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  • Kata Kobli

Lisbon Walking Tour

Come along on our walking tour in Lisbon! Today’s article features the sites we are visiting in Lisbon throughout our walking tour. If you’re in Portugal and enjoy walking tours, don’t forget to check out our Porto walking tour as well as our article on it.

Luis de Camoes

Our first stop is the statue of the Portuguese poet, Luis de Camoes, who is considered the greatest in Portugal. His verses have been compared to that of Shakespeare, Milton, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a great amount of lyrical poetry and drama but his greatest work by far is Os Lusíadas, or The Lusiads in English. An interesting fact about him is that he lost his right eye in a naval battle in the Strait of Gibraltar. The statue we are standing in front of was built in 1867 and it is the second oldest to the statue of King Jozef I in the Praca de Comercio in the city of Lisbon.

Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation

As we walk further, we arrive to our second stop, the Church of Our Lady of the Incarnation and the Church of Our Lady of the Loreto of the Italians. The church was built in the 14th century and functioned as one of the gateways to the city center of Lisbon. An interesting fact is that Lisbon is home to over 100 churches, so it’s good to pay close attention, when you’re wandering on the streets of Lisbon.

Antonio Ribeiro

As we continue our journey, soon we can see another poet’s statue, which is the statue of Antonio Ribeiro. Ribeiro was born in a small town called Evora in 1520. If his name doesn’t ring a bell, don’t worry, he went by the name Chiado. He got the name Chiado as he spent many years in the Chiado destrict of Lisbon. He was known to be a satirical poet of the sixteenth century, contemporary of Luís Vaz de Camões.

Cafe a Brassileira

Walking a bit further, we arrive to a small Brasilian café called Cafe a Brassileira.  This café is one of the oldest and by far the most famous café in the old quarter of Lisbon. The place was opened by Adrian Telles to import and sell Brazilian coffee in the 19th century, as coffee then was a rarity in the households of Lisbon. Later on, the Café became a popular meeting point for intellectuals, artists, writers and freethinkers. Today, it is a widely known tourist attraction, where visitors can admire the beautiful outer and interior design, as well as – of course – sample some coffee.

Fernando Pessoa

As we stand in front of the Cafe a Brassileira, you can see the statue of the poet Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa was a prolific writer, and fun fact: he created his poem under seventy-five different names! His most remembered names are Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos, and Ricardo Reis. He did not call them pseudonyms because he felt that this did not capture their true independent intellectual life, therefore, he called them heteronyms instead. Pessoa often used these imaginary figures to speak unpopular or extreme views. The poet was closely connected to the Cafe a Brassileira, hence why his statue is right in front of the building. Additionally, the coffee shop even sells one of his most known books called Mensagem in several languages inside. The book is often referred to as ‘livro pequeno de poemas’ which means ‘little book of poems’, as the book consists of 44 poems.   


Carmo Convent

Our next stop is a former Catholic convent from the year 1389 called Carmo Convent. This medieval monument was badly damaged during the sequence of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon earthquake. The 7.7 magnitude earthquake impacted Portugal on the morning of Saturday, 1 November during the Feast of All Saints In combination with subsequent fires and a tsunami, the earthquake almost completely destroyed Lisbon. The natural disaster impacted 200,000 people and took the lives of 30,000–40,000. Alfama is the only area that has survived the impact, which is now known as the old town of Lisbon. Carmo is one of the ruins that represents the impact of this earthquake. If you would like to know more about the earthquake it is recommended to visit the “Quake” museum, which was nominated for Europe’s Best Immersive Museum.   

Santa Justa Elevador

As we continue along, we arrive to Santa Justa Elevador, which is an elevator that opened in 1899 and connects Baixa with Carmo. The elevator was designed by Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard an apprentice of Mr Eiffel known for designing the famous Eiffel tower in Paris. Raoul Mesnier du Ponsard also created the two famous Lisbon tram elevators known as Elevador da gloria and Elevador da Bica.


Bordalo art 

The next stop is the street art of Arthur Bordalo, also known as Bordalo II was born in 1987 and is one of Portugal’s most famous street artists and self-described activists. In his art he represents the excessive production and consumption, which results in the continuous production of “garbage” and the destruction of the Planet. His murals are contructed of recycled trash, which highlights the waste and over-consumption in today’s society.

