It’s hard finding words to describe the beauty of Lisboa (Lisbon in Portuguese) and how my senses were on overload as we walked through the city for the first time. Luckily, a photo is worth a thousand words so I am packing all my Portugal travel posts full of pics in order to fully convey the amazingness of our experience.
I arrived in Lisboa on March 30 (Robert arrived from Switzerland the night before) and as with most first days in a new country, we just spent time finding our feet, discovering our neighbourhood (Junqueira), the surrounding areas (Belém) and seeing where and what we could eat (food being one of our top priorities at all moments of the day).
Because our apartment wasn’t quite ready when we got to Lisboa, we just dropped off our luggage and decided to take a walk by the Tagus river to explore the area. We hadn’t even picked up a map yet so we had no idea what sights were near our place but we were pleasantly surprised. Belém is about a 10 minute walk from Junqueira and the stroll is a very scenic one since you can go along the boardwalk by the river and just blend in with local fishermen, cyclists and of course, tourists.
Our first spotting was the 25 de Abril bridge, a beautiful suspension bridge that connects the city of Lisboa and the municipality of Almada. Inaugurated in 1966, it bares a close resemblance to San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge. The name, 25 de Abril commemorates the Carnation Revolution.
The two main sites to see in Belém are the Belém Tower (below) and the Jerónimos Monastery which we actually only saw on Day 6 because we stuck close to the water during our first visit to the area (although we did spot it from a distance and could tell it was a beauty).
Built in the early 16th century, the Belém Tower (Portuguese: Torre de Belém) or the Tower of St Vincent is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the significant role it played in the Portuguese maritime discoveries. The tower was commissioned by King John II to be part of a defense system at the mouth of the Tagus river and a ceremonial gateway to Lisboa (source: Wikipedia)
Padrão dos Descobrimentos (or Monument to the Discoveries) was conceived in 1939 by Portuguese architect José Ângelo Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida, as a temporary beacon during the Portuguese World Fair. It’s located along the Tagus river where ships departed to explore and trade with India and the Orient and celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries (source: Wikipedia).
After spending the afternoon walking around and settling in our apartment, we headed to LX Factory per our host’s recommendation. We were in for such a treat! To best understand the experience of this unique area, here is the official description from their website:
It’s in the year 1846 that a threads and fabrics Company called “Companhia de Fiação e Tecidos Lisbonense”, one of the most important manufacturing complex in Lisbon’s history, sets in Alcântara. This 23.000 m2 industrial site was, subsequently, occupied by a set of industrial use related companies. An urban fragment, kept hidden for years, is now returned to the city in the form of LXFactory. A creative island occupied by corporations and professionals of the industry serves also has stage for a diverse set of happenings related to fashion, publicity, communication, fine arts, architecture, music, etc., attracting numerous visitors to rediscover Alcântara through an engaged dynamics. At LXF you can actually breath the industrial environment at every step. A factory of experiences were intervention, thought, production is made possible. Staging ideas and products in a place belonging to everyone, for everyone.
LX Factory really stole our heart and it’s a must-see when in Lisboa. You should visit this cool district during the day and at night to experience two very different vibes. Such a cool place.
There you have it for day 1! It’s so much fun revisiting all these amazing sights through my photos. Makes me want to hop a a plane and go back… Our first day really did set the tone for all the beauty we were going to discover during our stay in Lisboa. Keep reading about beautiful Portugal in my other posts here.
What are your must see destinations in Europe? Have you been to Portugal? If so, what were your favourite places? We will be going back for sure so I would love for you to share your top spots in the comment section below! xoxo