National palace in Queluz Lisbon: 18th-century Rococo style, Portuguese kings, Secret Histories, queen Carlota Joaquina & sexual orgies

The National Palace in Queluz is one of Lisbon’s top tourist attractions, easy to reach by train from Lisbon or from Sintra. From outside the palace looks romantic, but what happened behind these walls when the Portuguese royal family lived here, about 200 years ago?

National Palace in Queluz Lisbon district & wonderful French-styled garden

History of Portugal & exorbitant decorated rooms in Rococo style 

While walking around in the many exorbitant decorated rooms of the National Palace in Queluz (Palácio in Portuguese , you realize that a ‘one afternoon’ visit is too short. Each room represents a piece of history of Portugal, as well as of Brazil. The information in English is quite basic, unfortunately. In case you don’t like a group tour guide: there’s real good info at f.i. Wikipedia.

National Palace in Queluz & Robillion staircase: ingeniously designed steps adorned with statuary

Discovery of Brazilian gold & the wealth of Portuguese colonies

Queluz’s Palace architecture is representative of the final extravagant period of Portuguese culture that followed the discovery of Brazilian gold in 1690.

The National Palace in Queluz & YouTube video: an impression

Brazil was a Portuguese colony from 1500 till 1822; nowadays the Portuguese is still the language of the majority of people in Brazil.

National Palace in Queluz & one of the 2 sphynxes dressed in 18th-century costume

Foreign artists, architects & newly enriched aristocracy

From the beginning of the 18th century many foreign artists and architects were employed in Portugal to satisfy the needs of the newly enriched aristocracy; they brought with them classical ideas of architecture which derived from the Renaissance.

In its design, Queluz is a revolt against the earlier, heavier, Italian-influenced Baroque which preceded the Rococo style throughout Europe.

National Palace in Queluz district Lisbon, the ballroom & some tourists , June 2017

Royal residence from 1794 – 1807 & Queen Maria I : a very sad story

Dom Pedro III started the construction of the Palácio de Queluz in 1747.  He married his 17 years younger niece D. Maria, Princess of Brazil, (1734-1816) in 1760. The couple had a happy marriage and they got six children.

But queen Maria suffered from religious mania and melancholia. This acute mental illness (perhaps due to porphyria) made her incapable of handling state affairs after 1792.

National Palace in Queluz district Lisbon & “Sala de Mangas” (Japonese drawings) decorated with tile panels (azulejos) illustrating the wealth of Portugal’s colonies

1794: Ajuda Palace destroyed by fire 

When the palace of Ajuda burnt down in 1794, the court was forced to move to the Queluz Palace, where the ill queen Maria would lie in her apartments all day. Visitors would complain of terrible screams that would echo throughout the palace. Her condition worsened after the death of her husband and the deaths from smallpox of her elder son and her daughter and their infant son. Maria died in Rio de Janeiro, aged 82. More……

National Palace in Queluz district Lisbon & one of the excessive decorated rooms

The juicy story about Queen Carlota Joaquina (‘the fury’ of Queluz)

Queen Maria’s second son João (John, nicknamed ‘the Clement‘), took over the government in her name. In 1816, he succeeded his mother as monarch of the Portuguese Empire .
On May 8, 1785 Carlota Joaquina (1775 – 1830) of Spain was officially married to the future king João VI. The marriage was not consummated until 9 January 1790, when Carlota was 15 years old.

Doña Carlota Joaquina of Spain (Carlota Joaquina de Borbón y Borbón-Parma). Picture: Wikipedia

Marriage Joaquina Carlota with corpulent João (John) VI & the miracle of nine handsome children

Joaquina’s husband was good-natured, indolent, corpulent and almost as ugly as she was. His religious observances bored her, and they were quite incompatible. Nevertheless, she gave birth to nine children and, because they were all handsome, it was rumoured that especially the younger ones had a different father.

National Palace in Queluz district Lisbon & the empire bedroom

Sexual orgies 

After the birth of the ninth child the couple began to live separate lives. It was rumoured that Joaquina had bought a retreat where she indulged in sexual orgies. Source: Vortex magazine, WikiPedia

Several Movies and TV series have been made about Carlota Joaquina‘s life. She had a bad reputation: infidel, manipulative and nymphomaniac. Carlota was religious, faced men and also transgressed the social norms of the time, which caused her to have many conflicts, also with the Portuguese authorities.

