Lisbon Rossio Square: history cafe Suíça, shoeshine boys & begging hands

The beautiful and very popular tourist attraction Rossio Square, the popular name of the Pedro IV Square (Praça de D. Pedro IV), has been the setting of popular revolts and celebrations, bullfights and executions.

Rossio Lisbon Shoe shine boy

Rossio square 

Nowadays Rossio square is a preferred meeting place of Lisbon natives and tourists alike and the most congested area for traffic in the city center.

Lisbon Rossio Square

Rossio Square Lisbon

This square has been a meeting place for people of Lisbon for centuries. Some of the cafés and shops of the square date from the 18th century, like the Café Nicola, where Barbosa du Bocage , a Portuguese poet, used to meet friends.

Lisbon cafe Nicola Rossio Square

Famous Café Nicola, Praça Dom Pedro IV 26 (founded in 1929).

It was here that the first Portuguese women dared to break the male stranglehold on cafe-going.  Rossio’s cafes are popular for sitting and watching the world go by.

Lisbon Rossio Pastelaria Suica inside

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

UPDATE September 1, 2018

On August 31, 2018 Pastelaria Suiça – a veritable symbol of Rossio – closed its doors forever. It is said a 5  star hotel will be built here ..

Pastelaria Suíça was a traditional Portuguese cafe/restaurant, famous for its huge variety of delicious cakes and pastries.

Lisbon Pastelaria Suica delicious cakes

Pastelaria Suíça, Praça Dom Pedro IV 101

During World War II this place (Suíça means Switzerland) was the meeting point where those in exile negotiated their tickets to freedom.

Lisbon Patelaria Suica Rossio

Pastelaria Suíça terrace, Praça D. Pedro IV 96/101.

Be aware of pickpockets

Locals appreciate this cafe/restaurant just as much as tourists. The waiters are not always very nice. Being a tourist, be aware of pickpockets: while enjoying a delicious cálice de vinho do Porto (a glass of Port Wine), somebody tried to steel my friend’s bag from under her chair. Happily a friendly waiter warned us just in time! Be aware when you visit touristical attractions and terraces.

Nearby you can taste a Ginjinha, a liqueur made of a cherry-like berry, a typical Lisbon spirit.

Kisbon Praca da Figueria view from terrace Suica

From cafe/restaurant Pastelaria Suica ‘s terrace at the back a view of the square Praça da Figueira (English: Square of the Fig Tree) and the São Jorge Castle.

Lisbon Suica Pastelaria street performance living statue

Street performances (‘living statue’), newspaper vendors, street traders (offering cheap watches or ‘jewellery’), lottery ticket sellers, ‘psssst drugs’ sellers and begging hands……….also some lovely shops, like the unique hatmakers shop Chapelaria Azevedo Rua (opened in 1886)

And, of course, in wintertime, the unmistakeable smell of roasted chestnuts (castanhas assadas)

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket sellers

Lisbon Rossio lottery ticket seller 

Lisbon tourist guide Josephine: Mouraria, narrow Moorish streets & drinking Ginja

Josephine Lucassen is a professional guide, licensed by the city of Lisbon. She loves it to organise private walking tours for a group of tourists in this old and wonderful city!

Mouraria, Lisbon: Escadinhas de São Cristóvão & Josephine Lucassen, guide

Example: a walking tour through the oldest parts of Lisbon, the popular districts of Alfama and Mouraria, the ancient areas that have survived the earthquake of 1755.

The many winding alleys still show the traces of the Moorish domination (from 711-1108). It is said that Fado music was born in Mouraria around 1820.

São Cristóvão (St. Christopher’s) Church in Mouraria Lisbon

Walk in historic Mouraria area March 18 & NV Lissabon members

Mouraria Lisbon: stairs to Rua de São Cristóvão

The best way to start this walk is from Rua da Madalena and then climb the stairs Escadinhas de São Cristóvão.

