TOP 10 What to do in Lisbon

What to do in Lisbon castle belem tower

What to do in Lisbon – Lisbon is an interesting city. In Lisbon you can find interesting attractions and something you can’t miss in Lisbon are all its panoramic viewpoints. Lisbon in fact has been built on several hills and this create many good panoramic viewpoints upon different parts of the city.

Is this your first time in Lisbon Portugal? Do you want to know what to see in Lisbon? No Problem! In this post you find the TOP 10 things to see in Lisbon.

TOP 10 Things to see in Lisbon

This is our list of 10 things to see in Lisbon:

  1. Commerce Square
  2. The museum of the history of Lisbon which is located in the square of commerce
  3. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
  4. Lisbon Castle or Castle of São Jorge
  5. Belem Tower
  6. Lisbon Oceanarium
  7. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
  8. Cableway of the ex Fiera area
  9. Miradouro da Graça
  10. Fado show

Commerce Square

Commerce square is at the top of our list of what to do in Lisbon and what to see. This is in fact the main point of the city. This square was designed and built after the terrible earthquake that devastated the city in 1755.

What to do in Lisbon
What to do in Lisbon – Commerce Square

This historical place has always been an important point for Lisbon. Lisbon has a long history of trading with distant lands. Exotic goods arrived at this point first from Africa and then from Brazil.

The trade and the quantity of goods were so important to the city that at one point the royal residence was even moved from the hill to the vicinity of the ship landing. In this way the king could control the riches that arrived in the city.

All this until the drastic earthquake of 1755 which destroyed the city and which was the starting point for a change of appearance of the city itself.

After an initial disorientation on the part of the population, the projects for the new Lisbon were launched. There were those who wanted to move it to an area not affected by the earthquake, there were those who wanted to rebuild it as it was, but the project that was approved was to destroy in order to rebuild, then rebuild the city with a completely new face, giving the off to the first modern city of Europe.

Lisbon Castle or Castle of São Jorge

The hold city center and the castle is surrounded by city walls. In order to visit the city castle you should enter into this historic area. In order to understand better what we are visiting we want to know sometthing more about Lisbon History.

Lisbon and the Walls

In the 11th and 12th centuries, Lisbon had an urban model, similar to that of other medieval cities located on hilltops and its urban design stilt showed signs of its Roman legacy. With natural defence conditions that allowed surveilling the Tagus and its surrounding area, it had, at the top, the “Alcacova” (citadel) the city’s privileged area with its own wall that included the castle, residential areas for the elites and religious buildings.

The south section of this enclosure, whose shape dates back, at least, to the 17th century, still has two semicircular towers and two gates. The urban centre, which was also walled, grew along the hillside towards the riverside and included the largest mosque, which would later be turned into the Cathedral, housing quarters, a market and the public baths.

With a paramount role in defence, the walls were also a symbol that marked the boundary between the city within the walls and the surrounding area (suburbs), which were predominantly rural.


Being a structuring and essential element of the city’s defences, the “Cerca Velha” Wall (Old War) underwent successive repairs and changes, many of which were related to the evolution of fortifications and siege methods.

The partial dismantling of this wall resulted from the construction of the Fernandine wall (1373-1375), a defence line that integrated new areas to the east and west of the initial urban core. The old wall was progressively adjusted to the ongoing urban evolution, both due to the city’s reorganisation during the Manueline (1495-1521) and Pombaline periods (after the earthquake of 1755), and to the various needs that occasionally emerge, even today.

The ‘Cerca Velha” Wall is still a living structure, which remains partially integrated or visible in the layout of the current urban fabric. The alignment of the buildings, the main roads or the arches that exist by the riverside, memories of old gates and wickets, are references that still allow us to rediscover the medieval urban landscape today.

The Belem Tower

The Belem Tower: history

King John II (1455-1495) conceived a pioneer plan for the defense of the city of Lisbon. He planned the construction of the Tower of Cascais and the crossing of fire between the Tower of S. Sebastiao on the south bank, and a barge anchored in the middle of the Tagus river. King Manuel I completed this project when he commissioned Francisco de Arrudo to build the Belem Tower between 1514 and 1519.

The Belem Tower loses strategic importance and becomes successively a prison (1589), a customs post (1655), a telegraph station (1810) and a lighthouse (1895). Major restoration works took place in the 19th (1846) and 20th century.

The Belem Tower: The drawbridge

The drawbridge of the Belem Tower, combined with a portcullis and several openings on the entrance ceiling through which projectiles were launched, made access by invaders difficult.

The 5 best panoramic views of Lisbon

  1. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte
  2. Lisbon Castle Castle of São Jorge
  3. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara
  4. Cableway of the ex Fiera area
  5. Miradouro da Graça

1. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

2. Lisbon Castle: St George Castle viewpoint (Miradouro do Castelo de São Jorge)

3. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara

4. Cableway of the ex Fiera area

5. Miradouro da Graça

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TOP 10 What to do in Lisbon

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