Movie trailer YouTube (English spoken) Carlota Joaquina Princesa do Brazil

National Palace in Queluz district Lisbon & “Sala de Mangas” decorated with beautiful tile panels

Napoleon Bonaparte & transfer of the Portuguese court to Brazil in 1807

Anticipating the invasion of Napoleon’s army, Joaquina’s husband João VI ordered the transfer of the Portuguese royal court to Brazil before he could be deposed.

Carlota Joaquina fought until the last minute not to leave for Brazil, asked for help from her parents, but diplomatic agreements made it difficult for Spanish kings to participate in Portuguese affairs.

National Palace in Queluz district Lisbon & entrance restaurant June 2017

Carlota Joaquina & caipirinha, Brazilian’s famous cocktail

Caipirinha is the national drink in Brasil and also very popular in Portugal. It is said that Carlota Joaquina invented the drink when she lived in Brazil, mixing her beloved Cachaça liquor (a spirit distilled from fermented sugarcane juice) with fruit and sugar. Supposedly, she drank incredible quantities of the liquor, and the palace had to order dozens of bottles for her each month.

Delicious! Caipirinha Recipe (and video)

Ingredients of the caipirinha. Picture: Wikipedia

‘Secret Histories of Portuguese kings’

“The nymphomaniac wife of King João VI, Carlota Joaquina, will have been the ‘inventor of caipirinha“, according to writer and journalist Alexandre Borges. Book: ‘Histórias Secretas de Reis Portugueses’ (‘Secret Histories of Portuguese Kings’), in a new edition.

As the Napoleon wars ended, Carlota returned with the king and the family to Portugal in 1821. She died at the Queluz Palace in 1830 at the age of 54.  It is speculated whether she died because of natural causes or whether she, in fact, killed herself.

National Palace in Queluz Lisbon district

On the assassination Carlos I in 1908, the palace passed into the ownership of the state. Portugal was in the turmoil of revolution and the monarchy fell two years later.  Since 1940 it has been open to the public as a museum.

Worth a visit!

Short- time rentals, 5 minutes walk from starting point tram 28 in Mouraria: my 3-bedroom authentic apartment with lovely patio, 100 m2

 

Prices, opening times & how to get to the Palace in Queluz from Lisbon

  • Location: Largo do Palácio, Queluz, Portugal
  • Open everyday, except main public holidays, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. my experience: during luchtime (12:00 – 14:00) there are not many visitors
  • Palace and Gardens 5 €, Gardens 3.5 € (over 65 yrs.) 10 € adult. More info
  • Train: Lisbon-Sintra line, get off at Queluz/Belas (ca. 1 km walk to the Palace, easy to find)

National Palace in Queluz Lisbon district

More….

Fully packed Tram 28 (2017) Lisbon & alternative RED or GREEN TRAM tour: best stops, cheap way to visit tourist attractions

If you want to get a good impression of the historical city of Lisbon, take this typical yellow little trolley, ‘eléctrico 28’. This legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself. It goes all around town and you can hop on and hop off. Long lines nowadays (2017)!

Tram electrico 28 Alfama Lisbon

Tram (‘eléctrico 28’), Alfama. Starting point: square Praça Martim Moniz 

STOPS

It passes the Saint George’s (São Jorge) castle , one of the main historical touristic sites of Lisbon, the famous viewpoint (miradouroPortas do Sol (Gates to the sun) 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!

Largo do Portas do Sol Lisbon tram 28

Tram 28, Largo Portas do Sol, a famous viewpoint & tourist attractionbackground Museum of Decorative Arts

Short- time rentals, 5 minutes walk from starting point tram 28 in Mouraria: my 3-bedroom authentic apartment with lovely patio, 100 m2

Tram 28 is very popular with tourists & prime pickpocket territory! Take care!

Lisbon Square Martim Moniz starting point tram 28 long lines

Starting point tram 28, April 2016: square Praça Martim Moniz & long lines of people waiting….

Hop on hop off

Buy the 24-hour ticket that will allow you to hop on and off whenever you want on all trams, buses, and subway lines.

Cost: around 4 euros.

