Sights of Lisbon

The capital of Portugal, Lisbon is home to over 500,000 residents. It’s also home to many gorgeous sights if you don’t mind walking up and down the hills to see them. I felt at home: living in San Francisco makes me no stranger to frequent changes in altitude. Don’t worry: you’ll be rewarded for your efforts at any of the many miradouros (i.e., viewpoints).

Unless otherwise indicated, admission is free, opening hours are 24/7, and the sight is located centrally relative to Praça Dom Pedro IV, commonly known as Rossio Square.

Additionally, if you’re including day-trips to Sintra and Cascais, you might want to get a Lisboa Card since the transportation costs are included in the price in addition to discounted admission to attractions in Lisbon.

Belém Tower and Jerónimos Monastery

Both of these monuments are in the Belém neighborhood. The tower strongly reminded me of Skala du Port in Essaouira, which is hardly surprising since the latter was built by Portuguese explorers.

Beautiful at sunset

The monastery is another example of the same style of late Gothic architecture called Manueline. It took an entire century to finish building it starting in 1501.

Dominates the street

Admission and hours

Adults can visit these monuments for €6 each, or you can buy a combination ticket that includes both of these and the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia between them for a total of €16. (Those who qualify for discounts can get tickets for 50% off.) Admission is free every first Sunday of the month and for Lisboa Card holders.

The opening hours for both monuments is as follows:

  • October-April: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-17:30 (last admission at 17:00)
  • May-September: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-18:30 (last admission at 17:00)
  • Closed: 1 January, Easter Sunday, 1 May, 13 June, and 25 December

Getting there and back

To reach the Belém area from Rossio Square, you can take 15E tram and walk a few minutes west of the Belém station.


Avenida Brasília, 1300-598 Lisboa, Portugal

This brand new museum that opened in October 2016 is an architectural wonder that reminded me of a gentle river wave. The white tiles that cover the structure reflect its surroundings, and when the sun is low, the colors are particularly awe-inspiring. The museum exhibits modern art, and it took me only 30 minutes to see them. Many individual pieces don’t have English descriptions, which cut down on the time I needed. But I am guessing there will be more content in the future as it matures. It’s worth visiting just to see the building itself and to climb on top of it from the outside to gaze at the view of the river.

Stunning museum

Admission and hours

Until March 2017, admission to the new museum is free. It is open year-round Wednesdays-Mondays from 12:00-20:00 except on 25 December, 1 January, and 1 May.

Getting there and back

The museum is just east of the Belém station, and you can take 15E tram from Rossio Square.

Miradouro das Portas do Sol

Largo Portas do Sol, 1100-411 Lisboa, Portugal

One of the many viewpoints scattered across the seven hills of Lisbon, Miradouro das Portas do Sol has a great view of the river and the rooftops on the east side of downtown.

A view of the river

Getting there and back

From Rossio Square, you can reach this viewpoint in less than 20 minutes by foot, or you can take the 28 tram part of the way.

Museu Coleção Berardo

Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa, Portugal

This modern art museum warms you up with some sculptures just outside the entrance. I could’ve spent twice as much time as I did if I had the time to spare and read all the descriptions. Their collection is quite impressive, especially for a museum that is free to the public all the time! Among the artwork on display, I got to see Salvador Dalí’s “Lobster Telephone.” It must have foreshadowed my trip to Boston.

Aphrodisiac Telephone

Admission and hours

Yup, it’s free to enter. You don’t even have to stop at the front desk to get a free ticket printed out. It’s open daily from 10:00-19:00 (last admission at 18:30). Modified hours are used on these days:

  • 24 December: 10:00-14:30 (last admission: 14:00)
  • 25 December: closed
  • 31 December: 10:00-14:30 (last admission: 14:00)
  • 1 January: 12:00-19:00 (last admission: 18:30)

Getting there and back

From Rossio Square, take the 15E tram to the Centro Cultural de Belém station.

Ponte 25 de Abril

Lisboa, Portugal

Contrary to what is commonly circulated, this bridge was not built by the same company that built San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Rather, the company also built the neighboring Bay Bridge connecting SF with Oakland. However, I could see why people often mistakenly associate Ponte 25 de Abril with the Golden Gate Bridge since they both use the same color, international orange. Across the river, you can also see the Cristo Rei statue.

Sister to the Bay Bridge

Getting there and back

I’d recommend going a bit west of the bridge to be able to see the whole thing unless you want to cross the bridge. The MAAT is actually a great place to see the bridge, so head there and see both in the same day.

Praça do Comércio

1100-148 Lisboa, Portugal

Stately statue of King José I

This plaza has Arco da Rua Augusta on its north end and Cais das Colunas on the south.

Pass through the arch

It’s a lovely open space from which to start your walk along the Tagus River.

Columns in the water

The Lisboa Story Centre, Museu de Lisboa, and the tourist information center ring this plaza, so you won’t be bored.

Getting there and back

Walk south for less than ten minutes from Rossio-Square to reach this one.

Praça Dom Pedro IV

Lisboa, Portugal

Dating back to medieval times, this popular meeting place is decorated with fountains imported from France. The National Theatre D. Maria II is on its north end. It’s a good jumping off point to explore downtown Lisbon.

rossio-fountain.jpg Imported from France

Written on November 1, 2016