Mouraria Lisbon: Rua de São Cristóvão in wintertime

Josephine: “I was born in Holland in a small village in Drente. After some travel jobs (f.i. Hotelplan) I prefered to live in Portugal. I’m happily married to a sympathetic Portuguese man, Jorge. Together we have 2 children. My curiosity and also the beauty of Portugal made me decide to study at the University of Lisbon. Now I am a professional,  licenced tourist guide with a lot of experience and a passion for history”.

Artisanat Portugais vintage & curiosites

‘A Loja’: Artisanat Portugais, vintage & Curiosités, Rua de São Cristóvão 3

Josephine: “On the corner of this street there’s a nice shop for tourists with typical Portuguese pottery and much more. We continue our walk in the small alleys of the Mouraria area and then we enjoy a drink in one of the pubs: the famous Portuguese liqueur Ginja (or Ginjinha), a must when you visit Lisbon!”

A sua saúde! (cheers!) Josephine in Mouraria Lisbon, area with lots of old bars and narrow streets.

Ginjinha, or simply Ginja, is a liqueur made of a cherry-like berry called (not surprisingly) Ginja. The berries are fermented into a brandy that’s slightly bitter, slightly sweet and very sticky. It is a favourite liqueur of many Portuguese. You can order a Ginja for little money, with or without a cherry in it.

Mouraria Lisbon: historical area with tiny steets and small bars

Fado

Josephine: “Now we walk to Rua do Capelão, to visit the house of the first fadista, Maria Severa. Maria died very young after a passionate liaison with a nobleman in 1846.

Also grew up in Mouraria: famous singer Mariza. Amália Rodrigues, ‘queen of Fado’, was born nearby. Fado house Maria da Mouraria

Mouraria, Lisbon, a hidden place: beautiful very old tiles (azulejos)

Portugal is famous for its decorative tiles (azulejos). In Mouraria there’s a hidden place where you find beautiful tiles representing biblical- and scenes of Portugal’s rich history and culture. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces and ordinary houses.

Square Martim Moniz February 2013: Kiosk ‘A Preta’:  João (Johnny)

Josephine: “Then we finish our trip enjoying a drink in the sun at square Martim Moniz, nowadays with lots of terraces and food kiosks. This is where the historic Mouraria neighborhood starts, a multicultural area. The food here is also very good.

Lisbon Square Martim Moniz: Kiosk ‘A Preta’: guide Josephine & ???

This man, for both of us completely unknown, asked me to make a picture of him together with this beautiful lady  🙂

Starting point legendary tram 28

This square Martim Moniz is also the starting point for the legendary tram 28, a ‘must- do’ Lisbon attraction.

Alfama, historical area in Lisbon: Escadinhas Santo Estêvão

Private city walking tours

Josephine: “For some years I organize private walking tours for groups. Many tourists miss the hidden gems of Lisbon, simply because they did not know about them!

Lisbon river Tagus viewpoint (miradouro) Santa Catarina or Adamastor

Josephine: “Another idea for a 4-hour walking tour is a start near the river Tagus: Cais do Sodré, famous fish market Mercado do Ribeiro, cute and famous little tram to the top of the Bica area, river Tagus viewpoint Santa Catarina, bohemien neighborhood Bairro Alto, along Sao Bento palace, park in Principe Real with one of the oldest cedar trees in Lisbon. Finally Rossio, a wonderful square with historical buildings and of course: liqueur Ginja!

Tourist attraction Lisbon: sculpture Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, kissed by a young girl more than 75 years after his dead….

Tailored Tours

“How about a tour tailored to your specific needs? A walking full day tour combined with old trams and funiculars would be a perfect idea”.

Price: from € 15, 00 per person (4 hours) Full day tour € 25 pp.  Minimum 4 people (max. 10).

Mail josephinelucassen@yahoo.com or call: 00351 966 361 983 . Facebook

“My favorite place in Lisbon? Pffffffff, not easy, one of them is river viewpoint Portas do Sol, especially by night…..amazing!”