Red tram tour sightseeing Lisbon

Alternative idea: oficial sightseeing RED TRAM TOUR 

How to avoid long lines TRAM 28 & official sightseeing Red Tram Tour Lisbon

The number of tourists has been increased (2015), which means that tram 28 route is mostly fully packed.
 –
The RED TRAM is the official sightseeing tram, which covers the same neighborhoods, a ticket is much more expensive, but you’re always guaranteed to have a seat.
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Starting point & tickets : square Praça do Comércio
GREEN Tram Lisbon Praca do Figueira April2016 2
 –
ALTERNATIVE GREEN TRAM & STOPS
FARE: 9 euro, children half price (4-10 years),  starting point & tickets Praça da Figueira Lisbon

The antique GREEN trams are older than the trams on tram 28 (The fare for a day is 9 Euro, half of the fare of the longer RED tram tour).

The tram departs from Praça da Figueira and passes Lisbon’s oldest Cathedral Sé de Lisboa, famous viewpoint Portas do Sol, near the Castle (Castelo) of Saint George, through the streets of historical areas Alfama and Graça 

There ‘s English and Portuguese tour commentary without the need for headsets.

Square Martim Moniz Lisbon Starting point tram 28

Starting point tram 28

Starting point tram 28: square Praça Martim Moniz , nowadays a very nice place to enjoy a light meal in the sun with a lot of kiosks and terraces.

3-bedroom apartment with lovely private patio (30 m2), short term rentals

10 minutes walk from starting point tram 28 my there’s my 3 bedroom (100 m2) apartment (short term rental) in historical area  Mouraria with a 30m2 and very quiet sunny patio.

Alfama tram 28

Alfama. Tram 28 is increasingly as popular with pickpockets as it is with tourists.

More info about tram 28, stops and useful tips: Seeing Lisbon through tram 28

Video tram 28 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YiHO5jZYY4

Christmas time in Lisbon tram 28 happy new year

Tram 28, Lisbon and Christmas, Praça da Figueira

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). All stops vintage tram 28

Tram 28 Alfama near flea market Feira da Ladra

Tram 28, near Lisbon’s legendary flea market ‘Feira da Ladra’

Lisbon Tram 12, free ride Mouraria

Besides: a free ride, tram 12 Mouraria

Lisbon tram 28 February 2010

Restaurant/gallery ‘House of Wonders’ Cascais near Lisbon: lovely roof terrace, healthy food & Dutch owner Anna

The ‘House of Wonders’ is really worth a visit if you are in Portugal’s famous vacation spot Cascais. Looking for a healthy lunchtime snack or dinner this unique place is easy to find in the center of the former fishing village close to the beach. Easy to reach from Lisbon (ca. 30 min. by train)

Roof terrace ‘House of Wonders’ in Cascais: excellent relaxing place!

The lovely roof terrace with comfortable cushions is situated on the top of the beautiful building. Even in wintertime when the weather is good you can sit here and enjoy the fabulous bayview and the sunset.

Harbour- and seaview from roof terrace ‘House of Wonders’ Cascais

Anna De Bruin is from Dutch origin and owner of “House of Wonders” in Cascais. “I lived 20 years in Africa and South America, where I launched the 1st collection of recycled boat furniture in the Caribbean”.

Cafe Gallery ‘House of Wonders’ owner Anna Catharina de Bruin

Anna: ” I chose Portugal to live because this country is very human and very authentic. It’s a mix between Europe and Africa, where many people are connected to this continent and in spite of the crisis they are positive, like me”.

First floor cafe the “House of Wonders” Cascais, December 2012

You can enjoy a range of home cooked food from the cafe. It is not a vegetarian restaurant but there are good options available. The menu often offer home made soup, quiches, pies and very tasty salads.

Snack with presunto (traditional Portuguese ham)

The food is fantastic and also the very friendly staff! Prices are fair, like a quiche and salad (€ 7.50), vegetable soup (€ 3.50) and a glass of good Portuguese white wine (€3.75).

First floor cafe & art gallery the “House of Wonders” Cascais

The first floor cafe is also an art gallery and there are beautiful African artifacts for sale, mainly handmade. I met a nice lady from Boston: Lynn Kenney (picture). If you are traveling alone the “House of Wonders’ is a cozy place to meet other people from around the world.

