15. It costs 5 euros. Do take note that the lift only brings you to a certain level. You will need to climb some stairs in order to reach the top. Also, it gets very windy at the top. However, there are also fantastic views from the base for those who don't want to head up top. There are small cafes available at the Cristo Rei park providing a quick refreshing drink on a hot day or a hot cup of coffee on a cold or windy day.

To the south of the Cristo Rei monument is the Sanctuary building (Santurio Nacional de Cristo Rei), comprising a rectangular body of three wings, with facades covered in masonry brick:

The Sanctuario (Sanctuary) interior:

The outstretched arms of the Christ the King monument, projected towards the city of Lisbon:

At the base of the statue is the public observation deck, at 82 metres (269 ft) that offers panoramic views of the city of Lisbon, the Tagus River and of the 25 de Abril Bridge.

Under the statue, occupying a fifth of the pedestal's height is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Paz (Our Lady of Peace) with entrance to the northern facade.

The Holy Virgin statue opposite the Cristo Rei monument:

The main visitors entrance to the National Shrine of Christ the King:

A sweeping view of the city and Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge) from the base of the 82m high monument (from south to north):

We exit the National Sanctuary of Christ the King from its southern entrance/exit to Av. Cristo Rei. It is 3 km. walk down to the Cacilhas pier. You can go back to the Cacilhas ferry terminal by bus # 101. Turn left onto Av. Cristo Rei, 1.1 km. Turn left onto Av. Dom Nuno Álvares Pereira, 650 m. Slight left onto Praça Movimento das Forças Armadas
40 m:

Slight left onto Av. Dom Afonso Henriques, 350 m. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Rua Dona Maria da Silva, 72 m. Slight right onto Rua Comandante António Feio, 350 m. Continue onto Largo Bombeiros Voluntários, 37 m. Continue onto Rua Cândido dos Reis. THe Cacilhas pier will be on your left. But wait ! Near the pier there is a marvelous old frigate: Fragata Don Ferdinnado II e Gloria. This is a beautifully restored frigate and well worth, for its own, the inexpensive and quick crossing to Cacilhas. It has a great history defending Portugese trade routes along the coast of Africa and India. Well worth visit, but be aware it is closed on Mondays. The entry fee is only 3 Euro to this wonderful old ship. you can easily spend an hour here. Once inside you will have a good insight into life on a warship in the 19th century:

We are back in Cacilhas pier to take the ferry back to Lisbon Casis Do Sodre area:

Exiting the ferry terminal building in Cais do Sodre and your back to the river and your face to the Metro station there - turn right to the EAST along Rua Cais Sodre. You arrive to Jardim de Roque Gameiro. A municipal garden in a bad state.

«Ao Leme» ("At the Helm"), sculpture by Francisco Santos inaugurated in 1915, symbolizes what is missing in this garden:

Walk eastward back to Praca de Comercio. Exit the famous square from its north-east corner and continue along Rua da Alfândega. Turn RIGHT to Rua dos Arameiros to take photos of these marvelous houses north - to a small garden:

Return to bustling Rua da Alfândega to catch photos of strange types of vehicles rushing along this packed road:

Continue eastward to see, on your left, the Casa dos Bicos - Fundacao Jose Saramago. The house, built in the early 16th century in the Alfama neighbourhood, has a curious façade of Renaissance and Manueline influence. It survived the disastrous 1755 Lisbon Earthquake that destroyed much of the city. In 2012 the José Saramago Foundation established its permanent office in the Casa dos Bicos, due to an agreement with Lisbon's Council.[1] The José Saramago Foundation offers to visitors a permanent exhibition titled The Seed and the Fruits about the life and work of José Saramago. Some other cultural events are also celebrated such as book releases, theater plays, talks and debates:

Lisbon - An outstanding historical house adjacent to Casa dos Bicos - Fundação José Saramago:

On your left there are stairs leading (north) to Rua de São João da Praça. In Rua de São João da Praça turn LEFT and walk along this road (WESTWARD). THe road changes its name to Cruzes da Se'. Do not miss the Azulejos in house # 15 in  Rua de São João da Praça (on your left):

A bit before arriving to the Largo de Se' you see the walls of the Sé de Lisboa - Lisbon Cathedral. Lisbon's ancient cathedral was built by Portugal's first king on the site of an old mosque in 1150 for the city's first bishop, the English crusader Gilbert of Hastings. From outside (with two bell towers and a splendid rose window) it resembles a medieval fortress, while inside it appears predominantly Romanesque, with a Gothic choir and ambulatory. Since the beginning of the construction of the cathedral, in the year 1147, the building has been modified several times and survived many earthquakes. It is nowadays a mix of different architectural styles. The main façade of the cathedral looks like a fortress, with two towers flanking the entrance. It is a relic from the Reconquista period, when the cathedral could be used as a base to attack the enemy during a siege:

Gothic vault of the ambulatory and upper row of windows:

Gothic cloister with each column over the twin arches that has a different pattern:

Gothic tomb of knight Lopo Pacheco in the ambulatory of Lisbon Cathedral:


Light gets in through the rose windows of the West façade and transept, the narrow windows of the lateral aisles of the nave as well as the windows of the lantern tower of the transept. Rose Window:

Chapel of Sao Bartholomeu. Pictures from the 14th and 18th centuries:

Note also the Azulejos in the Baptismal Font chapel.


Sé de Lisboa - Lisbon Cathedral - the Organ:

Stained Glass Window:

view of the Tagus river:

Exit the Cathedral and turn left (WESTWARD) along Rua Augusta Rosa, and later, along Rua das Pedras Negras. In the end of this road turn right to Rua da Madalena. The road climbs and, then, slopes down and we arrive back to Praca da Figueira. In the far (north-east) corner we see Saint-George Castle.