Some of Lisbon’s most popular attractions are not included in the habitual compilations of the top 10 tourist spots.
Despite the region having plenty to offer that goes beyond what you will find just in the city, the city itself creates unforgettable moments in unexpected places.
The romance of catching tram 28 and getting a glimpse of the inside of the houses that decorate the climb up to Graça. The unique feeling of arriving at Cascais by train, having travelled along the coast right beside the mouth of the Tagus.
1. Elevador da Glória
Sung about in the music of one of the most avant-garde Lisbon bands of the 80s, the Elevador da Glória links Baixa to Bairro Alto – more specifically Praça dos Restauradores to Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. It lets you turn a steep climb into a romantic moment and was opened in 1885 as the second of its kind in the city. Although it was only electrified in 1915, it still retains its original characteristics.
The counter-circulating pulley system known as the Subida à Glória, for use by both amateur and professional cyclists, has been recently renovated. But it’s better to enjoy the comfort of the benches and jerks of the ascent to rest a little before seeing the breathtaking view at the miradouro.
2. Oceanário de Lisboa
Voted the best aquarium in the world in 2015, 2017 and 2018 on tripadvisor. Oceanário de Lisboa creates emotions through the ocean with it’s impressive 8,000 marine creatures. Among these, rays, coral reefs, sharks and sea otters. An experience that everyone wants to live.
Touring through the permanent exhibition is an exalting experience for the senses. A big central aquarium, with five million litres of saltwater, symbolizes the Global Ocean. Surrounding this big aquarium, four marine habitats create the illusion that there is only one aquarium.
The visit it’s between two levels, at surface and underwater. The temporary exhibition, “Forests Underwater by Takashi Amano”, presents tropical forests and their aquatic systems through the largest nature aquarium in the world, created by the famous aquascaper, Takashi Amano. An experience of pure engagement with these environments, where art, beauty and nature are perfectly connected.
3. Cape da Roca
A chance to visit the westernmost point of mainland Europe. Cabo da Roca is located between Cascais and Sintra . Offering the grandest and most imposing views, it obliges visitors to travel along one of the most scenic roads in the region.
The slow and winding climb doesn’t suggest the magnitude of the view from the most westerly point in continental Europe. Cape Roca, in the Sintra hills, combines calmness and inclement weather in one place; a wide, open area where the land drops abruptly into the sea from its 140-metre-high cliffs. You can buy souvenirs, but it’s the photos and pure sea air that will always remind you of the potency of the Atlantic.
The 1772 lighthouse still safely guides the vessels that sail along the Portuguese coast.
4. Ribeira das Naus
Ribeira da Naus is one of the most interesting places in Lisbon. Recently renovated, this old boatyard is today a surprising river beach, with a large grassy area and broad steps extending down into the river.
Even though it is forbidden to bathe, this area linking Cais das Colunas, in Praça do Comércio, to Cais do Sodré is inviting for sunbathing and resting one’s feet after a hard day of touring the streets. To make it even more comfortable, Ribeira das Naus has a kiosk and outdoor seating to make the most of Lisbon’s light and the best sunset in the city.
Have a walk around this totally transformed riverside area. It’s a unique veranda onto the Tagus in a contemporary and an attractive spot; a veritable river beach in the town centre whose charms are to be enjoyed.
5. Lisboa Story Centre
Built on the hills bathed by the Tagus, and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Lisboa is a fascinating mosaic of memories, stories and influences that still mark the urban landscape of this unique city.
The various events that make up its history and some of its protagonists are now presented at Lisboa Story Centre, where all who visit the Portuguese capital are invited to make a trip back in time and discover memories of Lisboa, since its foundation until present day.
In a playful and interactive way whilst respecting the historical accuracy that a city with Lisboa’s past deserves, this interpretation centre takes visitors on a journey through space and time with an audio guide system presenting historically accurate events and dramatic scenes of the city’s different eras.