First floor Cafe & art gallery “House of Wonders’ Cascais: Bernardo and Anna

Anna: “This project was my dream! I opened the “House of Wonders” in Cascais around 3 years ago – a beautiful space, very cozy. A unique concept that features furniture and decorative pieces in natural wood, made from old dhowns – abandoned boats from the beaches of the Swahili coast – Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Ground floor “House of Wonders” Cascais: beautiful recycled boat furniture from Africa

Cascais is easy to reach by train from Lisbon’s station Cais do Sodré (around 30 minutes). More about Cascais

First floor Cafe & art gallery “House of Wonders’ Cascais

Cafe Galeria House of Wonders Cascais: Largo da Misericordia  in the historic center of Cascais, Portugal. Phone (00351) 91 170 2428.

Facebook . Free WiFi.

House of Wonders Cascais roofterrace oct 13

Rooftop Cafe & art gallery “House of Wonders’ Cascais October 2013

House of Wonders rooftop terrace Cascais January 2016

Rooftop Cafe & art gallery “House of Wonders’ Cascais , January 2016

Beach Costa Caparica Lisbon area, Fonte da Telha, beach train, popular gay Beach 19 & how to get there

If you want to escape the hassle and the heat of Lisbon on a hot summer day, why not try the beaches of Costa da Caparica, just across the Tejo river. The locals swarm to the village of Caparica, that looks a lot like Brighton in England or Benidorm in Spain, but just away from the village, past the vast camping sites tens of kilometres of white, unspoilt beaches are at your disposal!

Lisbon Costa da Caparica

Costa da Caparica beach in summertime.

The boulevard of the village itself is undergoing major reconstruction. A huge boardwalk is being built, where half of Lisbon is parading on a warm summer day.

Looking for a great place to stay in Lisbon? My 3 bedroom apartment with lovelypatio  (30 m2) in historical Lisbon

Take the little train (in season) at the end of the boardwalk and it will take you 8 kilometres south to the quiet stretches of sand. The train has 21 stops.

Portugal Costa da Caparica train

Little train Costa Caparica YouTube movie

The best beaches are Morena and Sereia, surrounded by dunes and with good bars. At almost every stop there’s a beachclub and the further south you go, the more you have the place to yourself.

Costa da Caparcia trans praia train

The ‘Trans-Praia’ train.

Stop (paragem) 19, also known as Beach 19 or Praia de Bela Vista,  is where the nudist beach starts, also world famous for being Portugal’s most popular gay beach.

Gay clubs and parties in Lisbon

Lisbon Costa da Caparica Beach 19 1

As everywhere in the world: where the nudist beach ends, the gay cruising begins and this is the largest in Portugal.

In the vast bushes behind the railway track, guys from all over Europe and beyond, meet for some fun and relaxation.

Lisbon Costa da Caparica Beach 19 2 men near the sea

Beach 19 Costa da Caparica Lisbon

From Lisbon to Costa da Caparica: by car, go South to Caparica and south again all the way to the last access to the beaches. When the road goes uphill, you have just passed the access you want to go! Go past Praia do Rei until the parking at the end of the dust road. Upon Bela Vista, walk south, to the left of the restaurant. It’s some 2 miles of white sand beach and dunes! A taxi will take you there from downtown Lisbon for a little over € 20.

By bus: from Praça de Espanha take bus 153 to Costa de Caparica busstation. Walk five minutes south along the boulevard and you’ll see the little train, that leaves every half hour (until end of September). The 161 bus from Praca de Areeiro will also take you to Caparica.

Ferry Lisbon Tagus River Martijn Kramers

Ferry to Lisbon Cacilhas

An alternative route includes a mini-cruise (15 min.) on the ferry from Cais do Sodré across the river to Cacilhas. Get on bus 138 (directo) to Costa da Caparica (bus 124 via Almada will provide you with a long detour past 1960 highrise architecture, that’s better avoided).

By train: cross the Tagus river to Pragal railway station and take bus 196 to Caparica. The train may be a good alternative on weekends, it’ll help you avoid the traffic jams on the 25th of April Bridge.

Praia da Fonte da Telha

Beach Fonte da Telha

At stop (paragem) 21 at the end of the line where the little beach train turns, there’s the village of Fonte da Telha (‘Fountain of the roof’). This little fishermen’s village is perfect for that holiday feeling. This is the real Portugal, with some trendy beach cafés added to it. Fonta da Telha can also be reached by bus from Cacilhas harbour. Beach 19 is just a short walk from the centre of Fonte da Telha. A taxi there from Lisbon will put you back a little over € 30.

