If your Day 1 didn’t end in the early morning hours (which is likely given Portuguese night life) then get ready for another full day of hiking around Lisbon’s steep roads!
In the morning head to Rua Augusta for a breakfast at Pastelaria Brasileira Horaris – they have beautiful pastel de nata with almonds, what more could you want?! And if you’re not into the pastels, don’t fret… the choice of pastries in this stores is endless.
First stop of the day is the Museu Nacional do Azulejo. The azulejos are spanish and portuguese ceramic tiles, usually designed with their classic blue colors and applied to walls, floors and ceilings, inside and outside buildings. Originally they were applied also as a way to control temperature (most houses don’t have heating systems), but they are beautiful decorations that give buildings that precious and exotic look.
The museum is even more beautiful than can be expected, since it is built in what used to be a convent: Convento da Madre de Deus. This is why inside there is a stunning cloister and church, with a sacresty decorated with a heavy baroque style with images that depict the story of Saint Anthony.
After this head uphill to the Sé de Lisboa (the cathedral) dedicated to Saint Mary Major, the oldest church in the city – it survived through changes and earthquakes probably thanks to its sturdy structure. It has both Romanesque elements, such as the rose window, and Gothic elements, like the cloisters and the ambulatory where royal tombs are located.
The location of the cathedral is peculiar, given that it sits on a hill, in what seems to be a very precarious point for such a building – still it is one of Lisbon’s oldest standing buildings!
From here head into the Alfama to discover the oldest district of Lisbon. As you walk up towards the Castle there are a few notable sights along the way: the Miradouro de Santa Luzia, is a little corner of paradise, with its azulejos decors and bright bougainvillea flowers.
Lisbon is filled with lovely street art of all kinds and natures, and walking up in the streets of the Alfama district you can really find some notables pieces that have come to shape the streets of this bizarre, and somewhat grotesque, city.
One of the top sights that you can’t miss is the Castelo de San Jorge. Built as a fortified citadel on the top of the hill, to look over the city’s historic center; during the years it also served as royal residence, starting with Alfonso III. Anyhow it started to lose its relevance once the Ribeira Palace was built and with the earthquakes that severely damaged the city.
As a visitor today you can walk around the castle walls, look at the marvellous view over Lisbon, climb up unsteady stairs and towers.
If after all the walking and climbing you’re still up for more, that it’s time to head to the most beautiful of all the miradouros: the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, beware to find the easy way up, because if you get it wrong (like I did) you’ll have to go up one of the steepest winding roads I’ve ever seen. And it’s not fun at all. Anyway, it’s definitely worth the hike, because the view up there is enchanting. It’s probably also a place where you want to take a loved one, because it’s extremely romantic at sunset.