Lisbon inside city tips: ‘hop on hop off’ bus, Red Tram tour, hotspots, breathtaking views & nightlife

Planning a short trip to Lisbon? My inside (cheap) tips and trip ideas!

‘Hop on and hop off’ open-topped double decker bus tours are a popular way for tourists to view Lisbon city. The “River Tagus tour” offer you the the opportunity to view the areas in which most of its monuments may be found, such as the crown jewels of the Portuguese architecture in Belém.

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker1 city

Lisbon ‘Hop on and hop off buses’: the yellow open-topped double decker tourist bus & the “River Tagus Tour’

Famous Praça da Figueira (Square of the Fig Tree) and the bronze equestrian statue representing King John (1357-1433). This lively square is nowadays an important traffic hub, with bus and metro stops, cafes and restaurants.

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker Praca do Comercio

The famous Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square) near the river Tagus

This square is also the starting point for a ‘hop on hop off” historical ‘Red tramcar tour (the ‘ 7 Colinas‘ hills) route . The Carristur’ company has faithfully restored the interior of the trams dating from the thirthies and fourties, preserving their charm and original character.

ViniPortugal, wine tasting & tourist information Sala Ogival, Lisbon, Praça do Comércio Commerce Square)

At the same square (Praça do Comércio) you can taste fine Portuguese wines : a very pleasant and interesting way to learn more about history and culture of Portuguese wines. More about ViniPortugal

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker 3

Campo Pequeno, a monumental Moorish-style bullring, built in 1892

Bullfights (  🙁   🙁  ) cinema, restaurants and shopping mall (seen from the yellow ‘hop on hop off’ tourist bus “River Tagus Tour’)

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker 4

Park Eduardo VII  (the yellow tourist bus “River Tagus Tour’)

This beautiful park is not worth a visit for itself, but the view from here is wonderful! Fabulous blue sky and light, and the Tagus river in the background. Situated right in the middle of the city, close to Avenida da Liberdade, a lovely and luxury shopping ‘avenue’, the Portuguese equivalent of the Champs Elysees in Paris. Brands like Luis Vuitton, Emporio Armani and Escada fashionable boutiques.

Lisbon yellow tourist bus 25April Bridge

Hop on hop off bus (HOHO Lisbon)

On the background: the famous April 25 Brigde (Ponte 25 de Abril), connecting the Lisbon city (the yellow tourist bus “River Tagus Tour’)

Lisbon view from Cristo Rei statue how to get there by cheap ferry

Lisbon old town and April 25 Bridge, view from the Cristo Rei Statue

How to get there? A wonderful idea for a trip to the other side of the river is to take a cheap ferry to Cacilhas, (very good and cheap restaurants!) and a 20 minutes walk along the river to reach the elevator of the famous Cristo Rei statue. Amazing views on downtown Lisbon!

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker 5

Belém, the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos)

Although most have already been said about this momument (and Belém): this place is definitely a must see! You can go up to the top of the monument (by elevator) where you enjoy wonderful views around, like the mouth of the Tagus river, the April 25 Bridge, the Jerónimos Monastery, as well as the famous Tower Torre de Belem. a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of Lisbon’s most photographed landmarks. All the sights are near each other (more information GoLisbon).

Pasteis de Belem Lisbon3

Pasteis de Belém (Lisbon’s famous custard tarts, always warm and delicious!)

No trip to Lisbon can be called a success without visiting Belém, where Portugal’s Age of Discovery began, and without enjoying a few of Lisbon’s most celebrated custard tarts in the nearby famous Pasteis de Belém, Antiga Confeitaria, Rua de Belém 84-92.

GoCar Rob and Julie2

An adventurous idea for a trip to explore Lisbon is to rent a two seater GoCar.

As part of the GPS Tours Network, several exciting tours in Lisbon are available: the Baixa, for Belém (like we did), the Castelo São Jorge (Castle of Saint George), or to the Expo (Park of the Nations). More information and rental rates:  website GoCar Tours

Lisbon sightseeing the yellow double decker Praca da Figueira

Starting point ‘hop on hop off’ city cruise bus at Praça da Figueira . Ticket: bus driver

Or join the yellow bus at Praça do Comércio . Official Lisbon yellow tour buses, operated by Carris (Lisbon’s bus public company). Duration tour 1,2 hours.