MECO Beach

Even further south, about 10 kilometres from Fonte da Telha: Meco Beach, a real mecca for nudists & surfers

Impressive Metro Station area Baixa-Chiado Lisbon: free escalators avoiding stairs from Baixa to Chiado

Metro Station Baixa-Chiado is a unique and impressive subway, opened in 1998, created by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.

Metro Station Baixa Chiado Rua do Crucifixo entrance

Metro station entrance Baixo-Chiado Lisbon, Rua do Crucifixo.

Metro station Baixo-Chiado is one of the most important transfer stations, and one of the most crowded of Lisbon. New is the extension towards the international Santa Apolónia train station, opening on 19 December 2007, more than five years late due to tunnelling problems at the waterfront.

Metro Station Baixa Chiado entrance tiles

Metro station Baixo-Chiado Lisbon

Beautiful white tiles are covering the station walls.

This metro station has an entrance in the Baixa city center as well as one at a much higher level in the Chiado district, linked by a series of escalators.

Metro Station Baixa Chiado escalator

Metro station Baixo-Chiado Lisbon

Instead of walking (hundreds of stairs from Baixa to Chiado), an alternative and free way is to use the escalators inside the metro station, reaching the Chiado district ca. 5 minutes later.

Of course, walking is also interesting…..

Metro Station Baixa Chiado metro lines

Metro station Baixo-Chiado Lisbon

The Lisbon Metro operates from 6h30 to 01.00. Tickets: cheap 🙂

Metropolitano de Lisboa : Lisbon Metro official page. On this webste (also in English) you’ll find a map with a network diagram and explanation of the lines:

Metro Linha Azul (blue line) Metro Linha Amarela (yellow line) Metro Linha Verde (green line) and Metro Linha Vermelha (red line).

Also including a special section on subway art of Lisbon Metro stations with stunning examples of contemporary azulejos (tiles).

Metro Station Baixa Chiado escalators up to Chiado

Metro Station Baixa-Chiado

Escalators up to the Chiado district.

Metro station Largo do Chiado Pessoa

Cafe ‘A Brasileira’, Largo do Chiado, near the entrance of the Chiado metro station.

The bronze sculpture of Portugal’s famous writer and poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935),  is still very popular. More…….

Ferry boat from Lisbon to Montijo, walk via village Alcochete to Samouco beach: great day trip & pink flamingos

Away from the crowds, on the south bank of the river Tagus (Sul do Tejo), there’s the beach of Alcochete, located near the small city of Montijo . From Lisbon you can take a bus across the Vasco da Gama Bridge directly to Alcochete centre at Oriente station  (431, the most frequent), or 432 and 437.

Ferry to Montijo from Cais do Sodre station Lisbon

Ferry boat from Lisbon to Montijo

But it’s really worth it taking a ferry from Lisbon to Montijo (time schedule ferry boats, also from Cais do Sodré ferry terminal), walk around in this picturesque village, have lunch, take a bus to the centre of Alchochete and walk to the beach called Samouco (ca. 15 min.)

Ferry to Montijo at Cais do Sodre Lisbon 25 April Bridge

Beautiful views ferry boat to Montijo: Lisbon city and the 25 April Bridge.

The ferry trip to Montijo takes about 20 minutes which gives you a chance to enjoy the river and the views of Lisbon and also the surrounding areas. Return ticket: euro 5.60.

Montijo city centre Portugal

Montijo, Praça da República

You’re away from the crowds…and it is really a pleasure walking around here.

Montijo near Lisbon city centre cafe

Montijo , a lazy afternoon in September, Rua Guerra Junqueiro.

Not one tourist in sight! Coffee (bica) euro 0,60.

Beach Alcochete near Lisbon Samouco

Alcochete , Samouco beach

PINK FLAMINGOS

From Montijo, take a bus to Alcochete centre and walk 15 minutes to Samouco beach  (YouTube).  You can enjoy watching pink flamingos or egrets (white heron) near the Reserva Natural of the Tagus river, which is famous for the birds.

Beach Alcochete Samouco near Lisbon2

Alcochete , Samouco beach

Of course in July and August there are more tourists. On the background: Lisbon, Parque das Nações. 

Alcochete, like Sintra, has in the past been a popular haunt for royalty, coming here to relax and holiday. The town’s foundation dates back to the 7th century, after the Moors conquered Lisbon. Its name derives from the Arabic word for kiln, as there have been many found in the area.

