Walking Tours of Lisbon, Portugal
Walk 1 – Old City
This walk begins at the Praca do Comercio (Palace Square). Stroll through the square, admiring, in particular, the equestrian statue of Dom Jose I and the Triumphal Arch, behind it, and then exit away from the waterfont, turning right on Rua da Alfandega. At Rua da Madalena, turn left and visit the church, Igreja de Madalena, on the square that lies ahead, to your right.
Now walk east on Rua de Santo Antonio da Se, which leads directly to Lisbon’s Cathedral (Se de Lisboa). After your visit, continue eastward on Rua A Rosa, a street which changes names several times but eventually leads to the Igreja de Santa Luzia. Here, stop for a while to admire the view from the flower-bedecked terrace, known as the Miradouro de Santa Luzia.
Next, walk northwest by turning left just before the Decorative Arts Museum, on your left. This road leads to the most important sight in the city, the Castle of Saint George. Wander around the grounds of the impressive fortress complex, walking along the battlements and up and down the narrow streets.
Now, leave the castle area, exiting at the St George Gate (where you entered) and turn right. At Rua do Milagre de Santo Antonio, turn right again. Up ahead, at the market square, turn left to enter the Baixa District. Next, turn right onto Rua da Madalena and then left on Rua da Betesga, which leads to the most beautiful square in the city, and also its major gathering place, the Rossio (Praca de Dom Pedro IV). Wander around the impressive square (it is particularly lovely at night) before proceeding.
Exit the square at the southwest corner and walk south on Rua do Carmo to the Elevador de Santa Justa, a funicular which leads to the Barrio Alta (another area of the city). At the funicular station at the end of your ride, take the walkway to Largo do Carmo. Now walk west on Rua da Trinidade and then turn right on Rua Nova da Trinidade, which leads to one of the city most impressive churches, Sao Roque. Although fairly drab on the outside, the interior is rich and ornate, worthy of exploration.
After leaving the church, walk south on Rua de Misericordia which leads downhill to the river. Turn left on either Rua B Costa or Avenida da Ribeiradas Naus to return to Praca do Comercio, where the walk began.
Walk 2 – The Belem District
My walk begins at Imperial Park (Praca do Imperio), located directly in front of the Archaeological Museum and Jeronimos Monastery, along the Avenida da India. Wander through the beautifully-landscaped grounds (the fountain at the center is spectacularly lit at night), but save a visit to the monastery for later in the walk.
When you leave the park, turn right on Praca do Imperio and then bear right ahead onto the Rua Vieira Portuense, with its colorful, stately homes. Now bear left to the Rue de Belem and turn right, then straight into another park, Praca Alfonso de Albuquerque. This one is dedicated to the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, whose statue graces the center of the square. On the northern edge of the park is the National Coach Museum, often recognized as the finest of its type in the world. Next to the museum is the Palacio de Belem, residence of the President of Portugal.
Now, continue eastward on Rua de Belem and then turn left on Calcada da Ajuda. Approximately 1/2 kilometer ahead, on the right, is the Palacio Nacional da Ajuda, the Royal Palace. When you leave the palace, walk through the Botanical Gardens, across the street.
Exit the gardens and turn right, then right again on Rua do Jardim Botanico, and then left onto Calcada do Galvao, which leads south, toward the waterfront. If you are a fan of gardens, there is another one, the Jardim Agricola Tropical, ahead, on your left. When you reach Rua de Belem, turn right and right again on Rua dos Jeronimos. Now you can visit the famous monastery. Jeronimos Monastery is one of the treasures of Belem, an architectural tribute to the wealth amassed by Portugal during its Age of Discovery (the 14th and 15th centuries), when this small country’s influence was truly global. In particular, pay attention to the South Portal, The Cloisters, and the Chapel, now the Igreja de Santa Maria, built by Henry the Navigator.
When you leave the monastery, turn right and then right again on Praca do Imperio, past the Archaeological Museum to the Museu da Marinha, one of the finest marine museums in the world, and a fitting testimony to the rich heritage of this small, but powerful nation.
Now, exit the museum and turn right on Rua Bartolomeu Dias. When you reach Avenida da Torre de Belem, turn left and then walk straight across the park and onto the drawbridge which leads to the Torre de Belem, the famous and unusual fortress/tower, erected to protect the city from invaders. Admire the interesting architecture and then climb the tower for wonderful views.
Next, walk back out to Avenida de Brasilia and turn right. Ahead, on your right, is another memorial to the great explorers from this country who pioneered the colonization of distant lands and also established worldwide commerce. This remarkable sculpture is called the Monument to the Discoveries (Padrao dos Descobrimentos). Among those immortalized in stone on the monument are Henry the Navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, and Vasco de Gama.
Now, walk back out to Avenida da India and turn right to return to Imperial Park where the walking tour began.