5 Things You Can’t Miss: Lisbon

by Anthony Losanno

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Lisbon is the capital of Portugal and a vibrant city. It’s easy to navigate, affordable, and home to one of my favorite desserts. Here are five things you can’t miss when you visit.

Here are five things you can’t miss on your visit.

Coach Museum Lisbon

5. National Coach Museum

This museum features one of the largest and most valuable collections of ornate, historical carriages. It used to be housed in the Royal Riding Hall but moved in 2015 to a new location in the Belém district. The collection includes carriages from the 17th to 19th centuries made in Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Austria, and England.

Can’t Miss: look for the extravagant Coach of King João V. The ceremonial vehicle was a collaboration the sculptor José de Almeida, the gilder Félix Vicente Almeida, and the painters José da Costa Negreiros and Pierre-Antoine Quillard.

Address: Av. da Índia 136, 1300-300 Lisboa, Portugal

Monument to the Discoveries Lisbon

4. Monument of the Discoveries

Found along the same stretch of riverfront as my #3 pick, the Monument of the Discoveries was completed in 1960 and showcases 33 historical figures including Alfonso V of Portugal, Vasco da Gama, and Magellan. It’s possible to enter but the line has been long each of the six or seven times I’ve visited. Skip the line and climb Belém Tower.

Can’t Miss: The compass rose and mappa mundi made from beige, black, and red limestone behind the monument. It offers a look at how mapmakers used to see the world.

Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal

Belem Tower Lisbon

3. Belém Tower

The tower stands as the ceremonial gateway to Lisbon on the mouth of the Tagus River. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks of the city and the last thing Portuguese explorers saw as they left the city. The tower was constructed in the 16th century and served many purposes through the years including as a coastal defense and prison.

Can’t Miss: climb to the top and take some photos of the waterfront and the 25th of April Bridge, which looks like the Golden Gate Bridge’s twin.

Address: Av. Brasília, 1400-038 Lisboa, Portugal

Pasteis de Nata

2. Pastéis de Belém

One of my favorite desserts are these decadent custard tarts called Pastéis de Nata. You’ll find them everywhere throughout Portugal and even as far as Macau (thanks to Portuguese explorers). The crispy pastry is filled with creamy custard. Eating just one is next to impossible. Thank the monks who created this recipe over 200 years ago as you head to the Jerónimos Monastery. Pastéis de Belém has been making the tarts since 1837 using the original recipe.

Can’t Miss: take some home with you as Lisbon airport sells them to go in the duty-free shops.

Address: R. de Belém 84 92, 1300-085 Lisboa, Portugal

Jeronimos Monastery Lisbon

1. Jerónimos Monastery

This gorgeous 16th century monastery is one of the most prominent examples of the Portuguese Gothic Manueline style. It was paid for with the tax money collected by the Portuguese India Armadas. Marvel at the craftsmanship and details everywhere you look. Vasco da Gama’s remains were moved to the monastery’s carved tombs in 1880.

Can’t Miss: the courtyard is both serene and Instagram-worthy. Grab your selfies here.

Address: Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa, Portugal

Lisbon is often overlooked by tourists who flock to its more popular neighbor, Spain. Thankfully, this is changing as more people discover that the city offers culture, delicious food, and history that is more affordable than most other European destinations. It’s a place I thankfully find myself coming back to again and again.

Sheraton Lisboa Lobby

Bonus Hotel Pick: The Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa has been my pick on seven of the visits I paid to Lisbon. It’s modern, convenient, and pre-Covid had a great lounge (that I hope will reopen soon). Rooms are affordable and it’s easy to get to most of the city’s sites with a quick Uber ride. Check out my full review of the hotel here.

Address: R. Latino Coelho 1, 1050-234 Lisboa, Portugal

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