City Orientation Walking Tour, Lisbon (Self Guided)

Lisbon is renowned for its architectural splendor presented in many of the old and modern buildings, as well as recognized cultural heritage carefully preserved in museums and art galleries. This tour will help you explore three most centrally located districts of Lisbon: Chiado, Baixa and Bairro Alto. These “bairros” or neighborhoods carry great historical, cultural and social significance and are the best places to see the Lisbon life in vivo.
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City Orientation Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walking Tour
Guide Location: Portugal » Lisbon (See other walking tours in Lisbon)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km
Author: ray
1
Praca do Comercio

1) Praca do Comercio

Regarded as the Gateway to Lisbon and Portugal, the Praca Do Comercio was once the main commercial hub of the city where the wealth from the colonies was brought to enrich the city and the country. It is a large U shaped square facing the Tagus River.

The Praca Do Comercio is popularly known as Terriero do Paco or Palace Square. This is because it is on the site of the former royal Ribeira Palace. The palace and surrounding buildings were completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. The area was rebuilt as a square under the aegis of Marquis of Pombal. The square was renamed Praça do Comércio, the Square of Commerce, to indicate its new role in the economy of Lisbon. Architect, Euginio dos Santos designed the square in a U shape. The open end of the U shape faces the river and a large tower marks each end of the U. A large sculpture stands at the center of the square with the figures of Vasco da Gama and the marquis of Pombal among others. When Portugal was a flourishing colonial power, all government and port offices and commercial buildings were located around the square.

Today, the tourist office is located at the Placa Do Comercio. It is also the site of the oldest café in Lisbon, the Martinho da Arcada a well known meeting place of artists, writers and politicians.
2
MUDE – Design and Fashion Museum

2) MUDE – Design and Fashion Museum (must see)

Editor's Note: The museum building is temporarily closed for works of integral rehabilitation. While the works take place they continue to develop a cultural and exhibition program in the city and in the country, that they call MUDE OUTSIDE.

"Mude" which means "change" in Portuguese is the name given to the Design and Fashion Museum in Lisbon that boasts an impressive collection of design & fashion classics from the 1930s to the present.

MUDE is located in the Palacio Verride, an 18th-century palace that later became a bank. The old vault of the bank that was installed nearly 80 years ago is still located in the basement. It became the Design and Fashion Museum in 2009. In keeping with its name, exhibits at MUDE keep changing with new themes and new design displays at different times.

The collection consists of works of over 230 designers from all over the world. A notable collection is that of Portuguese businessman, Francisco Capelo that includes 1200 dresses including the Jean Desses gown worn by Renée Zellweger to the 2001 Oscars and the 1947 New Look gown by Christian Dior. There is all an impressive collection of furnishings, jewelry and glass in addition to clothes. The underground vault and 2nd floor host temporary changing exhibitions while the ground floor has displays of experimental and iconic clothing, furnishings and household objects. Visitors can view the creations of some of the best-known names in the fashion business including Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
3
Santa Justa Lift

3) Santa Justa Lift

The Santa Justa Lift is a lift in the city of Lisbon situated at the end of Rua de Santa Justa. It connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo. The Santa Justa Lift was designed by Raul Mesnier de Ponsard. Construction began in 1900 and was finished in 1902; originally powered by steam, it was converted to electrical operation in 1907. The iron lift is decorated in neogothicstyle, with a different pattern on each storey. The top storey is reached by helicoidal staircases and has a terrace that offers views of Lisbon Castle, the Rossio Square and the Baixa neighbourhood. There are two lift cages, each with a wooden interior and accommodation for a maximum of 20 passengers. The lift has become a tourist attraction in Lisbon as, among the urban lifts in Lisbon, Santa Justa is the only vertical one.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Chafariz do Carmo

4) Chafariz do Carmo

The Chafariz do Carmo is one of the several public fountains built in the city throughout the 15th-18th centuries to solve the acute problem of water supply. One of the most remarkable fountains, it is located in Largo do Carmo, beside the convent of the same name. Built in 1769, it was designed by Field Marshal Don Miguel Angelo de Blasco. The fountain is enclosed within a porch supported by four majestic pillars and was built on an aqueduct that carried water to the city.
5
Carmo Archaeological Museum