Tagus river viewpoint (Miradouro) Portas do Sol, Alfama Lisbon

Restaurant ‘Wok Oriental’ Lisbon near Santa Justa Lift & eat as much as you want

Large but cozy Asian restaurant ‘WOK Oriental’ is also a tourist attraction, like the nearby Santa Justa Lift. The food is very tasty and cheap. They serve Chinese, Japanese, and also Brazilian (picanha), Portuguese and vegetarian food. Lunch 7.95, dinner € 8,95/11,95

Restaurant Wok Oriental near Santa Justa elevator Lisbon 2011

Eat as much as you want.. 🙂

In this Asian restaurant they also serve grill, meat, seafood, soup, vegetables and salads. Choose your ingredients to be cooked in front of you and eat as much as you want. There is also a sushi and sashimi bar, and of course, spring rolls .

Santa Justa Lift Lisbon M

The famous tourist attraction Santa Justa Lift. Picture: Martijn Kramers

Famous Santa Justa Elevator

Restaurant ‘Wok Oriental‘ is located in the stairways of the extraordinary and famous Santa Justa Lift (Elevador de Santa Justa video YouTube), built around 1900 to connect the Baixa and Chiado districts (around 32 m high). The Lift brings you to Largo do Carmo, one of Lisbon’s most beautiful squares.

Restaurant Wok Oriental near Santa Justa elevator Lisbon2

Owner An Lin Yang (born in China) prepares a wok dish

You can choose natural and fresh ingredients, and the chef will prepare your wok dish in a moment. Owner An Lin Yang:Between 300-400 people from all over the world visit our place every day”.

Restaurant Wok Oriental near Santa Justa elevator Lisbon3

Create your own meal

Lunch (almoço) 7.95, dinner (jantar) 8.95/11.95. Children under 6 years are charged 3 less, children under 4 years free.

Certainly good value for money!  Sobremesa (dessert) is not included in the price: a small portion of ice-cream (1.60), fresh fruit is included.

Restaurant Wok Oriental near Santa Justa elevator Lisbon4 sushi

There ‘s also a sushi and sashimi bar

You can fill your plate with various meat, shrimp, squid, and vegetables, and then take them to the next counter where they are stir-fried to your specification.

Drinks: water € 1:00, glass of wine € 1.50. Sangria (1 liter) € 6,95.  Or a pot of tea, beer or whiskey.

Restaurant Wok Oriental near Santa Justa elevator Lisbon8

Restaurant owner An Lin Yang and Yang Xue Peng

They have 8 chefs working together (from different nationalities) and 7 waiters. The staff is very friendly.

Restaurant Wok Oriental near Santa Justa elevator Lisbon my choice

My choise for lunch: a mix of vegetables, rice and feijãos,

Restaurant ”Wok Oriental‘ , Rua do Santa Justa 105 A, Lisbon. Tel: (00351) 213473181.  Open from 09:00 to 23:00, daily (also on Sundays).

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Tourists waiting for a ticket Santa Justa Lift Lisbon near Wok Restaurant

Santa Justa Lift Lisbon: tourist queue near the ticket office

Historic square ‘Largo do Carmo’ Lisbon: gothic ruins & bloodless military coup

Wonderful Largo do Carmo  is one of my favorite squares in Lisbon!  Beautiful trees, historical buildings, fascinating church ruins, the extraordinary Santa Justa elevator and amazing city views!

Largo do Carmo Lisbon, September 2017

This picturesque square is very popular, well known for the terraces, in addition to being the scene of several shootings, both (science fiction) films or documentaries and commercials. Music and traditional dance are performed here during the summer.

Lisbon Largo do Carmo1

Largo do Carmo Lisbon

Springtime 2014

Lisbon square Largo do Carmo kiosk 2

Largo do Carmo Lisbon

A unique fountain stands under trees right in the middle of the square. The Chafariz (fountain) do Carmo was built here in 1796.