Bullfighting also has a history here, and bulls are still let loose in the streets during the Barrete Verde and Salinas Feasts (the second weekend of August). 🙁  🙁

Beach Samouco Alcochete near Lisbon Fitness exercises

Alcochete , Samouco beach

Fitness exercises at the beach…. ! On de background: Vasco da Gama Bridge

beach near Lisbon Alcochete small cafe

Alcochete , Samouco beach

Near the beach there’s a small cafe. Very nice people!

Typical Portuguese snacks and drinks: coffee (bica) euro 0.60.

Lisbon Vasco da Gama bridge

Beautiful Vasco da Gama bridge Lisbon

By car it’s about 30 minutes from Lisbon to Alcochete beach.

The wonderful Vasco da Gama Bridge connects Alcochete and Montijo with Lisbon. It is the longest bridge in Europe (including viaducts),with a total length of 17.2 km (10.7 mi). The bridge connects the north of Lisbon with the south bank of the Tagus near Montijo.

Beach Alcochete near Lisbon

Alcochete , Samouco beach

Lisbon’s famous funiculars: Bica, Gloria, Lavra, spectacular viewpoints & ‘Art in movement’

The funiculars Bica, Gloria and Lavra in Lisbon taking you up to spectacular viewpoints (miradouros).

Bica funicular silver tourist information

The (normally yellow) and famous tourist attraction funicular in Bica  (YouTube)

Artist Alexandre Farto  covered the outside of the funicular with mirror-acrylic, called it ‘Espectro’  (Spectre) and pays tribute to the neighbourhood that is reflected in the lift during the journey, as if it were a film…. (From January – June 2010). Amazing!

Bica funicular silver March 2010 3 street

Bica funicular Lisbon

This project  ‘Art in movement’  (“Arte em Movimento”) is part of a Cultural Program for the promotion of Public Art, which CARRIS  (bus & tram services including timetables) intends to carry out in some vehicles of its public service fleet. In 2010, the chosen vehicles were one lift (the Santa Justa) and the 3 funiculars, all of them are national monuments since 2002.

Bica funicular March 2010 hanging laundry

Street view Bica funicular

Typical Portuguese:  hanging laundry, drying in the wind.

Bica funicular silver March 2010 2 street

View from Bica funicular

It climbs the Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo for 245 metres from the Rua Sao Paulo.

Bica funicular March 2010 restaurant cafe

Largo de Santo Antoninho, right next to Bica’s funicular downhill starting point.

Lisbon’s Bica funicular: highly valued by tourists, Santo António partying & breathtaking Tagus river views

The famous Bica funicular opened on 28 June, 1892, the only stepped street funicular in the city. It climbs the Rua da Bica for 245 metres from the Rua S. Paulo, near Santos, to the Calhariz district.

 Lisbon Bica funicular Santo Antonio

Bica funicular & partytime in June

Partying in the small street around the famous Bica funicular, near Bairro Alto , one of the best spots in Europe for a night out. In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities that take over the city’s historical center. On the eve of Saint Anthony day, June 13th, Lisbon turns into one big party! A mix of religion and sex… More….

Lisbon Bica funicular3

The most photographed street in Lisbon and Bica funicular Rua Loreto

Lisbon has three working street funiculars: LavraGloria and Bica, which allow its citizens and visitors to move to and from its hilly districts more easily. All are operated by Carris, (including timetables and funicular’s history) the Lisbon city transport undertaking.

Lisbon Adamastor December 08

Five minutes walk from here is a beautiful viewpoint over the River Tagus: ‘Adamastor’, a popular gathering place in Lisbon, which is officially called the  ‘Miradouro de Santa Catarina’ .

 Lisbon Cafe Nooibai terrace

Just below the small Adamastor square, you will find the fantastic terraces of cafe/ bar Cafe Noobai , certainly one of the favourite places of many Lisbon locals and visitors of the city!

Lisbon’s unique Lavra funicular, one of the city’s steepest slopes & statue doctor Sousa Martins

The Lavra funicular was the first street funicular in the world. It opened on 19 April 1884 and carried 3000 people, free of charge, on that day alone! Originally water-powered, it was converted to electricity in 1915.

