Travel to Portugal

Day 6 Lisbon (Belém, La Baixa, Alfama) (291 Km.)

(in 18 km.) Lisbon (Belém): The destination of this day is the Algarve, but we do not want to miss the chance to take a short walk through the capital of Portugal. We had been there previously ( see ), but part of the group was visiting it for the first time, so we tried to make a quick visit to the Lisbon main points of interest. We started in the Belém neighborhood, where we took a walk to see its four points of interest: the Belém tower, the Jerónimos monastery, Pastéis de Belém and the Monument to the Discoveries. Belém tower is located at the mouth of the Tagus River and together with the Jerónimos Monastery, was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1983.

Lisbon - Belém tower

Lisbon - Belém tower

Its construction was started in 1516, under the reign of Manuel I of Portugal. It is a defense tower, where part of its beauty lies in the exterior decoration, adorned with ropes sculpted in stone, open galleries, watchtowers in Mozarabic style and battlements in the form of shields decorated with armillary spheres, the cross of the Order of Christ and naturalistic elements, like a rhinoceros located on the west facade. Its structure is composed of two main elements: the tower and the bulwark. The quadrangular tower, of medieval tradition, rises five floors above the bastion, with the Governor's Hall, the King's Hall, the King's Hall, the Chapel and the terrace above everything. We move to the monastery, of which we only see its facade. Founded in 1501, it was designed in Manueline style to order by King Manuel I of Portugal to commemorate the fortunate return of Vasco de Gama from India.

Lisbon- Jerónimos Monastery

Lisbon- Jerónimos Monastery

The Manueline style is characterized by a mixture of architectural and decorative motifs from Late Gothic and Renaissance. The main and lateral portals, the interior of the church and the magnificent cloister stand out. In the same street (Rua de Belém 84) we find the famous bakery where from 1837 they make some delicious cream cakes. Before getting into the car we visited the Monument of the Discoveries, 52 meters high, built in 1960, in the shape of a caravel to commemorate Portuguese heroes strongly linked to the Discoveries, as well as famous navigators, cartographers and kings.

(in 5 km.) Lisbon (downtown): We begin the visit of the neighborhood of La Baixa by Praça do Comércio, which stands out for the great view of the Tagus estuary, the equestrian statue of D. José I located in the center and the Arch that gives access to Rua Augusta, an important shopping street that takes us to Praça do Rossio. Going up Rua Augusta, at the confluence with Rua de Santa Justa, we see the famous Santa Justa elevator, a metal structure 45 meters high built in 1900 that facilitates access to the Chiado neighborhood.

Lisbon - Praça do Rossio

Lisbon - Praça do Rossio

We arrived at the Praça do Rossio, the neuralgic center of Lisbon. In the center is located the statue of D. Pedro IV, the first independent Brazilian emperor. In the mid-nineteenth century the square was covered by black and white mosaics forming drawings. On the north side of the square is the Doña María II National Theater, with a beautiful neoclassical façade, and on the west side the Estação Ferroviário do Rossio, a Manueline-style building opened in 1891. We wanted to get on one of the famous yellow trams of Lisbon, but we desist for the long lines. The most typical trip is to ride on line 28, which passes in front of the cathedral and arrives at the Santa Luzia viewpoint.

Lisbon - Sé (Cathedral)

Lisbon - Sé (Cathedral)

Therefore, we walked up to the cathedral (Sé), whose construction began in 1147, where the Romanesque style predominates. Outside the central rose window and its two towers stand out, while in the interior highlights the cloister and the treasure that include the relics of San Vicente de Huesca (Lisbon's patron). A few meters away we find the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, which stands out for its covered porch with bougainvillea and its tiled walls. From this point we can access the castle of San Jorge or descend to the neighborhood of Alfama. Due to the lack of time we do without the visit to the castle, which we had already done years before.

Lisbon - Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Lisbon - Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon because it resisted the earthquake that devastated the city in 1755. It is a peculiar neighborhood, with narrow and steep streets, reminding a little town or village. It is frequented by tourists and known for its restaurants and its fado houses. We leave Lisbon crossing the 25 de Abril Bridge, which crosses the Tagus River estuary. It is a red painted steel construction of 2,277 meters in length, which highlights its central span of 1013 meters. In the lower part there are six train tracks.

(in 268 km.) Armação de Pêra: We arrive at the apartment where we will spend 4 days, from which we will make all the excursions to visit the Algarve region.