Lisbon aboard the 28 Tram

A bordo do elétrico 28The 28 Tram was born in 1914 and up to this day it grew up to be a true icon of Lisbon, reproduced in several book covers and millions of photographs. In the beginning of the 20th century, its original itinerary was shorter than today, covering the short distance between praça Luís de Camões and Estrela. It was only in 1928, when launching the line Rossio-Estrela, that it earned the 28 numeration. And the final trail to Prazeres was not added until 1973. The whole route, priced on 2,85 euros, covers emblematic locals like Chiado, St. Geoge’s castle, Alfama and Graça. It’s not surprising that, despite the lack of guides and not being allowed to hop on and off with the same ticket, the 28 Tram is always full with both locals and tourists looking for the most authentic Lisbon.

A bordo do elétrico 28This is also a comprehensive journey through the city’s history, starting in Graça, where you can find the Graça church and its viewpoint. The tram then follows the rails down rua da Voz do Operário to find São Vicente de Fora church and monastery at its bottom. Next to it is Feira da Ladra, where every Tuesdays and Saturdays hundreds of street vendors gather to sell their knick-knacks. Full of skill, the tram arrives at largo das Portas do Sol, an area really close to St. George’s castle and Alfama. Further below, the tram meets Lisbon’s Cathedral and Santo António church. It then crosses the pombaline downtown, where passengers can catch a glimpse of rua Augusta and Terreiro do Paço.

A bordo do elétrico 28If you don’t get the 28 Tram in the beginning of its course, you’ll most likely encounter a full tram. Once inside, take care of your personal belongings as there are many pickpockets taking this tram as well – they’re easily recognizable for riding in large groups and trying to look like (fake) tourists. However, don’t let this warning ruin your ride: there’s still a long way to go and after the downtown comes Chiado. On its way there, the 28 Tram passes by São Carlos national theater and A Brasileira (the mythical café attended regularly by the remarkable Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa). Up ahead is praça Luís de Camões, but the rails take you to calçada do Combro, where you can find Bica elevator and Santa Catarina viewpoint. A little bit after that, the tram reaches São Bento palace and heads to Estrela’s Basilica and garden. The last part of the journey is done along the fancy district of Campo de Ourique. Prazeres cemetery comes right after and the trip comes to an end. But only until you realize you want another ticket and repeat this unique journey through the heart of Lisbon.

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Lisbon best tours

Galerias RomanasHistory has it that the legendary greek character Ulysses, while on one of his legendary trips, stopped in Lisbon and claimed these lands as his, thus calling it Olissipo. More than 2000 years later, we know that this story is nothing more than a founding myth, but Lisbon’s true and real history is well visible. One can see and feel it just by walking on the streets, whether looking to the Pombaline buildings, talking to the several cultures that first arrived with the Portuguese Discoveries ages, or simply by visiting several ruins or looking at the natural landscape that surrounds Lisbon and its outskirts. Little details like that really contribute to make Lisbon a one of a kind city.

Miradouro de Graça - Lisboa (Portugal)Lisbon has several tour operators who thought and designed different tours to guide – and surprise – visitors around the city. Usually, these tours consist of pre-planned routes around a specific theme. They can simply deliver historical routes or focus on the most peculiar aspects of Lisbon, but some have more to it. There are tours designed to take people know on a ride through the city’s nightlife, others thought to introduce Lisbon’s vast food culture (ranging from portuguese to thai cuisine) and, of course, leisure tours, where people are invited to try something new and radical like a surf class or a fado listening session.

The National no Tuk TukThere are various ways to carry out a tour through Lisbon. You can do it on your own, of course, but the best is to leave accompanied – by a group or by a solo guide. Some tours are even supposed to be done by feet (namely the ones comprising visits to museums and monuments), an effort that’s compensated by the wealth one can find in Lisbon’s seven hills. But you can also choose to do the tour aboard a motorized vehicle: bus, tram, boat, tuk-tuk or even a sidecar are some of the options that grant total freedom around town. If the weather allows it, a journey to one of the many beaches surrounding Lisbon is absolutely essential. Costa da Caparica, Sintra or Cascais are some of the places where you can just sunbathe or start those surf lessons you’ve been wanting to take.

