After having spent five days in Sintra, Jürgen and I had easily reached our palace quotient for the year... and it was still early January. But we couldn't possibly leave Lisbon without visiting the Palácio Nacional de Queluz, just fifteen kilometers outside the city.
More from Our Trip to Sintra Sintra | Palácio Nacional de Sintra | Palácio Nacional da Pena | Parque da Pena Castelo dos Mouros | Chalet de Condessa | Monserrate | Convento of the Capuchos Quinta da Regaleira | Cabo da Roca After having visited the Palácio de Pena, we turned our attention to the park which extends behind and above it. A vast network of paths snake through the forest, leading to special buildings, statues, gardens…
We had been frustrated in our attempt to visit Lisbon's Jardim Botânico, finding it closed for renovations. "Indefinitely", as the bored girl behind the desk put it. But we had a back-up in mind: within the Parque de Eduardo VII is another botanic garden, called the Estufa Fria.
Sloping upward from the roundabout of Marquis de Pombal, the Parque de Eduardo VII is a weirdly attractive green space in Lisbon. It's simply a long hill in the shape of a rectangle, nothing outwardly special about it. But in this city, it's all about the views, and from the top of the park is one of the best.
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.
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 Basilica da Estrela lies west of the Baixa, in the upscale neighborhood of Lapa. Built by the Queen of Portugal to fulfill a promise to God, the church sits atop a hill, with a giant dome that's visible throughout Lisbon. We visited both it, and the adjacent Jardim da Estrela on an overcast Sunday.
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.
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.