As part of a last minute  3 day mileage ‘jog’ last year (literally returning home on December 31) that included 3 stops in Frankfurt, 1 stop in Vienna, 2 stops in Zurich and one in Lisbon, I had the opportunity to see a small part of Lisbon for the first time.    Guess which airlines I flew 😉 …….

By the time I arrived from Frankfurt (via Zurich) it was already mid-afternoon and any sight-seeing would need to happen quickly.

The friendly check-in agent at the Sheraton Lisboa suggested I visit Lisbon’s Baixa district because of its proximity to the hotel (10 minutes by taxi) and the fact that it is lined with many narrow streets full of architecture, shopping and food.   Having only a few hours, I took her up on the advice since there would be a lot to see in a relatively small area.

Baixa certainly contains a high concentration of things to see and do.   Shops line each of the 8 streets that make up the core of the district.   Around the periphery exists a number large plazas with ornate architecture, fountains and scupltures that are worthy of their own ‘trip reports’.   Even the streets are cobbled in a variety of beautiful patterns consisting of black and white bricks which makes them as much as an attraction as any building.   Considering that Lisbon was leveled during an earthquake in 1755, it shows no worse for the wear after its reconstruction.

Having only a few hours, I did not do much browsing in order to take in as much of the area as possible and I did not finish my ‘power tour’ until nearly midnight.   I was fortunate in that most of the streets surrounding the area were blocked off to traffic because of a marathon which made getting around the area that much easier.

Following are some of my favorite highlights of the Baixa neighborhood which hopefully gives you a taste of what the area offers.    It’s certainly worth visiting and on my list of places to return and spend more time discovering.

 

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One of the ancient gateways leading to the Baixa district.

 

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The Castelo de Sao Jorge overlooks Baixa.

 

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One of the 8 pedestrian lanes that make up the district. Full of shopping and restaurants. Suggestion: Make sure to buy a Cork souvenir – it is one of the things that Portugal is known for.

 

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A popular attraction, the Elevador de Santa Justa gives you opportunity to take in views above Baixa.

 

To the south of Baixa is the Praca de Comercio (Plaza of Commerce) which is a large open area for the public to enjoy.   It sits on Tagus river and affords fanastic views out towards the Atlantic to the east.

 

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Housed in here is the Courthouse and Ministry of Justice. The Arco da Rua Augusta spans the two buildings.

 

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There is no shortage of monuments celebrating Portugal’s heroes.

 

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An example of Lisbon’s beautiful architecture.

 

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A closer look at the Arco da Rua Augusta.

 

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Beneath the ‘Arco’ as the sun begins to set – Creating a dramatic effect.

 

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Photos could not do the sunset any justice. The ’25th of April’ bridge helps create additional effect.

 

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Two Ancient Colonnades frame the Tagus River. My guess is that this was a docking point for boats. Several old hooks in ground suggest that they were mooring points for the boats.

 

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The Christmas Spirit was still evident on December 30!

 

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This fountain was one of my favorite pieces in the area. It is the main highlight in the Praca Dom Pedro (Plaza of Dom Pedro).

 

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I spent some time perfecting a long shutter exposure without a tripod…..

 

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As the sun set, festive lights kept the neighborhood bright and festive.   Even a brief thunderstorm had no impact on dampening the mood.   Add a night-time marathon to the mix and Baixa was buzzing with activity.

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Each lane was lit up with a unique Holiday light arrangement.  Notice the ornate cobble stoned street?

 

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Even a thunderstorm did not prevent people from enjoying the evening.

 

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I decided against the climb… 🙂

 

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Ornate shops such as this one line the streets of Baixa.

 

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A part of the marathon passes by……

 

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The Marathon’s finish line….runners and spectators filled the square well into the night.

 

Index to other Trip Reports:

Vienna’s Naschmarkt

Slovakia’s Cachticky Hrad