Departures hop on buses: every 30 minutes to join the River Tagus Tour or Olisipo Tour : you can visit the most important museums, have fun at Parque das Nações, the leisure area of Lisbon, especially for children, or visit the ZOO.

Lisbon Largo do Carmo church museum 1

Largo do Carmo (via Santa Justa Lift), entrance to the famous Archeological Museum

Your ‘hop on hop off’ ticket is also valid on trams, the famous Santa Justa Lift to reach the wonderful Largo do Carmo,  my favorite square in Lisbon), funiculars and public buses during 24h. Adult € 15, children (4-10) € 7,50. Lisboa Card € 11.

Expo aerial cable cars Parque des Nacoes

Parque das Nações. (Park of the Nations). Yellow ‘hop on hop off’ city  tour bus Olisipo Tour). Picture: Christel Leenen

Cablecars at Expo 98, looking towards the Vasco da Gama Bridge over the River Tagus

Cais do Sodre Lisbon train to Cascais

Cais de Sodré, train to Cascais (and to Belém)

A cheaper way from the city center to g0 to Belém is by getting tram 15 (from Praça da Figueira (watch out for pickpockets!) and from Praça do Comércio ), or by train from Cais de Sodré on the Cascais Line; get out at Belém station. All the trains pass through Belém, but not all of them stop there.

Good & cheap trip idea: the legendary old and funny tram 28, a ‘must do’ tourist attraction

If you wanna get a good impression of the historical city of Lisbon, a very good and cheap idea is taking this typical little trolley, ‘elétrico 28′. This legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself. It goes all around town. Of course you can hop on and hop off.

Tram electrico 28 Alfama

Tram 28 in Alfama, one of the oldest areas in Lisbon.  Nearby Lisbon’s legendary flea market Feira da Ladra’

These small yellow trams are extremely old and funny, they go up and down through the narrow streets of Lisbon. The electric tram No. 28 departs from Largo Martim Moniz in Lisbon’s historical heart.

Lisbon tourist attraction river Tagus viewpoint Portas do Sol

Lisbon, tourist attraction Portas do Sol , a famous river Tagus viewpoint (miradouro)

Old tram 28 stops in the most picturesque sights of Lisbon, like this famous river and old town viewpoint. Nearby a lovely lounge terrace, restaurant, trendy and stylish bar, (weekend DJ’)s Portas do Sol

Lissabon Castle of St George old tram 28 stop

Lisbon and the Castle of Saint George

..…….and this old tram 28 also stops close to the entrance of the wonderful Castle of Saint George , for the most breathtaking views on the river Tagus and Lisbon! More……

Flower Power Hotspot Lisbon Bairro Alto healthy food and flowers

Lunch idea: trendy hotspot  in the legendary Bairro Alto area ‘FlowerPower’ , café/restaurant .

Healthy eating amid the hustle and bustle of Lisbon’s bohemien haunt of artists and writers ‘Flowerpower’, close to the most photographed street in Lisbon and Bica funicular (from 1892)

Noobai cafe restaurant wonderful river views

Nearby Bairro Alto: trendy cafe/restaurant (also open for lunch) Noobai, amazing river Tagus views!

Certainly one of the favorite places of many Lisbon locals and visitors of the city. Relaxed ambience and very nice people!

Lisbon Adamastor gathering place Tagus River5

‘Adamastor’ near the river Tagus

Nearby ‘Adamastor’ is a popular viewpoint (miradouro) and gathering place in Lisbon.

From this vista point you have the most breathtaking views on the Tagus river, the 25th of April Bridge and the Cristo Rei monument.

Kiosks in Lisbon Camões Square

Kiosk (quiosque) Camões Square (Praça Luís de Camões)

The Moorish influence in Lisbon is still present, like the lovely designed old kiosks serving old-fashioned Portuguese refreshments and snacks. More about kiosks near beautiful viewpoints, favorite tourist attractions, some recommended restaurants and how to get there.

Paviljao Chines7

Bar Pavilhão Chines, bizarre and ‘one of a kind’

Going out & nightlife in Lisbon: 1900s ‘one of a kind’ bar Pavilhão Chines close to the legendary Bairro Alto area. One of the most interesting bars I’ve ever seen and a good start to Lisbon’s nightlife.

rob-bairro-alto-by-night4

The legendary Bairro Alto area in Lisbon

A Capela’ is one of the most popular bars in Lisbon’s heart of funky bars and restaurants.