Largo do Carmo wikipedia jacarandas

Largo do Carmo and blossoming jacarandas.

Originally from South America, these beautiful trees of the Bignoniaceae family arrived in Lisbon in the mid-17th century and ever since, between May and June when they’re in flower, they have lovely bunches of lilac-toned petals.

Largo do Carmo Military Police Station

Largo do Carmo Lisbon

Portugal’s history & Carnation Revolution

The headquarters of Carmo (Quartel do Carmo) is a very important building for Portugal’s history. Marcelo Caetano (former dictator António de Oliveira Salazar’s replacer) found refuge in the main Lisbon military police station at the time of the revolution.

On April 25, 1974, the day of  the Carnation Revolution, this building was surrounded by the MFA (Portuguese Armed Forces), which pressured Marcelo Caetano to cede power to general Spínola. It was here where the Estado Novo (New Regime) officially came to an end after almost 50 years. More..

25-abril Carnation Revolution 1974 Lisbon

Largo do Carmo Lisbon April 25 1974

1974: The Carnation Revolution (Revolução dos Cravos) &  Eurovision Song Contest

The Carnation Revolution was a largely bloodless coup. Remarkable: there were two secret signals in the military coup: first the airing of the song “E depois do adeus” (“And after the farewell”) by Paulo de Carvalho, Portugal’s entry in the 6th of April 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, which alerted the rebel captains and soldiers to begin the coup.

Largo do Carmo Lisbon & entrance Carmen Convent

Next, on April 25, 1974 at 12:15 am, the national radio broadcast Grândola, Vila Morena, a song by Zeca Afonso, a progressive folk singer forbidden on Portuguese radio at the time. This was the signal that the MFA gave to take over strategic points of power in the country and “announced” that the revolution had started.

More details, videos and songs on Joana Morais’ blogspot

Here you can also find an entrance to the famous Archeological Museum, the gothic ruins of the 14th century Igreja (church) Convento do Carmo).
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Lisbon Largo do Carmo church museum Santa Justa2
Ruins of the Convento do Carmo & horrible earthquake in 1755
Open from Monday- Saturday 10h – 18h, cheap entrance. The construction of this monument started in 1389 by order of Nuno Álvares Pereira. The church was destroyed the first of November of 1755 by the horrible and well known earthquake. A lot of people died. More information..
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Lisbon Largo do Carmo church museum Santa Justa3
Largo do Carmo  Lisbon: amazing view over Lisbon
The famous tourist attraction ‘Santa Justa elevator’ (Elevador de Santa Justa video), Rua do Santa Gusta, built around 1900 to connect the Baixa and Chiado districts (around 32 m high), can bring you to the Carmo Square.  
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Beautiful city view of Lisbon : Santa Justa Lift and Carmo Convent
From the roof terrace of Pollux, a huge warehouse, Rua dos Fanqueiros 276. There’s a pleasant roof terrace & bar/cafe : LESS

Lisbon seen from the Tagus River : 3 hours river cruise & traditional ‘Cacilheiro’ boat

When you visit Lisbon for a few days a boat trip on the Tagus River is a good dea! This short cruise (from April 1st – October 31) departs every day from Terreiro do Paço, just near Praça do Comércio (‘Commerce Square).

Cruise trip Tagus 3 hrs river Lisbon Cacilheiro Praca do Comercio

Tagus river mini cruise: ticket is € 20 for adults and € 10 for children.

These Tagus river boat trips are onboard of a renovated, traditional ‘Cacilheiro‘, the boats that, in former times, ferried the local population across the river. This type of ferry is called “cacilheiro” because it connects Lisbon to Cacilhas (Almada) on the south side of the river.

Cruise trip Tagus river Lisbon Cacilheiro Praca do Comercio June 2009

Praça do Comércio (renovation) & ferry terminal

The trips are organised by Transtejo, starting at Praça do Comércio ferry terminal, at the foot of the hill dominated by the Castle of São Jorge (Castle of Saint George) and the historical neighborhood Alfama.

