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King José I

The Royal Palace and Gardens of Ajuda

After the earthquake of 1755, the Royal Palace was moved from Praça do Comércio to more stable ground. The neoclassical Palácio da Ajuda would be the occasional home of Portugal’s royalty until the end of the monarchy. We visited the palace, and also the neighboring botanic gardens.

The Praça do Rossio

Rivaling the nearby Praça do Comérico in history and prestige, is the Praça do Rossio. Officially named Praça de Don Pedro IV, in honor of the former king who stands atop a massive column in the plaza’s center, Rossio has been at the heart of Lisboan life since the earliest days of the city.

The Praça do Comércio

What better place to begin our exploration of Lisbon, than the square which has long served as its entrance gate? The Praça do Comércio, usually called the Terreiro do Paço (Palace Yard), is situated at the base of the Tagus River, where ships laden with riches from around the world once came to shore.

The Aqueduct of Águas Livres

Built in the mid 1700s, the Aqueduct das Águas Livres soars 65 meters above the Alcantâra Valley. Today, the waters have stopped running, and the aqueduct has been opened to tourism. For a small fee, you can walk all the way across.

Saturday Shopping in Chiado

When Lisboans want to shop, they head to the neighborhood of Chiado, found between Baixa and Bairro Alto. This upscale “middle ground” is known for its historic shops, churches and theaters. Braced for madness, we explored it on a sunny Saturday, two weeks before Christmas.

The Ascensor do Lavra and Jardim do Torel

The Jardim do Torel is set high on a hill in the neighborhood of Santo António, and the easiest way to reach it is with the Ascensor do Lavra. Once at the top, the garden and the surrounding neighborhood provide plenty of sights for an entertaining day out.

The Museum of Decorative Arts

Set within a 17th-century palace across from the popular Miradouro das Portas do Sol, a viewpoint that looks over Alfama and the cruise ship docks, the Museu de Artes Decorativas (also called the Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva, or FRISS) introduces visitors to the exquisite furniture and design of Lisbon during the Age of Exploration.