Rossio square Pedre da Calcada

As we continue walking, we arrive to King Pedro IV Square, one of the principal squares since the Middle Ages, which is also known by another name, the Rossio. It experienced public uprisings, festivals, bullfights, and executions. Today, both Lisbon residents and tourists use it as their meeting place. The floor is dressed in calçada, an iconic Portuguese pavement style that has been used in many of Portugal's pedestrian areas. It is formed up of tiny, flat stone fragments that are placed in the shape of a mosaic in a design or image. Since the square had been rebuilt following the earthquake and tsunami, this mosaic is specifically created in the shape of a wave. The National Theater of Lisbon, which was formerly a pelice, is viewable in front, all while the oldest train station in Lisbon, Rossio, is situated just a short distance away. 

Dom Pedro IV

As we walk towards the middle of the square, we can see the column of King Peter 4th of Portugal and the Algarves, also known as Pedro I of Brazil is located in the center of the Rossio Square in Lisbon, Portugal. The monument was constucted in 1870. There is a common myth that the statue of King Pedro IV at the top of the Column had originally been built for Mexico's Emperor Maximilian I. Furthermore, Rossio Square is believed to have profited from the acquisition of the statue once the Mexican emperor was shot in 1867, just before it was finished.


Along the way we make our next stop at The Ginjinha of the Praça de São Domingos. This establishment was the first in Lisbon to commercialize the drink that gives its name to it. The Ginjah since then became one of the most popular liquors in Portugal. Ginjah is a sweet cherry liquor that is made by Churges leaving ginja berries in aguardente (alcohol that turnes to burning water), then adding sugar, water and cinnamon. These days, the town of Obidos, frequently referred to as Portugal's "chocolate town,"  that generates a large amount of ginjah. Whenever they mixed ginja with a chocolate cup, a new custom was created. Whilst we're here, enjoy a glass of ginjah! 

Soa Domingo Church 

Lisbon, Portugal is home to the Catholic Church of St. Dominic. It has been given the status of National Monument. The chapel was originally the largest in Lisbon and was dedicated in 1241. Once the Jews had the chance to convert to Christianity in 1500, this church came to be known as the church for the New Christians; consequently, the Soa Domingo Church became their place of worship. Moreover, The Lisbon Massacre of 1506, which saw the murder of tens of thousands of New Christians (which used to be converted Jews) by a Christian mob, occurred in the cathedral and church square. The remaining parts of the church, that remain visible although never having been completely rebuilt following the initial fire, are an incredibly stunning sight. Check it out inside; admission is free! 

Little Portuguese Bacalhao store

Along the way we make a quick stop at a small Portuguese Bacalhao store. Portugal is famous for its abundance of fresh fish, however in spite of this, codfish, one of the country's most traditional dishes, is virtually unobtainable in this region of the world. The fish is from the north, and as this store displays, it has been marinated in salt to keep it fresh! In addition to this, among the very first trading agreements agreed upon by our discoverers is what introduced the fish to Portugal. The legend states that there are 365 ways to prepare this fish for all 365 days of the year due to the tradition of devouring it. Bacalhao a bras is the most well-known bacalhao, and they are undoubtedly worth trying. 

Praça da Figueira

After leaving the Bacalhao store, we continue our journey towards the Praça da Figueira. This enormous marketplace in Lisbon is occasionally still used for markets. The bronze statue of King John I (João), who ruled Portugal from 1385 until his death in 1433, was unveiled in the square in 1971. He is most famous for having helped Portugal defeat Spain in a succession war while retaining its independence. A fascinating aspect of this statue is that you can see how the individual died by examining the placement of the horse's feet. The horse's rider died in combat because the statue shows the horse in position with both front hooves up. One front leg raised by the horse symbolizes a rider who has been injured in combat or who has passed away from those wounds. And if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider died from causes outside of battle.   