Cruise trip Tagus river Lisbon traditional boat Cacilheiro Alfama Pantheon2

River Tagus 3 hours boat trip: the Pantheon & Alfama

Alfama and The National Pantheon (Panteão Nacional) in which important Portuguese personalities are buried, like Amalia Rodrigues, the very famous fado singer. Alfama is one of the oldest areas in Lisbon, famous viewpoint: Portas do Sol (miradouro)

Lisbon 3 hrs Cruise trip Tagus river traditional boat Cacilheiro Expo

River Tagus 3 hours boat trip: São Rafael ‘twin towers’

Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) is a modern, commercial and residential area. The architectural style of most buildings is unique in Lisbon. The Vasco da Gama is a multi-story shopping centre, around 200 stores selling a full range of products. Many attractions built for the Expo ’98 remained and keep drawing visitors, such as the Oceanarium, one of the world’s biggest aquariums, a must-see for children.

Lisbon 3 hrs Cruise trip Tagus river Lisbon traditional boat Cacilheiro April Bridge 4

Ponte 25 de Abril (25th of April Bridge) and Cristo Rei (Christ the King) Statue

The enormous Cristo Rei monument is built in 1959 in thanks to God for having spared Portugal during World War II, inspired by the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro. ‘God opens his arms to the city’. How to get there

Lisbon 3 hrs Cruise trip Tagus river traditional ship Cacilheiro captain2

Chef máquinista (engineer) João Celestina Silva and Antonio Duarte (captain)

The boats have a capacity of 279 people. Two of the four saloons are open air and all have a bar (one free drink) and tourist information available in various languages, provided by the stewards on board.

Lisbon Cruise trip Tagus River traditional Cacilheiro Belém Tower

River Tagus 3 hours boat trip:Torre de Belém

The Belém Tower was built in the early sixteenth century in the Portuguese late-Gothic style, the Manueline. This defensive, yet elegant construction has become one of the symbols of the city, a memorial to Portuguese power as it was during the Age of Discovery. In 1983, it was classified, together with the nearby Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery), as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Lisbon River Tagus Cruise Monument to the Discoveries

River Tagus 3 hours boat trip:  Belém, Monument to the Discoveries

Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the famous monument that celebrates the Portuguese who took part in the Age of Discovery of the 15th and 16th centuries, located on the estuary of the Tagus river where ships departed to their often unknown destinations. More………(wikipedia)

SCHEDULES

Departure from Terreiro do Paço  : 11h00 / 12h30 / 15h00

More information about Tagus river tours & tickets

2 hours Tagus river sunset sailing trip

History Castle of Saint George Lisbon, knight Martim Moniz & breathtaking views

For the most breathtaking views of the Tagus and Lisbon, walk the esplanades and climb the ramparts of the old Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of Saint George), located on the highest of the seven hills of the historic centre of the city. It is one of the main historical and tourist sites.

Lisbon-castle-entrance

Castle of Saint George

Singer inside the walls of the Castle (video)

Castelo do Sao Jorge entrance

Entrance Castle of Saint George Lisbon

Although the first fortifications on the Lisbon hilltop are known to date only from the 2nd century BC, archaeological research has shown that human occupation exists there at least since the 6th century BC, originally from autochthonous Celtic and Iberian tribes (with probable Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian influences), afterwards Roman, Suevi, Visigothic and Moorish.

Lisbon-castle-upon-the-hill

Castle of Saint George

In the context of the Christian Reconquista the castle and the city of Lisbon were retaken from the Moors by King Afonso Henriques with the help of Northern European crusaders taking part on the Second Crusade. The Siege of Lisbon, which took place in 1147, was the only success of that Crusade.

Knight Martim Moniz

According to a famous legend, the knight Martim Moniz, noting that one of the doors to the castle was opened, prevented the door from closing again with his own body, sacrificing his life but allowing the Christians to enter the castle.