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• Lisbon family friendly

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• Bairro Alto’s best restaurants

Best restaurants in Chiado

FábulasChiado is the show window of Lisbon: here, shops and restaurants keep flourishing in a merge of styles that overtakes borders and pleases every taste. We prepared this guide with some of the hottest spots in downtown Lisbon to facilitate your choices. Thus, we recommend to look out for Fábulas and its unique terrace. Inside, it combines a vintage décor with a menu filled with light meals, like toasts and salads. BCN – Beber e Comer by Novamesa also deserves attention, especially if you’re looking for a catalonian meal: tapas (spanish snacks) are the main specialty. In the same logic, Kaffehaus should not be disregarded. It offers a fair amount of austrian dishes and a brunch said to be one of the best in town.

Café São LuizBut walking in Chiado can really whet your appetite, and sometimes a mere tapa is not enough. For those times, the generous menu of Tacho à Mesa by Faz Gostos offers nothing but portuguese food cooked in the hour and with taste. Taberna do Chiado looks up to tradition and recreates the ambience of a typical tavern. The stand outs? Azorean black pudding with pineapple and the smoked ham with three cheeses and asparagus – just to name a few. Next to rua Garrett, Café do Chiado also deserves attention. Enhancing a bohemian style, it promotes literature (it has its own library) and gastronomy: risotto, shrimp curry or english steak are the specialties. Almost on the next door in Café São Luiz and its gourmet cuisine with low cost prices. The menu mixes portuguese typical flavours and ingredients with flavours from all over the world. Plus, lunches and dinners in Café São Luiz grant a 20% discount on the ticket price for the daily show in that theatre.

BelcantoAround the same area, you will also find the sophisticated Largo. Standing next to Teatro São Carlos, it stands out for the bold décor and the contemporary menu with portuguese ingredients – the 80º codfish with portuguese seasoning is the best exemple. Keeping the emphasis on luxury, let us move to U Chiado. Displaying an industrial chic décor, it’s one of the restaurants that stays open until later in the night (it only closes at 2 a.m.) and from the menu we suggest the hamburgers, risottos or pastas, besides the codfish in rosemary oil. You’ll also hardly avoid one of José Avillez’s restaurants, since the chef has three houses in Chiado. Belcanto, open since 1958 is perhaps the best example. It is worth precisely for the aristocratic look and dishes like “dive in the sea and the lamb”, or the classics strogonoff and eggs à professor. Pizzaria Lisboa also has chef Avillez signature. In this restaurant you will find 25 different pizzas with names that pay homage to Lisbon’s streets. Last, but not least, we recommend a strategic stop at Santini. Perhaps the most famous ice-cream store in Lisbon and around, it always have lines outside and that might be due to the freshness of ingredients: the ice-creams are 100 % artisanal and to die for.

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Guide to the terraces and coffeeshops of Lisbon

Esplanada do Meninos do RioLisbon is the perfect place to spend the whole year in both coffee shops and terraces. The city is full of unique places to enjoy the almost permanent good weather, while you gather your breath or have a cold drink. Through this guide, you’ll find a fine selection of the best coffee shops and terraces, thought for those days when you really want to go out. Starting out on the western area, we suggest Darwin’s Café, located inside Champalimaud Foundation and with a luminous terrace, right in front of Tagus’ estuary. Next to Torre de Belém, you will find Café do Forte, a sunny terrace which combines good location and a menu filled with good suggestions. Still next to the river, we point out Le Chat, a bar gifted with a magnificent terrace facing Conde de Óbidos dock. Meninos do Rio stands nearby, right above the water and next to Cais do Sodré. It’s usually full with happy people and has a parking lot really close.

