Experiencing the sights and sounds of a morning market: If you’re an early riser, take tram 28 to the Alfama at 6am on a Tuesday or Saturday to get the best of Lisbon’s famous flea market, the Feira da Ladra or Thieves Market. To some it’s a jumble, but they say that one person’s rubbish is another’s joy. Rummage among the bric-a-brac and you may find your own personal treasure, whether it’s an antique ornament, vintage clothes or Portuguese crafts.
Enjoying the city’s oases: If the midday sun makes you swoon, then this is the best time to visit Lisbon’s Botanic Gardens. And the likelihood is that very few people will be there. Behind this high-walled garden tucked away between the Bairro Alto and Rato the sounds of the city fade away and all you can hear is the trickle of water into the pond. Here you can walk along mosaicked paths among orchids with a roof of palms shading you from the sun.
Feeling the power of Fado: Mention the name Amália to any Lisboeta and they’ll tell you she was the greatest fadista (fado singer) that ever lived. So getting to know Amália helps to understand the feeling of saudade or nostalgia so evident in the music. Start with the Fado Museum to see, learn and hear about the artists, the art, and the sounds of fado. Then immerse yourself further by visiting a fado house such as A Baiuca, a relaxed space with ad hoc performances by amateurs.
Exploring the hushed spaces of the National Pantheon: The Church of Santa Engrácia is the resting place of kings, presidents, explorers, and singers. Although visiting tombs isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, the church is testament to some of Portugal’s most influential characters. Pay homage to Portugal’s greatest singer, Amália Rodrigues; writer Almeida Garrett; and visit the cenotaphs of Luis de Camões, Pedro Alvares Cabral, Vasco de Gama, and Henry the Navigator—all greats from Portugal’s Golden Age of Discovery.
Port wine tasting: After a long day wearing out your shoe leather on Lisbon’s hills, the Port Wine Institute (IVP) is a soothing treat for both the feet and the palate. Located in the Ludovic Palace in the Bairro Alto, the IVP, or the Solar as it is known, is quiet and elegant with low lighting. Sample a selection of tawny, ruby, white, and late-bottled vintage ports with a platter of bread and cheese; or, if you’re a real connoisseur, choose a bottle of your fortified favorite.
Finding a city within a city: Byron described Sintra as a glorious Eden and it’s easy to see why when you escape the busy town center. Take the bus to the Pena Palace to see the exotic pastiche of Portuguese architecture, but return on your own steam. En route, climb to the peak of the Moors’ Castle to take photos or just enjoy the far-reaching views across the Sintra National Park towards the sea and the palace, perched on a forested peak nearby.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.