Lisbon-Castle-Statue_King_Afonso_Henriques_Portugal

In the square stands a heroic statue — sword in one hand, shield in the other — of the first king, Afonso Henríques

Lisbon Castle of St George tower 1

Picture: Martijn Kramers

Many of the existing walls were erected during the centuries of Moorish domination. The Moors held power until 1147, the year Afonso Henríques chased them out and extended his kingdom south.

Even before Lisbon became the capital of the newly emerging nation, the site was used as a royal palace.

Lisbon: view from Castelo Sao Jorge

Wonderful views!

The castle overlooks the historic area Alfama, the mountains of Monsanto and Sintra, Ponte do 25 de Abril (25 April Bridge), Praça do Comércio, and the tile roofs of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

Lisbon seen from the Castle of Jao Jorge April 25 Bridge

Castle of Saint George (Castelo de São Jorge)

Address: Rua da Costa do Castelo
Bus: 37 Tram: 12 or 28
Website: www.castelosaojorge.egeac.pt

Prices: check the website, free for children under 10

Lisbon-castle-overlookiing-the-tagus from the Castelo

Lisbon’s unique Lavra funicular, steep slope & statue dr. 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: cheap.

From Rossio train-metro Station Lisbon to Pena National Palace in Sintra/ Queluz Palace

Rossio train- and metro station (Estação do Rossio) is incredibly unique, located between Rossio and Restauradores in Lisbon. Formerly known as Central Station (Estação Central), and that designation still appears in its façade. The beautiful neo-manueline architecture was designed by architect José Luís Monteiro, completed in 1887.

Lisbon Rossio Station at night

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

The Neo-Manueline façade dominates the northwest side of the square and is a Romantic recreation of the exuberant Manueline style, typical of early 16th century in Portugal. Its most interesting features are the two intertwined horseshoe portals at the entrance, the watch in a small turret and the abundant sculptural decoration.

Rossio station, Largo do Duque de Cadaval, Lisbon World Cup Football 2010

Near the station you can have a drink at Largo do Duque de Cadaval, which is a really nice square full of open-air cafés.

Lisbon Rossio Station inside Train

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Inside the station, the platform is connected by ramps to the façade level and is covered by a cast-iron structure.  The station is an important example of Romantic (façade) and Cast-iron (platform cover) architecture in Portugal.

Lisbon Station Rossio inside

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Downstairs is Rossio’s metro station (green line). Metropolitano de Lisboa, Lisbon Metro official page (also in English), you’ll find a map with a network diagram and explanation of the metro lines.

Lisbon Rossio Station train to Sintra

Rossio train- and metro station Lisbon

Visit Sintra and Queluz, easy to reach by train from Rossio train- and metro station

The wonderful Rossio train- and metro station is a must see if you visit Lisbon.

If you like to visit Sintra, the famous World Heritage town and the Pena National Palace just outside Lisbon or the National Palace in Queluz, you can take the train here for a cheap price.

From Rossio Station to Sintra station

Sintra Station.

Trains to Sintra (and vice versa) leave every 15 minutes, a 45 minute trip. The access of trains to the Rossio station is made by a tunnel more than 2600 m long. This tunnel was escavated under the city and is considered one of the most important works of engineering of Portugal in the XIX century.

From Rossio Station Lisbon to Sintra station

Sintra Station

Besides: if you prefer to go by car to visit Sintra, the IC19 superhighway takes you directly from the city and it comes to an end at Sintra . Parking is possible, 10 minutes walk from the center of Sintra.

Sintra Palacio da Pena

The Pena National Palace, built by a noble man for his Portuguese wife

Useful information about tickets and buses in Sintra .

A one-day ticket (around 7 Euro) can be bought at Sintra station and will allow you to get on and off at all the main attractions, like f.i. Pena Palace and The Moorish Castle.

