For the enchanting Original Lisbon Walking Tour you should make your way to Rossio Square to meet your English-speaking guide. The heart of both old and new Lisbon, Rossio was paved with typical Portuguese cobblestones (Calçada Portuguesa) in the shape of waves (the Mar Largo pattern) in the 19th century.
Learn how the old city of Lisbon was destroyed in the 18th century by an earthquake at 8.7 on the Richter scale – one of the largest ever recorded in Europe. Many important structures were lost and then totally rebuilt to become the city of today.
In the middle of Restauradores Square, view the Obelisk that commemorates Portugal’s independence from Spain in 1640, after 60 years of Spanish rule. From here, also admire the Liberdade Avenue; the Éden Theatre, one of the best examples of Portuguese Art Deco; and the Foz Palace, from the 18th Century.
You’ll marvel at the intricate Neo-Manueline architecture of the Rossio Central Station. The station was commissioned by the Portuguese Royal Railway Company and connects the city to the region of Sintra through a tunnel which is more than 8500 feet long. Dating from the 19th century, this is considered one of the most important engineering achievements in Portugal.
Next you’ll visit the beautiful Carmo Square, the spot where Portugal’s old dictatorial regime fell in 1974 after ruling for 48 years. You’ll also see the Carmo Convent, founded in 1389 by the Portuguese knight Nuno Álvares Pereira. This convent was for the Carmelite Order.
From revolution and religion, you turn to the very chic Chiado neighborhood, with its old cafés, boutiques, theatres and bookstores. Chiado is an aristocratic and elegant quarter, one of the most interesting pedestrian areas in Lisbon.
Try a typical Portuguese pastry (the famous Pastel de Nata). You’ll next enjoy a short trip on one of Lisbon’s vintage trams.
In contrast to Chiado, the Moorish Alfama area offers you the chance to wander through a maze of small squares, twisting streets and blind alleys where the roofs almost touch each other to afford protection from the hot sun. This neighborhood, where time seems to have stopped 1000 years ago, is the oldest quarter of Lisbon and its name comes from the Arabic Al-hamma, meaning fountains or baths. This is the birthplace of Fado, the haunting and mysterious musical genre that celebrates love, desire and loss.
After this secular interlude, you can visit Lisbon’s Cathedral, Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa (or Sé de Lisboa) the city’s oldest church. It was built in 1147, on the site of the main mosque of Lisbon.
End your tour in Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square). For centuries the Praça do Comércio was the great reception hall for visitors arriving by sea and was one of Europe’s largest and most beautiful squares. From here, you will need to make your own arrangements for getting back to your accommodation.