We love visiting markets at our various homes around the world, and were excited to learn that Lisbon has historic halls spread all across the city. However, once we started visiting them, we weren't always too impressed.
One of Lisbon's most popular museums is the Museu Nacional do Azulejo, which introduces visitors to the history of Portuguese tiles within the confines of 16th century convent. Tiles feature in just about every one of our pictures of Lisbon, so we were excited to learn more about them.
Lisbon's most attractive residential neighborhood might be Campo de Ourique, found to the west of Estrela. Centered around a lively market hall, the block-shaped streets hide a wealth of restaurants and shops, and make the area feel like an independent village hidden within the capital city.
Set inside the sprawling confines of a former manufacturing complex in Alcântara is the LX Factory: a collection of almost painfully cool shops, galleries, restaurants, and offices. We spent an entertaining afternoon poking around the merchandise, browsing a stunning bookstore, and grabbing drinks at a bar on top of the factory.
The oldest and most important church in Lisbon is its cathedral, the Santa Maria Maior. The Sé, as it's commonly referred to, was built in 1147, immediately after the city was conquered by the Christians. We checked it out after having visited the National Pantheon in the nearby church of Santa Engrácia.
Ever since arriving in Lisbon, we had been aware of the Igreja da Santa Engrácia, with its massive dome capping the skyline of Alfama, and wondered how beautiful the church inside must be. Upon visiting, we immediately realized that, while beautiful it is... a church it isn't. At least, not anymore. Today, the Santa Engrácia holds the National Pantheon, which honors some of the country's most prestigious historical figures.
Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, and the oldest district of this very old city is Alfama. Planted just beneath the Castelo de São Jorge, Alfama was the seed from which the rest of Lisbon sprung.
Trams have been a way of life in Lisbon since 1873, with the installation of cars powered by horse. Unlike the city's remaining funiculars, which have primarily become tourist sights, the trams are still useful and popular with locals. Though, they're touristy, too. We took a ride on the #28, which is known for its breathtaking route past some of Lisbon's most iconic sights.
One month in, and Lisbon was already starting to feel like home. We had adjusted to the culture almost immediately, and our legs were starting to adjust to the hills. Almost every day of our first month was spent outside, exploring some corner of Lisbon, so we had plenty of opportunity to build some solid first impressions.
In 1998, Portugal honored the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama's historic journey to India by constructing the longest bridge in Europe. A gondola provides incredible views over the bridge, the Tagus estuary which it spans, and the former pavilions of the 1998 World Expo.