Sintra National Pena Palace July 2011. Picture: Maurits Benschop

Village Underground Lisbon: creative community & Polly Robbins

How about a delicious dinner in a dubble-decker retro bus beneath the 25th April Bridge? A great experience, but Village Underground in Lisbon offers much more! It’s a coworking center for creative- and event industries located at the Santo Amaro station in Alcântara, next to the Carris vintage trams & buses Museum.

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Village Underground Lisbon in summertime

Lisbon: the hippest place to be

For years, Lisbon was somewhat off the beaten track for young travellers, or millennials seeking a new home. The Portuguese capital crumbled romantically while London, Paris, Barcelona and more recently Berlin enjoyed the cultural status. Yet in the last 10 years the city has seen an explosion in culture, tourism and entrepreneurialism, and is now surpassing its European rivals as the hippest place to be!

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The Village Underground in Lisbon & Polly Robbins, November 2016

Who are you and how have you found yourself at Village Underground?

Polly Robbins: “I come from London. I love London, but the pace of life is crazy and I felt like spending some time in another European capital. Lisbon particularly attracted me because I’m interested in urban cultural development. I studied sociology, looking at how art movements develop in cities, and for the last 3 years I’ve been running a business in London that takes over empty spaces and makes them into venues for culture”.

village-underground-lisbon-dubble-decker-buses-and-containers-3

Village Underground Lisbon

Ex-pats & tourists in Lisbon

Polly Robbins: ‘I heard about Village Underground Lisbon from a contact who knows the London branch. So I contacted Mariana (Director VU), got some funding from the EU Erasmus Young Entrepreneurs scheme, and here I am. At Village Underground I am developing marketing and communications, specifically for the ex-pat and tourists in Lisbon. I’m also developing ways for the co-working community to share their skills and feel more part of a community”.

village-underground-lisbon-live-music

Village Underground Lisbon

So what is Village Underground?

Polly:” It’s a project that began in London in 2009 when a group of friends had a crazy idea to hoist to some decommissioned tube train carriages onto the roof of a building and create a co-working space in Shoreditch. Mariana Duarte Silva, who is the Director of Village Underground Lisbon, was working in London when she came across the space and took a desk to set up her own music agency. She fell in love with it and brought the concept back to Lisbon, where the doors opened in 2012″.

village-underground-lisbon-dubble-decker-bus

Village Underground Lisbon & one of the retro dubble-decker buses

Creative community

Polly: “Village Underground Lisboa sits at the end of the municipal tram yard, beneath the iconic Ponte 25 de Abril. It consists of 14 shipping containers which act as a co-working space for the creative industries. There are about 35 people working here, in web design, graphic design, video making, branding, theatre and music”.

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Village Underground Lisbon & one of the dubble-decker retro buses, November 2016

Cafe/restaurant & events from January 2017

“There are 2 converted retro buses, one is a café, open to the public every lunchtime and for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. And in addition, there’s a warehouse space used for events and exhibitions, a recording studio, a large space outside used for events and a skate ramp.

There is a great range of events going on at Village Underground, from parties with electronic and live music, to markets, to exhibitions and performance. Starting January 2017 these will be hosted every Friday and Saturday”.

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Village Underground Lisbon & delicious dinner in a dubble-decker retro bus 🙂

Tasty food & affordable prices

Our dinner: tapas; Peixe (fish): Moqueca de camarão com arroz selvagem (shrimp Moqueca with wild rice)Chili com carne com basmati de coentros (Cili con carne, basmati rice with coriander): wine , water, sobremesa (dessert). Bill: 77 euro (3 persons). A vegetarian dish is also available.

village-underground-lisbon-dinner-dubble-decker-bus-december-16-view-window

Village Underground Lisbon & a group of visitors

Why should people visit Village Underground?