5) Carmo Archaeological Museum (must see)

The Carmo Convent that was home to Carmelite nuns was ruined by the devastating earthquake that shook Lisbon in 1755. The ruined structure stands atop a hillock overlooking the busy Rossio Square and faces the Lisbon Castle Hill. A well-known knight, Nuno Álvares Pereira, who was the Supreme Commander of the Army next to the King commissioned the building of the Carmo Convent in 1389. Carmelite nuns from Moura in southern Portugal were its first residents. At the time it was the largest convent in Lisbon. After the earthquake, the ruined Gothic structure was put to many uses. It became military barracks and later wood was stored in the building.

During the Carnation Revolution, it was the place of refuge of Marcelo Caetano, the successor of the dictatorial president, Antonio de Oliviera Salazar, and those loyal to him. He was later deposed, ending over half a century of authoritarian rule in Portugal. Today, the nave and apse of the Carmo Church are the setting for a small archaeological museum, with pieces from all periods of Portuguese history. The nave has a series of tombs, fountains, windows and other architectural relics from different places and styles. The old apse chapels are also used as exhibition rooms. One of them houses notable pre-historical objects excavated from a fortification near Azambuja (3500–1500 BC).

Why You Should Visit:
Beautiful remains, perfect for pictures against the blue sky, but fascinating to experience during the sunset as well.
A charming and novel way to appreciate architecture, history and art in one setting.
There are lots of interesting artifacts inside with a sense of local history.
You also have a terrace right behind and the view is breathtaking!

Tip:
If you're looking for a way to get back down the hill into Lisbon your best bet is to take the Santa Justa elevator which can be accessed by a footbridge through the Bellavista restaurant just to the right of the convent.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm (Oct-May); 10am-7pm (Jun-Sep)
Closed: Sundays, January 1, May 1 and December 25
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Church of Saint Roch

6) Church of Saint Roch (must see)

The Church of Saint Roch (Portuguese: Igreja de São Roque) was the earliest Jesuit church in the Portuguese world and one of the first Jesuit churches anywhere. It served as the Society’s home church in Portugal for over 200 years, before the Jesuits were expelled from the country. After the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the church and its ancillary residence were given to the Lisbon Holy House of Mercy to replace their church and headquarters which had been destroyed. It remains a part of the Holy House of Mercy today, one of its many heritage buildings.

The Igreja de São Roque was one of the few buildings in Lisbon to survive the earthquake relatively unscathed. When built in the 16th century it was the first Jesuit church designed in the “auditorium-church” style specifically for preaching. It contains a number of chapels, most in the Baroque style of the early 17th century. The most notable chapel is the 18th-century Chapel of St. John the Baptist, a project by Nicola Salvi and Luigi Vanvitelli constructed in Rome of many precious stones and disassembled, shipped, and reconstructed in São Roque; at the time it was reportedly the most expensive chapel in Europe.

Why You Should Visit:
One of the most stunning churches you can see in Lisbon, though perhaps it can feel a bit too high baroque in places.
The ceiling is covered with a massive painting and there are four chapels on each side, all of which are ornately decorated.

Tip:
If you have the time, visit the adjacent museum which contains a decent collection of religious paintings, garments and beautiful chalices and other silverware.

Opening Hours:
(Church) Daily: 9:30am-5pm
(Museum) Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

7) Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara (must see)

The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is a small well laid-out park that serves as one of the many viewpoints found around Lisbon. It offers a spectacular view over the central part of the city especially St. George Castle and the Graca Hills.

The Miraduoro is laid in two levels. It has a map made of tiles to help visitors in spotting landmarks they see from the viewpoint on the horizon. The upper part of the park has a fountain and a monument in honor of Eduardo Coelho, the founder of ‘Diario de Noticias’ newspaper. Near the monument is the figure of an Ardina or newspaper boy who sold the paper in the streets of Lisbon. At the lower level, there are flower beds and busts of famous Portuguese heroes, Greek Gods like the Goddess Minerva and heroes like Ulysses. There is also a beautiful small waterfall built into a walled archway in this part of the garden.