Lisbon funicular Lavra1 Rua de Sao Jose

YouTube Lavra funicular Lisbon

It runs from the Rua de São José (near Largo da Anunciada) to Travessa do Forno do Torel. To reach the bottom of the funicular, turn right off the Avenida da Liberdade, or, from Rossio Square, it’s a 10 minute-walk through Rua das Portas de Santo Antão.

Lisbon Lavra funicular Rua de São José6

Waiting for the driver……Lisbon has three working street funiculars: Lavra, Gloria and Bica, which allow its citizens and visitors to move to and from its hilly districts more easily. All are operated by Carris, (including timetables and funicular’s history) the Lisbon city transport undertaking.

Lisbon Lavra funicular Travessa do Forno do Torel

For me, it is still a miracle!

When you turn left off the funicular, after passing Rua do Instituto Bacteriológico, there’s a lovely park, Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, located on one of the 7 hills of Lisbon, the view from here is really wonderful!

Monument dr Martin Sousa

Here you will be surprised by the spontaneous religious fervour of Portuguese people who have honoured the statue of doctor Sousa Martins in front of the Faculty of Medicine. Yet since the memorial was erected in 1904, it has become the focal point for a religious devotion. People who come here believe that by praying to him and asking for his intervention, they will be cured. More….

Lisbon Lavra funicular driver

Lavra funicular hours of operation: 07:00-22:45, every day except Sunday, when the opening time is 09:00. One way ticket € 1.40.

Santa Apolónia, Lisbon’s International Train/Metro Station & fearless General Humberto Delgado

International trains arrive in Lisbon every day, mainly to Santa Apolónia Station and to the Gare do Oriente. Estação Santa Apolónia, opened on May 1st 1865, is the oldest railway terminus in Lisbon, situated in the city’s central part on the bank of the Tagus river in the historical district of Alfama.

Santa Apolonia Station Lisbon Alfama building

Santa Apolónia International Train/metro station Lisbon

The station is served by the national rail company CP (train timetables in English and online tickets, including the high-speed train Alfa Pendular) and operates different suburban, national- and international routes. The best thing to do is to reserve a ticket at least one day before your journey.  Alfa Pendular also connects the cities of Braga, Porto, Aveiro, Coimbra, Santarém, Albufeira and Faro, among others.

Lisbon Santa Apolonia train and metro station inside

Santa Apolónia International Train/metro station Lisbon

A taxi from this station shouldn’t cost more then € 5-10 into the city, luggage included. The taxidriver will charge you with for the luggage (if you have luggage that needs to be placed in the trunk of the car). The rates are 20% higher during nighttime, in the weekend and during holidays.

Santa Apolónia Station is a beautiful building. Inside you’ll find several small restaurants and shops.

Lisbon Santa Apolonia international train and metro Station train

Santa Apolónia International Train/metro station Lisbon

International destinations & central/northern Portugal

This station is Lisbon’s main departure point for international destinations and central/ northern Portugal. The other major railway hubs in Lisbon are Gare do Oriente, which is situated on the same track stretch 6,5 km northeast and Cais do Sodré (to Cascais and Estoril) , Rossio Train Station (runs to Sintra) and Entrecampos.

Santa Apolonia Station Salazar victims
 Humberto Delgado, General sem medo (the fearless general)
 In memory of Humberto Delgado, the fearless general

Mark of honour from the city of Lisbon to General Humberto Delgado and to all who fought for Portugal’s freedom during Salazar’s dictatorship (from 1932 to 1974).

Short tribute film (by Bruno de Almeida) to General Humberto Delgado in memory of his legendary arrival at Lisbon’s Santa Apolónia Station in 1958, where he was meet by Salazar‘s fascist police. How many people were killed is still a secret. The General and his Brazilian secretary, Arajaryr Moreiro de Campos, would be murdered on 13 February 1965, after being attracted to an ambush by the regime’s secret police (PIDE)

Lisbon Santa Apolonia Station metro

Santa Apolónia’s metro station

Santa Apolónia’s rail station is connected to the Lisbon Metro station of the same name, which opened in 2007 (blue line, Linha Azul ). Metropolitano de Lisboa, Lisbon Metro official page, webiste (also in English) including a map with a network diagram and explanation of the lines.

Lisbon metro station Praca do Comercio

Metro station Terreiro do Paço at Praça do Comércio near the Tagus River, opened in 2007. This square is one of the most beautiful in Europe! More and Lisboa Card info