Polly: “It’s a really interesting space to be in physically, particularly if you like to be surrounded by cool architecture, street art and disused trams and buses! The café serves incredibly tasty food and the team working there is lovely. The people who gravitate towards Village Underground are an amazing bunch – I’ve been warmly welcomed! They come from all walks of life and you don’t have to be chatting too long before you discover that they’re involved in all sorts of weird and wonderful projects”

Village Underground Lisbon delicious lunch January 2017

Village Underground Lisbon & delicious lunch in a dubble-decker retro bus

Muito obrigada! Great food & great service 🙂 🙂

Mafalda Rodrigues, Tania Pines & Mafalda Pais

Village Underground Lisbon delicious lunch January 2017 2

Village Underground Lisbon & delicious lunch in a dubble-decker retro bus

Vegetarian dish, sandwich with salmon, sweet potatoes, 2 glasses of wine, small bottle of water & coffee: 18 euro

 

Village Underground Lisbon

Both the interior and the terrace have free Wi-Fi. There is free parkingThe only entrance to the Cafeteria is the main gate of the Carris Museum, located at Rua Primeiro de Maio, 103.

Top tourist attraction Lisbon: bronze sculpture famous poet Pessoa & history

The bronze sculpture in Lisbon of Portugal’s famous writer and poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) is extremely popular.

Lisbon cafe A Brasileira tourist attraction statue Fernando Pessoa

Sculpture of famous poet Fernando Pessoa, kissed by a young girl, almost 80 years after his death!   🙁

Top tourist attraction

Famous cafe ‘A Brasileira’  ‘s terrace in Lisbon (Rua Garrett 120) is a real tourist attraction. Poet Fernando Pessoa once was a regular customer. His table in bronze was created by Lagoa Henriques.

Pessoa statue Rua Garett A Brasileira9

Famous old cafe ‘A Brasileira’  (‘The Brazilian’, opened in 1905) Lisbon, Rua Garrett

Who was poet and writer Fernando Pessoa?

Pessoa was largely unknown in Portugal until after his death in 1935. The man has no idea he’s mobbed by lots of tourists nowadays, all day long!

Lisbon Pessoa statue Rua Garrett & friend Hans

Sculpture poet Fernando Pessoa Lisbon & Dutch admirer Hans

‘The best way to travel is to feel’ Pessoa wrote, ‘so feel everything in every possible way.’ Pessoa was born in Lisbon in 1888.

Apart from his high school years which he spent with his mother and half brothers in South Africa, he lived in Lisbon without a break, without taking public holidays, without traveling abroad. He did so with the help of heteronyms, inventing many lives (and cities) out of his own, spent between the Chiado area, where he lived.

Restaurant Martinho da Arcada table Pessoa famous Portuguese writer

Quality Restaurant Martinho da Arcade, Lisbon.

Restaurant Martinho da Arcade Lisbon & Pessoa’s table

Portugal’s famous poet and writer Pessoa spent a lot of his time in cafes (like Cafe Martinho da Arcada, where he wrote and drank a lot . He died in 1935, aged 47.

Pessoa’s table is still there…

Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa

Casa (house) Fernando Pessoa, Rua Coelho da Rocha, 16, Campo de Ourique.

Open from Monday – Saturday 10:00-18:00.

Pessoa drawing Travessa do Sequeiro

Drawing Fernando Pessoa, Travessa do Sequiero Lisbon

“Acordar”, poem by Álvaro de Campos, one of Fernando Pessoa’s various ‘heteronyms’ (imaginary characters).

“Acordar da cidade de Lisboa mais tarde do que as outras
Acordar da Rua do Ouro
Acordar do Rossio, as portas dos cafés
Acordar…..
E no meio de tudo a gare, que nunca dorme
Como um coração que tem que pulsar através de vigilia e do sono”

“The waking up of Lisbon, later than other cities
The waking up of Rua do Ouro
The waking up of Rossio Square, at the doors of its cafes
Waking up…..
And in the middle of it all the train station, which never rests
Like a heart that has to beat in both waking and sleeping hours”

Pessoa drawing Rua 1 Dezembro Lisbon

Rua Primeiro de Dezembro, April 2009