The park has benches where visitors can relax and take in the view and a small café serving refreshments. The Port Wine Institute lies opposite the Miraduoro where visitors can sample over 300 different types of port.

Why You Should Visit:
Truly a gorgeous sight overlooking the old city, including the castle and many of the points of interest.
8
Restauradores Square

8) Restauradores Square

Restauradores Square is a public square in the city of Lisbon. It is located at the southeast end of Avenida da Liberdade, near Rossio square. The square is dedicated to the restoration of the independence of Portugal in 1640, after 80 years of Spanish domination. The obelisk in the middle of the square, inaugurated in 1886, carries the names and dates of the battles fought during the Portuguese Restoration War, in 1640. The monument was designed by António Tomás da Fonseca, with statues symbolising "Independence" and "Victory" by sculptors Simões de Almeida and Alberto Nunes. The rectangular square is surrounded by 19th and early 20th century buildings. The most remarkable are the Palácio Foz, a palace built between the 18th and 19th centuries and boasting magnificently decorated interiors, and the old Éden Cinema (now a hotel), with a beautiful Art Deco façade dating from the 1930s, a work by architect Cassiano Branco.
Sight description based on wikipedia
9
Rossio Square

9) Rossio Square (must see)

The Rossio Square is one of the main squares in Lisbon from the middle ages. It is a popular meeting place for locals and visitors to Lisbon for centuries and some of the surrounding cafes date back to the 18th century.

Rossio is the popular name for the Pedro IV Square in honor of Pedro IV, the King of Portugal and the first Emperor of Brazil. His statue is placed on a column at the center of the square. The name "rossio" is roughly equivalent to the word "commons" in English and refers to a commonly owned terrain. Around 1450, the Palace of Estaus, destined to house foreign dignitaries and noblemen visiting Lisbon, was built on the north side of the square. After the Inquisition was installed in Lisbon, the Palace of Estaus became its seat, and the Rossio was frequently used as a setting for public executions. The first auto-da-fé took place in 1540. It has also been the site of bullfights, revolts and celebrations.

Today, the Rosseo square is a pleasant place where locals and visitors come for a stroll, for browsing in the surrounding quaint shops or for a drink at the many cafes that offer outdoor seating. It is paved with cobblestones in wave patterns, a paving style used in Portugal and many of its colonies. There are two baroque fountains on either side of the square and at the site of the former inquisition palace is the Dona Maria II National Theatre.

Why You Should Visit:
It may not have many places to sit and relax, but you can sit all day long in it and not get bored.

Tip:
The place looks active always, but if you have time, visit at night. The fountains are lit, and the crowd can be a bit livelier, too!
While there, be sure to check out the elaborate facade and striking horseshoe entry arches of the nearby Rossio train station.
10
Figueira Square

10) Figueira Square

Figueira Square is a large open space in the center of Lisbon which also serves as a major traffic hub. It is surrounded by quaint and historic cafes, hotels and shops.

Figueira Square means Fig Tree Square. It was once the location of the Hospital Real de Todos os Santos (All Saints Royal Hospital). The hospital existed at the site from the 15th century till 1755 when a devastating earthquake destroyed almost all the buildings in Lisbon. It was demolished and a large covered market was built at the location. The market was taken down in 1949 and the site remains an open square since.

Today, Figueira Square is surrounded by uniform four storied buildings. A bronze statue of King Joao I by sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida was erected at the center in 1971 and relocated to a corner of the square in the year 2000. The sculpture has medallions and effigies of the revolutionaries, Nuno Alvares Pariera and Joao Das Regras who helped King Joao I seize power in 1385. A historic café called the Pastelarica Suica and one of Europe’s most elegant pastry shops, the Confeitaria Nacional that has served customers delicious cakes from 1829 are located around Figueira Square.
11
São Jorge Castle

11) São Jorge Castle (must see)

The São Jorge Castle occupies a commanding position overlooking the city of Lisbon and the broad Tagus River beyond. The strongly-fortified citadel, which, in its present configuration, dates from medieval times, is located atop the highest hill in the historic center of the city. The castle is one of the main historical and touristic sites of Lisbon. The castle's footprint is roughly square in shape, and it was originally encircled by a wall, to form a citadel.