Lisbon Arraial Pride 2010, the biggest Gay & Lesbian event in Portugal (LGBT)

Lisbon Pride information

Arraial Pride has been, since its start in 1997, the biggest and most nationwide participated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) event in Portugal. Arraial Brides, Queer games, a welcome center, Gay Village and Expo Arraial.

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio

Famous Palace Square Praça do Comércio  (Terreiro do Paço) Lisbon, June 26, 2010

A free-access fesitivity with diverse events, activities, music performances, (video), happenings, delicious food and bars.

Gay Pride Lisbon June Praca do Comercio 2

Feijão Preto – restaurant in Lisbon

Following in the footsteps of five other European countries — Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, and intensely Catholic Spain — Portugal recently legalized gay marriage (January 2010). Two Portuguese women, Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão, were the first couple to wed in Lisbon.

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio3

Labyrinto Lisbon, Gay cruising club

More than 20 party tents filled the enclosure and defined the space for public performances. About 25 bars, restaurants and terraces offered a wide range of catering services to its customers and visitors.

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio4

Website Lisbon Arraial Pride 

Arraial Pride is a free party open to all people, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity, that see themselves as a part of a more democratic and non-discriminating Portugal; an ‘open mind night’ with no homophoby, in the heart of a Lisbon free of prejudices and willingly to integrate and respect all kinds of people and recognizing their rights and full citizenship.

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio7

Finalmente

This popular gay nightclub in the Bairro Alto, caters to the late night. Finalmente (video) opens at 1am.  Drag performances on the small stage and dance until dawn

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio5

Designed to please a veried audience, the Arrial Pride festivities started at noon and ended at dawn, after a party set list with the best dance music in charge of well-known DJ’s, like Lara Soft, Nuno Galopim and Rui Murka.

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio6

A celebration of diversity, alike what happens in the main European capital cities and which could also put Lisbon along with the other destinations in the LGBT travel routes.

Gay Pride Lisbon queer Lisboa

Queer Lisboa is, for the first time, present at the Arraial Pride. Lisbon’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is in this way associated with Lisbon’s oldest LGBT party. The profits from the Queer Lisboa Bar will revert to the Festival’s film programme

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio9

The Memorial Bar in Bairro Alto is also a well-known entertainment center for the gay and lesbian community of Lisbon. Women patrons outnumber the men here. The bar features a wide variety of live entertainment acts twice a week – including comedy, cross-dressing, or live Portuguese musicians.

Gay Pride Lisbon June 2010 Praca do Comercio11

The beautiful welcome center’s entrance of the Pride Festival, available for all information concerning the event like maps, accreditation, registration for games and activities, the program, a bar, exhibitions and a store.

Associação Ilga Portugal          Facebook
Rua de São Lázaro, 88
1150-333 Lisboa – Portugal
Phone: [351] 218 873 918

Portugal’s most popular gay beach: Beach 19 Costa da Caparica & how to get there

Luxury Hotel Bairro Alto’s roof terrace, light snacks & lovely views over Lisbon

Even if you don’t stay in Lisbon’s boutique hotel Bairro Alto , you can take the tiny golden lift up to the sixth-floor roof terrace and enjoy amazing views by having a light lunch, or just an afternoon tea or a cup of coffee.

Hotel Bairro Alto roof terrace1

March 2010, a cloudy day.. roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

The roof terrace, giving long views over the river and the city, is very popular. The hotel is on the arty side of town, located in the ancient quarter (Bairro Alto)  and Chiado, a nice traditional area and an elegant shopping district.

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace2

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

Strechted out on one of the chairs, you can watch night fall while savouring a glass of wine… A lunch is also available, but don’t expect a typical Portuguese lunch: ‘just light snacks’, according to the very friendly waiter.

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 3

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

Caesar salad (€12.50), sandwich (€9.50). Glass of white wine (€5.00). We liked the food but we were still a bit hungry 😉  mixed cheese platter (€12.00)

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 4 view river Tagus

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

The other side of the River Tagus and the famous Cristo Rei StatueHow to get there?

