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City trip Lisbon, Portugal - Part 1


Happy weekend! As promised, here's the Lisbon holiday recap, part 1!

We stayed in a private apartment in Príncipe Real and travelled everywhere by public transport. We used a Viva Viagem zapping card for that. It's a card you can load with credit, similar to the London Oyster Card or the Dutch OV-chipkaart. 

First two days of exploring

The Elevador da Glória is one of the historic Lisbon lifts built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to help residents up the steep hills of Lisbon's old town.

Every time we walked past the Glória Funicular stop on the Avenida da Liberdade, a long line of tourists waited on the pavement for the lift to take them to the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. So we never took it, even though it was certainly tempting!

From the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, you have a stunning panoramic view of the city and the Tejo River. The platform is surrounded by gardens and benches, making it a perfect spot to hang out and enjoy the scenery. 

The Igreja de São Roque was the first church we saw and entered. I had absolutely no idea of the Mannerist and Baroque splendour we were in for!

It's a Roman Catholic church built in 'auditorium-church' style, and it was one of the first Jesuit churches in the world. I was blown away by the lavish decoration and putti in every nook and cranny.

The story behind the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian being closed the first time we went there is that we had to run an errand near the museum. So we had to be in the area regardless of whether the museum was open (though I should have checked). The museum is situated in a lovely garden, so we explored that and had lunch at the Ice Gourmet.

Dinner at Páteo - Bairro do Avillez was absolutely fantastic!

Bike tour

We enjoy taking bike tours whenever we go on a city trip, so I searched online and found Baja Bikes. The tour started at the Miradouro Parque Eduardo VII, and it took us downhill to the waterfront and then to Belém.

I did not capture all the stops along the way; however, as you can see, we stopped at Casa do Alentejo, the Igreja de São Domingos, and the Elevador de Santa Justa.

We ate pastéis de nata at Martinho da Arcada on the Praça do Comércio.

The noise is deafening at the foot of the Ponte 25 de Abril, but you have a view of Almada and the Cristo Rei.

The bike tour ended at the Torre de Belém (not on camera). There was a long queue in front of it and at the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. It was also super crowded around the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (the monument commemorating the Portuguese discoveries). 

Museu Coleção Berardo

Good thing we had other plans! We wanted to visit the modern and contemporary art Museu Coleção Berardo, which was lovely and peaceful compared to the touristy madness outside.

There were two permanent and one temporary exhibition on display: one about minimalism and conceptualism, one with a chronological overview of the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century and a third one, From Head to Toe based on the representation of the body in various artistic media.

We enjoyed seeing works by all the usual suspects, supplemented with some new-to-us Portuguese artists! 

Street and Metro Art

Art is everywhere in Lisbon. Next to the tram stop, we spotted one of Bordalo II's Big Trash Animals. This raccoon is part of a series (you can easily find several works on the streets of Lisbon) that speaks out about the problems of waste production, pollution and its effects on the planet. 

Another artist we found on several walls is BerriBlue. She's a Polish/Irish street artist and designer based in Porto. Her work is about mortality, sexuality, mental health and personal identity.

And, speaking of ceramic tiles: azulejos are, of course, everywhere too. The Lisbon metro stations feature incredible ceramic tile art by artists like Maria Keil, Luis Ventura, Ângelo de Sousa, Nadir Afonso, Rogério Ribeiro, Françoise Schein & Federica Matta, António Dacosta, Helena Almeida and António Antunes.

More food

Time Out Market Lisboa is a food court under the roof of a historic former market hall. We had quick dinners here more than once because sometimes we were in the vicinity and frankly just too overwhelmed to figure out what and where to eat after another day of sightseeing. And the food was good! So, it was a lifesaver.

Dinner at Zazah, however, was amazing! This dinner was a birthday gift planned for us before our trip. 

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian

Our second visit to the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian was more successful! This museum houses a vast private collection of art and artefacts amassed by Calouste Gulbenkian during his life.

There is so much to see here! I especially enjoyed looking around the rooms with Egyptian art, Greco-Roman art, Mesopotamia, the Islamic Orient, Armenia and artefacts from the Far East. And I loved seeing the René Lalique collection. So delicate and detailed!

OK, that's (more than) enough for today. Watch for part two of this Lisbon recap in the next VLOGletter!

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Marsha Valk