The castle complex consists of the castle proper (the castelejo), some ancillary buildings (including the ruins of the royal palace), gardens, and a large terraced square from which impressive panoramas of Lisbon are afforded. The main entrance to the citadel is a 19th-century gate surmounted by the coat-of-arms of Portugal, the name of Queen Maria II, and the date, 1846.

Why You Should Visit:
By far the best views of Lisbon and can be a very peaceful place first thing in the morning.
There is also a permanent exhibition worth looking at, as well as a Camera Obscura in one of the Moorish towers (shows every 20min with languages rotating between English/Portuguese/Spanish).

Tip:
Do come early to not only avoid the crowds (the tour groups start pouring in around 10:30am) but also for the best light – the sun is behind you as you look over central Lisbon.
Wander the terrace of the lower fortifications, then enter the Moorish inner castle to walk the ramparts for even better views.
Sight description based on wikipedia
12
Lisbon Cathedral

12) Lisbon Cathedral (must see)

The Lisbon Cathedral also called the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major is the oldest church in the city and the seat of the Archbishop of Lisbon. The building has a mixture of architectural styles caused by several modifications to its structure through the ages.

The Lisbon Cathedral was first constructed in 1147. It was built on the site of a Moorish Mosque after the conquest of Lisbon by Christian forces under King Afonso Henriquez. The first structure was constructed in Romanesque style. The relics of St. Vincent of Saragossa, the patron saint of Lisbon were brought from Southern Portugal and placed in the Cathedral during this time. The building suffered extensive damage during the many devastating earthquakes that rocked Lisbon. The present cathedral was rebuilt in the 20th century giving the structure a predominantly medieval appearance. The façade has imposing towers like a fortress. This style is used in many Portuguese churches of the period of the Christian conquest when they were used as a military base from which attacks on enemies were launched.

Two noteworthy chapels within the church are the chapel of St. Ildefonso that has a carved sculpture of one of the first Portuguese Ambassadors, Lopo Fernandez Pacheco with a dog at his feet and the Chapel dedicated to San Antonio de Padua who was born in Lisbon. Archeological excavations in the courtyard have unearthed several objects from the Visigothic, Roman and Moorish periods.

Tip:
Free entry to the Cathedral and you can also enter the Treasury for a few € during the hours of 10am-5pm (note that it's closed on Sundays).

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-7pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Lisbon, Portugal

Create Your Own Walk in Lisbon

Create Your Own Walk in Lisbon

Creating your own self-guided walk in Lisbon is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Alfama Walking Tour

Alfama Walking Tour

Alfama is the oldest district in Lisbon, whose name derives from the Arabic “Al-hamma” and means "hot fountains" or "baths". The district is a home to numerous historic attractions, including former royal residence - the medieval São Jorge (Saint George) Castle, as well as numerous churches, of which the most prominent is Lisbon Cathedral, oldest in the city, and the Santa...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 km
Parque das Nacoes Walking Tour

Parque das Nacoes Walking Tour

Parque das Nações, often referred to by locals as “Expo”, is a commercial and residential area in Lisbon which gained popularity and underwent tremendous transformation in the late 1990s as a site of the World Expo 1998. Many attractions were built here during that time, including the Oceanarium (the world's biggest), Science Museum, Vasco da Gama Tower, Vasco da Gama Bridge and others....  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.3 km
Alfama & Baixa Souvenir Shops

Alfama & Baixa Souvenir Shops

It would be a pity to leave Lisbon without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Lisbon, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. Take this tour to explore Alfama and Baixa districts souvenir shops.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.1 km
Madragoa Nightlife

Madragoa Nightlife

Lisbon is a great place for partying and is one of Europe's best clubbing cities. You can choose from the eighties hip-hop to hard rock, from dancing to house or to the tunes of a live band. The usual practice in Lisbon is to go pub hopping, have a fulfilling dinner and then move on to the dance floor. The club scene really starts around 2 am and continues until dawn. This guide introduces...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 km
Self-Guided Tour of Lisbon Museums

Self-Guided Tour of Lisbon Museums

As expected of any European capital city with a rich history, Lisbon has numerous museums. They offer excellent insight into the past and have a rich collection of art: sculpture and paintings. Among the many popular museums and galleries in Lisbon, some are quite unique and not to be missed. Take this tour to visit the most important museums in Lisbon.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Amoreiras Walking Tour