Lost In Esplanada BarOn the way to Bairro Alto, you can stop in Noobai, located in Santa Catarina viewpoint. It is very popular and highly frequented and only five minutes away from the area where everyone goes out. In Chiado, Café no Chiado is the one drawing attention, namely due to its inviting terrace and well balanced menu. Keep in mind to try Quiosque de Refresco, remembering the old iron kiosks selling cold drinks and snacks. Customers are young and old, locals and tourists, always coming by in a frantic rhythm. The Lost In, working as both terrace and bar near Príncipe Real, is a serious case of success, taking a high point in town to offer a fantastic panoramic view. On the top of Alfama, Portas do Sol is the obvious stand out, since it gathers everything needed to grant great sunny moments. Finally, on the way to the easternmost part of town, make a strategical stop in Deli Delux. Originally a gourmet grocerie store, soon became famous for its terrace facing the river, where you can have a drink or try the house’s delicacies. It’s a calmer place, sought by people looking for some quiet and individuality. You just have to take the time to choose the place where you’re going to rest your legs next.

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Romantic escapade in Lisbon

Memmo AlfamaIn Lisbon, love is in the air. It’s in the buildings’ charm, in the beauty of the streets, in the grace of the portuguese pavement or in the joy of light. You could spend hours telling you why Lisbon is the perfect city for a romantic escapade, but it’s better if every couple check for themselves. Start by finding out a hotel, like the exquisite Mercy Hotel. Located in the city epicenter, it has the downtown and Bairro Alto at its feet, besides offering an unique view of the city from its terrace. In the vicinity, one can also find Hotel Internacional, who took na old pombalino building to settle. However, if you prefer to delve into the typical and traditional Lisbon, try Memmo Alfama. This hotel is integated in the Design Hotels network and is just two steps away from Alfama and St. George Castle.

Ponto FinalWith the luggage unpacked, it’s time to go out and see Lisbon with your other half, so go downtown and get elétrico 28 (tram number 28). It takes around an hour to complete the route, and since it goes through some of the most emblematic neighbours in town – like Graça, Castelo, Chiado or Estrela and its basílica -, it’s a nice way to be introduced to Lisbon’s own charms. If you’re staying near the centre, take the time to visit cais das Colunas and the privileged sight over Tagus River or even the belvedere on the top of rua Augusta’s triumphal arch. If the weather is warm and welcoming, step up the game and visit jardim do Torel or Nossa Senhora do Monte’s belvedere – both unmatchable spots in Lisbon. Places like jardim da Estrela or jardim Calouste Gulbenkian are equally great and peaceful, thus providing good times for a couple. In the meantime, hunger will probably get you, so you’d better head for Deli Delux in Santa Apolónia – their terrace is right over Tagus river and a must for both locals and visitors.

FoxtrotAs the night falls, it sure is time to enjoy a more intimate ambience, preferably with a cuisine up to it. We recommend 100 Maneiras, Origami and Pedro e o Lobo, which successfully ally sophistication, exquisiteness and charm to portuguese cooking traditions. Afreudite, however, it’s plainly naughty. The ambience is hot and the food is both exotic and aphrodisiac. But there’s an ultimate place for romance: it’s called Ponto Final and it’s located in Almada, on the south bank of the Tagus River. Not only one of its tables is literally above the river, but it is also possible to watch an unforgettable sunset over Tagus bay. Having finished your dinner, decide what kind of ambience you’re looking for. Pavilhão Chinês, with a proper chinese decor, is ideal for a relaxed, laid-back night. Foxtrot, a place where years don’t seem to go through, works under the same logic and promotes intimacy in an old-fashion way. But if you prefer to party for a while, try Ondajazz in Alfama, or the ever so trendy Lux Frágil. But of course you can just go back to the hotel and think about the words of the Portuguese poetry Fernando Pessoa: “I love like only love can love, I don’t know any other reason to love besides loving, what more can I say besides I love you, when everything I want to say is that I love you?”.

Other articles about Lisbon:

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• Cheap restaurants

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• Bairro Alto’s best restaurants