Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Portugal - Lisbon I

The historic city of Lisbon faces the river Tagus and is built on seven hills, giving impressive views across the city and river. The city if full of beautiful buildings and interesting cobbled streets, so join the tour with me.

My daughter (who was visiting from Amsterdam) and I, travelled from Cascais, (where my family lives) into Cais do Sodre Station by train.

 Commerce Square (Praca do Comercio)

Commerce square with the Arch on the north side and statue of King Jose I in the centre

Navigating through some road works, we headed to the pavement by the riverside until we reached Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), also known as Terreiro do Paco (Palace Yard), as it was where the Royal family's palace was before being destroyed by Lisbon's earthquake of 1755.

Statue of King Jose I in the centre of Commerce Square

After the earthquake, the square was rebuilt with symmetrical buildings on either side.
The buildings used to house Customs and Port activities offices, but now house shops and restaurants. 
In the middle of the square stands a statue to King Jose I, that was built in 1775.

This square also saw the assassination of King Carlos I, the penultimate King of Portugal in February 1908. Two years later Republican party members overthrew the monarchy.

Beer House restaurant & Museum (Museu da Cerveja)

Top left - the advert that caught my attention. Right - stairs to the Beer Museum and bottom photos - the restaurant

While collecting maps from the Lisbon Story Centre (Tourism office) on the right side of the yellow buildings, I spotted a restaurant advertising "pasteis de bacalhau com Queijo da Serra". That all means "codfish cakes with goat cheese" (from the highest mountain of Portugal).  The cheese version is a recent invention, so I was keen to try them!

The gigantic codfish cakes
The Beer Museum  is upstairs, and you can visit that for the history of beer (small entry fee), or to enjoy a beer, either Portuguese or from all over the world. 
Downstairs, The Beer House restaurant is a pleasant and modern space, and we will have to return for a meal on our next visit to Portugal. 
In the meantime we just ordered a codfish cake to take away. They were bigger than the normal codfish cakes, not cheap, but I enjoyed the taste.

If you have the time visit the Lisbon Story Centre  for an interactive exhibition that relates the main events of the city of Lisbon from past to present. 
Entry costs 7Euros for adults and 3Euros for children from 6 to 15. They are open from 10am to 8pm, with the last entry being at 7pm.

Rua Augusta Arch

The Arch on the north side of the square is known as the Arco da Rua Augusta or Augusta Street Arch.

Rua Augusta Arch, seen from the other side of the Commerce Square - entry is next to the left column
For the first time ever we climbed the Arch and enjoyed amazing 360 degree views of the city.
The arch is open every day from 9am to 7pm and entry costs 2,50euros and is free for under 5's.
First you take a lift to the clock floor where you can read about the history of the arch, and then you have to climb a narrow round staircase with over 40 steps all the way to the top for the views!

The Arch was built in 1873 to commemorate Lisbons's reconstruction after the earthquake, has a clock in the middle on both sides. At the top of the arch stand the statues of Glory (7mt high/23feet) above the statues of Ingenuity and Valor, done by a French sculptor. Below on the sides and front are the statues of  well known Portuguese leading historical figures such as Viriato, Nuno Alvares Pereira, Vasco da Gama and Marquis of Pombal.

The clock floor

The views from the Arch
Statues of Glory, Ingenuity and Valor
Another statue further below and part of the buildings in Commerce Square
Commerce square from above

Views over one of Lisbon's 7 hills with the Castle of St George at the top encircled by green trees
The Saint Justa lift (dark structure) and the ruins of the Carmo Church on the left

To the north of the Arch, you can see Augusta Street, which links to another traditional square - Rossio, 6 or 7 blocks away.

We went to lunch next, but I'll have to leave the rest of the tour for another day!
Hope you enjoyed the what I've showed today.


  1. Lovely pics Sami. You should become the PR for Portuguese tourism.

    1. Thanks Celeste. I seem to do PR for a lot of things, lol.

  2. I'm very much looking forward to taking this trip with you Sami, especially as I won't have to get on a plane :) Lisbon looks so beautiful, I don't suppose you had a chance to catch up with Jose did you?

    1. Hi Grace, no I didn't, he hasn't posted for a while and I sent him a message once to find out if something was wrong, but he didn't reply.

  3. A Beer Museum! We´d sure go :-)
    The Rua Augusta Arch is really beautiful - especially the Lion of the Statues of Glory.
    That´s quite a wonderful view from up there.

    1. I'm not a beer drinker, but I suppose it could be a popular place for many people. The views are great, specially since you can see all around.

  4. Lisbon is a wonderful city, I recognize some places I have visited once some time ago. Sweet memories.

    1. How lovely that you have visited Lisbon.Thanks Marianne.

  5. I would have been here sooner, but got distracted when I clicked on the link to the Beer Museum. Saw how the codfish cakes were made, too.

    What a fun trip you took us on today. Everything is so beautiful, and regardless of having to be rebuilt, everything is SO old compared to the States. We don't preserve our beautiful old buildings like they do elsewhere, and you have captured this beauty perfectly today. In fact, you captured it in the round!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth, glad you enjoyed the video how the codfish cakes were made. They taste good too!
      That's also what I miss in Australia, is the centuries old history that Europe has compared to the new countries like the US and Australia. Those old buildings are so beautiful...

  6. Dearest Sami,
    What a great trip that was, for being able to team up with your daughter from Amsterdam as well.
    The view from that arch is incredible; glad you had a chance for doing this together!

    1. Thanks Mariette, almost the whole family came to Portugal to attend the christening of my nieces' baby. They came from San Francisco actually.

  7. Nice photos of Lisbon! I also spent a couple of days there, but I didn't have the chance to go up the Arch. It's definitely on my list, what a nice view from there!
    I didn't try those new pasteis either, as I'm not a big fan of Serra da Estrela cheese (shame on me when I come from Guarda...).
    Looking forward to more posts.

    1. Climb it next time Sara, worth it for the views. I love serra da Estrela cheese, with cake, on it's own, with quince marmelade... I actually brought 3 cheeses with me to Australia. Interesting, when we lived in Portugal, we also lived 30 min. from Serra da Estrela.

  8. Piękne zdiecja i ciekawe miejsca.Nigdy tam nie byłam. Pozdrawiam serdecznie.

  9. Lisbon looks like a wonderful city to visit, so clean, the pastel colour of the buildings are so soothing and serene. I will add to my places to visit whilst my passport still gets me in! Looking forward to the rest of the tour :)
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren. You should visit, you would enjoy it.


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