Amoreiras Walking Tour

Amoreiras is a modern comfortable and beautiful Lisbon District, located in the north-western part of the city. Take this tour to walk along the Rue das Amoreiras and enjoy the bairro sites and attractions.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.5 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Top 10 Cafes and Restaurants in Lisbon

Top 10 Cafes and Restaurants in Lisbon

Experience Lisbon as a local by enjoying typical Portuguese dishes at the best restaurants throughout the city at a price you can afford. Take away the overwhelming pressure of deciding where to eat in a city as dynamic and riveting as Lisbon by allowing this guide to suggest local restaurants with...
17 Uniquely Portuguese Things to Buy in Lisbon

17 Uniquely Portuguese Things to Buy in Lisbon

Formerly a major colonial power, Portugal has accumulated great knowledge in craftsmanship. While in Lisbon, you can treat yourself to a vast variety of quality things: wines, ceramics, jewellery, leather goods, books and many more. Most shops in Lisbon open at 9 or 10am, and close in the evening at...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Lisbon for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Lisbon has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes


To save yourself time and money getting around Lisbon and visiting the city's multiple sights, you may want to resort to the Lisbon City Card.

Among other conveniences, this card allows bearer to explore all of Lisbon's top attractions (cathedrals, castles, palaces, museums, monuments and other places of interest), both in and around the city, either for free (28 sights) or with great (up to 50%) discounts. The card provides 24-, 48-, or 72-hour passes to all these locations, plus free ride on public transportation including trams, buses, and regional trains to Cascais and Sintra. Very convenient!

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels


Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Lisbon hotels that are conveniently located: Hotel O Artista, Rossio Boutique Hotel, Internacional Design Hotel.

Taking Care of Your Feet


To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Lisbon, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device


Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours


We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close, with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Lisbon typically costs from around US$35 up to US$80 per person:

- Explore Lisbon Highlights on a walking tour revealing the unique side of the Portuguese capital, be it a gorgeous building, historic event, colorful street, picturesque square, or a quaint little shop or cafe serving delicious local food and wine, or perhaps a spot with a breathtaking panorama of the city.

- Embark on a self-balancing Segway tour – this usually lasts around 2 hours and allows you to get a real sense of the city. Most people (even those aged 70+) find it quite fun and convenient, enabling to cover much more ground than you otherwise would have done by walking.

- Pedal your way up and down Lisbon's 7 hills on an electrical bike tour visiting the city’s best historic landmarks and hidden spots, learning about its curiosities, and reaching the highest spots for the most scenic views of the Portuguese capital. Definitely more than “just another bike tour”!

- Treat yourself to the most delicious experience on a food tour exploring the top delicacies of Lisbon - authentic local must-try bites and traditional drinks - visiting memorable spots for a perfect tasting and insight into the Portuguese lifestyle and eating habits.

- Immerse yourself in Lisbon’s heritage on a 7-hour driven tour around the city’s oldest quarter, Alfama, exploring the famous local monuments and discovering the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower. On this tour you will also get a chance to see modern Lisbon complete with a scenic cable car ride, plus indulge in a delicious local meal (optional). If you have little time in the city, this tour will make you feel like you've seen a lot!

- Sail around Lisbon for a different perspective of the city that very few people actually get to see, on a boat tour. Apart from enjoying spectacular views of Lisbon's famous seaside monuments, you will get a chance to do a bit of yachting (steering the boat) or just laze around on the deck enjoying champagne, homemade snacks and other refreshments, while hearing interesting historical facts about this fascinating city.

Day Trips


If you have a day to spare whilst in Lisbon, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Sintra, Évora, or a combo of Aveiro and Coimbra, or Mafra and Ericeira. For as little as US$100+ to US$250+ you will get a chance to visit some of the finest tourist attractions of Portugal including remarkable 19th century pieces of Romanticism architecture, one of Portugal’s most iconic villages (UNESCO World Heritage site), have a gondola ride in Portuguese “Venice”, and enjoy an authentic Portuguese lunch at restaurant (optional). All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.