Maria Severa fado singer

As we continue towards the fado district, we can see the portait of Maria Severa, also known simply as A Severa, who was a Portuguese fado singer and guitarist. In her brief lifetime, she was acknowledged as the first fado singer to attain popularity, and upon her passing, she became virtually legendary. Fado, which roughly translates to "fate," has frequently been characterized as the Portuguese version of "the blues”. It is known that she was a prostitute's daughter and it is believed she had multiple partners. She commonly shows up in a number of locations, like this lovely street art, but you can also see her in more public spaces like the Time Out Market! A worthwhile visit to Lisbon's foothall. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 26 in 1846, and was buried in a common grave.

Azulejos old hospital

During our tour we walk past an old hospital covered in beautiful azulejos. Azulejos is a form of Portuguese and Spanish painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, ordinary houses, schools, and nowadays, restaurants, bars and even railways or subway stations. They are an ornamental art form, but they also had the function of temperature control in houses. The word azulejo is derived from Arabic, meaning "polished stone" because the original idea was to imitate the Byzantine and Roman mosaics.


São Jorge Castle

Our next stop is the São Jorge Castle, or Castelo de Sao Jorge, which is a historic castle in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, which was built by the kings of Portugal, Ferdinand I, Denis, Sebastian, João Fernandes and Vasco Bras. The hill on which Saint George's Castle stands has played an important part in the history of Lisbon. It has served as the location of fortifications occupied successively by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Moors, before its conquest by the Portuguese in the 1147 Siege of Lisbon. Since the 12th century, the castle has served as a royal palace, a military barracks, home of the Torre do Tombo National Archive, and now as a national monument and museum. Additionally, the castle is surrounded by gardens with exotic animals.  


Pastel de Nata

After the São Jorge Castle we make a quick stop at a pastel de nata store. Pastel de nata or pastel de Belém is a Portuguese egg custard tart pastry. The Portuguese egg custard tart pastry is known as pastel de nata or pastel de Belém. Before the eighteenth century, Catholic monks in Belem's Mosteiro dos Jerónimos invented pastel de nata.  Large amounts of egg whites were used at the time by convents and monasteries to starch religious garments worn by friars and nuns. Sweet pastry recipes were all throughout the nation since it was typical for monks and convents to use the remaining egg yolks to make cakes and pastries. Solely pastel de belem—the original pastel—is offered for sale in Belem. In this store you can find the best pastel de nata in Lisbon!

Portas do Sol

After trying some pastel de nata, it is time to continue our walk towards the Portas de sol, which translates to the Gate of the Sun. This viewpoint is in the center of Alfama, a neighborhood that is highly suggested for exploration. This district serves as the hub for the saint festivities honoring all of Portugal's saints in June. On the festive streets, peppers and sardines are on sale everywhere, and everyone is outside dancing. Alfama is also referred to as the "old town" because it was the sole neighborhood spared from destruction in the 1755 earthquake. If you attend our walking tour, here you have some free time to take pictures!

Se Lisboa

Once everyone is done taking pictures, we go to see one of the lasts sites on this walking tour, Se Lisboa. The cathedral, the oldest building in the city, has undergone numerous renovations, additions, and modifications in addition to withstanding numerous earthquakes. The art is unique because it is always rebuilt using the same stone, ensuring that it will always be the city's oldest church. Fun fact about this place is that our pope paid this church a visit during the World Christian Youth Festival last year!  


Praca de Comercio 

We have arrived at the last stop of our tour. One of the biggest squares in Portugal is Praca de Comercio, which is situated downtown Lisbon, the country's capital, and faces the harbor. To reflect its new role in Lisbon's economy, the square was dubbed Praça do Comércio, or the Square of Commerce. The square's symmetrical structures were occupied by government offices overseeing port and customs operations. The focal point of the ensemble was the mounted statue of King José I, which was unveiled in the square's middle in 1775. This is the first colossal statue in Lisbon honoring a king. The bronze figure was created by Veríssimo da Costa, also known as the Arco da Rua Augusta.

To continue discovering more hidden gems and captivating destinations, stay tuned for more articles on our website. Follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on new releases and join us as we embark on new adventures. We will be back soon with a new article! If you're visiting Lisbon, make sure to try our Fado, Food, and Wine tour!

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