Portugal is a country that is as close as it is unknown to many people. But we love it and whenever we can we escape to the neighboring country to enjoy its people, its gastronomy and its monumental cities.
On this occasion, in September 2014, we decided to visit Lisbon, a city that we loved and would like to return to in the not too distant future.
Also, it was our first international trip with our 11 month old. We traveled by car but it was an important litmus test to make further trips with him in the future.
The preparation of the trip
As Portugal is such a close country, we decided to go by car. It was also much easier to go with a child and then it is the best option to get around the destination. We went with our own car entering Portugal through Badajoz and arriving in Lisbon crossing the 25 de Abril Bridge.
The chosen hotel, as always in hotels.com, was the Hotel Lisboa, located next to Avenida da Libertade, very close to the Plaza del Marqués de Pombal and with a Metro station very close that we finally didn’t use. The best thing about the hotel was the location and the worst was the parking lot, very tight.
To get around Lisbon, at first we were going to use the Metro, but finally we moved on foot as it was very centrally located or in our own car to go to more distant places.
Day 1. Walk through La Baixa
After arriving in Lisbon at noon, just before lunch, we decided to visit La Baixa. To do this we walked down Avenida da Libertade, and suffering from the poor condition of the sidewalks to go with a baby stroller, to the Restauradores Square and the neighboring Rossio Square. Between the two squares is the beautiful Rossio Station.
Rossio Square is the most central and with the most atmosphere in Lisbon. From there starts the Rúa Aurea, where the Elevador de Santa Justa is located, which serves to go to the Barrio Alto, where the Carmo Convent is located, destroyed after the 1755 earthquake.
At the end is the Plaza del Comercio, located next to the Tagus, from where you have beautiful views of the river and the 25 de Abril Bridge. From there we went back along the Rúa Augusta, full of shops and restaurants to end up again in the Rossio Square.
Day 2. The Alfama neighborhood and the Nations Park
The second day in Lisbon is dedicated to visiting two very different neighbourhoods. Taking advantage of the time difference, we were able to get up early and walk to the Plaza de Figueira, at the foot of the Castle of São Jorge.
To get to the castle we use the elevator that starts from the Rúa dos Franqueiros and that avoids you going up the steep and cobbled slopes of La Alfama. We visited the Castle of São Jorge from the outside and decided to visit the rest of the points of interest in La Alfama on foot, such as the Mirador do Portas do Sol or the Mirador de Santa Lucía. In Lisbon there are countless viewpoints that are worth visiting.
Wandering around, which is the best thing you can do in La Alfama, we arrive at the Lisbon Cathedral, whose interior is very interesting, especially the Cloister. The walk ended at the Casa dos Bicos, located just down the steep streets of the neighborhood.
After visiting again the Plaza del Comercio and the Plaza del Rossio, we returned to the hotel to rest before going by car to the Park of Nations.
In the Parque de las Naciones, where the Universal Exhibition of 1998 was held, we were able to admire the Estación de Oriente, the work of Santiago Calatrava and take a walk around the pavilions used for the Expo and admire the immensity of the Vasco da Gama Bridge.
On the way back, at night, we took a tour with our own car to see Lisbon illuminated, highlighting the views of the Castle of São Jorge from the Plaza de Martim Moniz.
Day 3. The Belem neighborhood and getaway to Sintra
In the morning of this third day in Lisbon we went by car to the Belem neighborhood, one of the most beautiful in Lisbon.
After leaving it in a car park, we visited the Jerónimos Monastery, spectacular on the outside and inside, and from there we walked to the Torre de Belem, one of the symbols of the city.
Despite the heat, a walk along the riverbank from the Torre de Belem to the Monument to the Discoveries was very pleasant. As well as the views from the terrace at the top of this monument of the river, the monuments of Belem and the 25 de Abril Bridge.
After lunch in a restaurant in Belem, located near the famous Antiga Cofeitaria, we took the car and went to a dream place, Sintra.
In Sintra there are two different parts. On the one hand, the old town, where the National Palace stands out, and on the other, the upper area of the mountain where the Castelo dos Mouros and the surprising Palacio da Pena are located, an essential place to visit in this area of Portugal.
Our tour ended at nearby Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in continental Europe. The views from there, and more at sunset are great.
Day 4. Last day in Lisbon and visit to Elvas
The last day of our brief visit to Lisbon arrived and to return to Spain we decided to cross the other great bridge in the city, the Vasco da Gama Bridge, which is 17 kilometers long, 13 of them over the waters of the Tagus.
The journey over the bridge seems endless but it is a unique experience to leave Lisbon and start on your way home. But before arriving in Spain we decided to take a walk around Elvas and eat there.
From Elvas we can highlight the Amoreira Aqueduct, the historic center and its Castle, places that we visit before eating and returning home. Of Elvas it is also worth highlighting its forts, which we did not visit on this occasion but which we already knew.