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 5 view city

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

Chiado city view. Nearby the hotel: cafe ‘A Brasileira’ and the statue in bronze of Portugals famous poet Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), once a regular customer, still mobbed by lots of tourists

Hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon roof terrace light lunch 6 view city

Roof terrace boutique hotel Bairro Alto Lisbon

The 1845 building of hotel Bairro Alto started life as the Grand Hotel of Europe. It became a favourite haunt for writers and artists. Its 18th-century façade forms part of the historical Luis de Camões square, named after a very famous Portuguese poet.

Hotel Bairro Alto Praça Luís de Camões Bairro Alto

Square Praça Luís de Camões . On the background Hotel Bairro Alto. The location is perfect for sightseeing and nightlife.  Bairro Alto by night

Bairro Alto Hotel window dressing champaign

Walking up the hill to São Jorge Castle Lisbon, a hidden place & a famous urinal

Just aside the walls of Lisbon’s Castelo São Jorge (St. Jorge Castle), I love to walk around in the narrow streets of the beautiful Bairro do Castelo, located in the highest hill of the historic centre of the city. This neighborhood is very charming and quiet.

Walking around Bairro Castelo Rua dos Frois

To visit the castle, you can walk up the hill starting at Beco dos Fróis , from Largo Rodrigues de Freitas . This church, Igreja do Menino de Deus on the square of the same name was commissioned byJoao V,King of Portugal. It is one of the few churches which survived the big earthquake (1755) relatively undamaged. Construction began in 1711 but even today it has not been completely finished.

walking around Bairro Castelo Sao Jorge Largo de Menino Deus

At the end of  Largo do Menino Deus (Square of God’s son) you’ll reach the (second) entrance to the castle of São Jorge. (The other entrance is at Largo de Santa Cruz do Castelo)

Walking around Bairro Castelo

Walking around Bairro Castelo 13 Largo do Menino Deus

This is a wonderful hidden part of Lisbon. At the moment construction works have started here. Besides: don’t’ forget to wear flat shoes! The steets are cobbled in this area around the Castle.

Walking around Bairro Castelo entrance Largo de Menino Deus 15

Walking around Bairro Castelo16

Looking back, you can see the towers of Igreja da Sao Vincente de Fora (Church of St. Vincent outside the walls), a Renaissance church used primarily as a royal pantheon for the Portugese monarchy.

Walking around Bairro Castelo entrance Largo de Menino Deus

After passing through the gates, you enter Travessa do Funil, a very popular street with tourists, directly underneath Castelo São Jorge.

Walking around near Castelo Sao Jorge Rob Plews

The urinal (urinol) at the corner of Travessa do Funil and Travessa Chão da Feira, Lisbon’s only open air uninal, 5 minutes walk from the Castle of Saint George

Lisbon open air urinal near St Jorge Castle

 

Charming Rua do Carmo & famous tiny glove store ‘Luvaria Ulisses’

The easiest way to get to Rua do Carmo is from the central square Rossio

Lisbon shopping Rua do Carmo

From Rossio you walk up to Rua do Carmo.

There are trendy shops of international brands and some other traditional and very old ones.

Lisbon shopping Rua do Carmo police

Rua do Carmo. Lisbon

Lisbon Shopping Rua do Carmo Gloves Shop

Famous little glove store ‘Luvaria Ulisses’, Rua do Carmo nr 87 A

This very small shop has his own production of tailor made gloves from any design. A real tourist attraction.

shopping Lisbon Rua do Carmo Ana Salazar2

The small gloves shop is near Ana Salazar’s Boutique, one of Portugal’s top designers.

Ana Salazar was born and lives in Lisbon. During the 70’s, she started to work on the Fashion scene, developing a new concept of clothing in Portugal, changing completely the way of presenting fashion shows in Portugal, creating the first Fashion Events, exhibits and expositions.

Lidbon Shopping Rua do Carmo shop Carina

The beautiful decorated shop ‘Au Bonheur des Dames‘,

Once a perfume shop, is nowadays a woman’s boutique with a cool selection of funky and trendy clothes. Most shops open between 9 and 10 A.M. They close for lunch between 1 and 3 P.M. and close at 7 P.M.

Lisbon Shopping Rua do Carmo Jewelry


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