Lisbon Sightseeing

Lisbon Sightseeing

You could spend your entire citybreak Lisbon only with sightseeing. Lisbon has so many interesting tourist attractions, a short citybreak will not be enough to discover it all. Climb up the hill in the Alfama district to visit the Castelo São Jorge, experience the authentic ambiance of Lisbon at one of the big squares, take a rest in the shade of the trees at the Avenida the Liberdade or visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site near the river Tagus with the unique Jerónimos Monastery and the Belém Tower. Here you read more about the most important tourist attractions in Lisbon.

Castelo de São Jorge

High on the hill in the Alfama district you will find the Castelo de São Jorge. Here you can enjoy the most beautiful view over the city centre of Lisbon and the river Tagus. The castle has been occupied by different nations and tribes like the Visigoths, the Moors and the Christians. Between the 14th and 16th century the Castelo de São Jorge served as the Royal Palace. Unfortunately it got destroyed during the earthquake of 1755 and was not restored until 1938. Are you in for some good exercise? Than you can climb the hill to the castle and experience on your way up the great nostalgic atmosphere of the Alfama district. But it’s also a unique experience to take one of the historic yellow trams.

Santa Engrácia

The Santa Engrácia or the National Pantheon is one of the tourist attractions in Lisbon you shouldn’t miss. It’s one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The Santa Engrácia church is designed by João Antunes. The construction of the church started in 1682, but when the architect died in 1712 nobody finished his work until in the 20th century. The Santa Engrácia was officially inaugurated in 1966 as the National Pantheon. Various important Portuguese personalities are buried here, like the famous fado singer Amália Rodrigues, the writers Almeida Garrett and João de Deus and the former presidents of the republic Manuel de Arriaga and Teófilo Braga.

The Sé in Lisbon

The Sé, which literally means ‘cathedral’, is often used as the symbol of Lisbon. This remarkable church is located in the Alfama district and replaces an older mosque. The construction of the church was commissioned by Portugal’s first king D. Afonso Henriques in 1150. The Sé suffered a lot from different earthquakes and was restored various times. During the earthquake of 1755 the bell tower collapsed. The façade of the church is decorated with two beautiful towers with in the middle an impressive rose window. The interior is designed in a Romanesque style with some gothic elements. Here you will also find the casket with the remains of the patron saint of Lisbon St. Vincent.

Praça do Comércio

The Praça do Comércio is one of the most important squares of Lisbon near the river
Tagus. Before the earthquake of 1755 the Royal Palace was situated here. After this big disaster the Marquis of Pombal ordered to rebuilt the square, but without the Royal Palace. The new square was designed by the architect Eugénio dos Santos. The symmetrical buildings surrounding the square became home to government bureaus to control the customs and port activities. Because of these economic activities the square was named Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square). Nowadays the port moved to another place along the river. The impressive arch at the north side of the square gives entrance to the city centre. In the middle of the Praça do Comércio stands the equestrian statue of King José I.


The Rossio square is the true heart of Lisbon and is an important meeting spot for the ‘Lisboetas’. This square in the middle of the city centre is surrounded by lots of cafés and restaurants. In earlier days it was used for bullfights, military parades and festivals. The most important building at the square is the Dona Maria II National Theatre, which is built in a beautiful neoclassic style. In the middle of the Rossio square stands a 27 meter high monument dedicated to King Pedro IV. On each side of the moment you will find a wonderful baroque fountain.

Elevador de Santa Justa

A little bit hidden in the city centre near the Rossio square in the Santa Justa Street you will discover the extraordinary elevator of Santa Justa. This neoclassical tower was built by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard, a pupil of Gustave Eiffel. The resemblance in style is remarkably clear. The elevator will bring you 45 meters up to the Carmo Square where you can visit the ruins of the Carmo Convent, where the impact of the earthquake of 1755 still is visible today.

Avenida da Liberdade

The Avenida da Liberdade or Avenue of Freedom is one of the most important avenues in the centre of Lisbon. It connects the Marquis of Pombal Square with the Restauradores Square. The Avenida da Liberdade dates back to 1755 when the Marquis of Pombal reconstructed the city centre after the devastating earthquake. On both sides of the Avenida da Liberdade lies a promenade in the shade of big trees and with beautiful little fountains and some sculptures. The Avenida da Liberdade is also known for its luxurious hotels and expensive designer shops.

Praça dos Restauradores

The obelisk in the center of the Praça dos Restauradores reminds of the restoration of the Portuguese independence in 1640 after 60 years of Spanish rule. The Praça dos Restauradores is surrounded by some important and eye-catching buildings like the Eden Theatre, which was built around 1930 and the beautiful Pálacio Foz.

Monument of Discoveries

This impressive monument that watches over the river Tagus was inaugurated in 1960 to celebrate the 500 year anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. But it also glorifies the Portuguese voyages of exploration. The monument is designed in the shape of a caravel with Henry the Navigator on the prow with in his hands a small caravel. But you can also discover other sculptures of important Portuguese historical figures like Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, Fernão Magalhães, Luís de Camões and Afonso V of Portugal.

Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery was built in 1502 on the site of a former chapel. King Manuel I commissioned the building of an enormous monastery to celebrate Vasco da Gama´s discovery of the sea route to India. The Jerónimos Monastery is often referred to as the most beautiful example of the famous late-gothic Manuel style. In 1983 it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Therefore the Jerónimos Monastery is of one of the true ‘must sees’ in Lisbon. First of all you will be overwhelmed by the magnificent decorated entrance, but inside more surprises will reveal themselves to you. Inside the monastery you will find the tombs of different important Portuguese personalities and you can have a look at the spacious interior of the church. But also the amazing cloisters will grab your attention. Each column is decorated with the finest carvings of sea monsters, corals and other sea motifs.

Belém Tower

The Belém Tower is built between 1515 and 1521 in order of Manuel I. It’s a fortified tower at the bank or the river Tagus to defend Lisbon and to commemorate the successes of the Portuguese voyages of exploration. Together with the Jerónimos Monastery it is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 5-story tower can be visited and will give you a wide view over the river Tagus.

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