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.
One of the oldest structures in Lisbon, the Convento do Carmo was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. Well… almost completely destroyed. The roof collapsed, but a handful of the supporting arches survived, along with some chambers. Today, the ruined remains of the church have been preserved as a striking memorial to the biggest natural disaster in Portuguese history.
One of the most photographed sights in Lisbon is the Santa Justa Lift, connecting Baixa to the Bairro Alto. Built at the turn of the 20th century, this eye-catching Gothic elevator is still in use, although it’s currently more for tourists than for locals.
Held every Sunday in the district of Marvila, somewhat near the airport, the Feira do Relogio is Lisbon’s biggest market. With mostly clothes and food on offer, this is shopping for locals, and not the kind of flea market where you’re going to find charming old antiques. But if you want to see a different, boisterous side of Lisboan life, it’s great fun.
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.
Portugal’s premiere art museum is the MNAA, or Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. With 65 rooms in its permanent collection, thousands of works of art spanning the length of Portuguese history, and ever-changing temporary exhibits, this is the kind of place for which you’ll want to have plenty of time and energy.
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.
Located within the old Barbadinhos Pumping Station, the Museu da Agua introduces visitors to the once-painful process of bringing drinking water to the people of Lisbon. The museum’s highlight is its engine room, where 19th-century steam-powered pumping machines have been preserved in magnificent condition.
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.