Lisbon is the third port of call in Portugal, but it is the first port of call for mainland Europe. The ship arrived in port a little after 1 pm. Although this is later than usual for arriving in port, Lisbon is an overnight stop.
An overnight port can be an excellent way to explore a little deeper in some of the large cities. However, it seems to be rather rare on most regular itineraries. An overnight stop in port allows you to explore both by day and night, as long as you take proper precautions.
The ship docked in the new port area in Lisbon. It is not the most convenient place from which to explore the central area of the city. But the public transport is close at hand, and a short train trip gets you much closer.
The first point of interest I spotted was the fabulous cafe. There is a mixed range of colourful beanbags laid out to relax and enjoy your drink. It looked pretty comfortable to enjoy a coffee, but I was ready to explore a little further.
A short walk along the waterfront brings you to the main square in Lisbon known as Praça do Comércio (Commerce Square). The square contains to rather impressive features that you can see below. The first is a statue of King José I and the second is the arch of the Old City Gate. The square is quite large, and there are plenty of people sitting around or passing through.
Lisbon as a city sites quite prominently on the side of a hill. Of course, this means if you want to walk much of the city it is going to be plenty of uphill walking. However, there is a streetcar that can get you to the top allowing you the much easier task of walking down. The streetcar to take is the number 28 and cost €2.85. It may seem expensive but sure did cut out a lot of the steep uphill.
The ride in the tram is kind of worth it even beyond the benefit of getting up the hills. The streets are far from wide avenues, and the route the streetcar takes is interesting, to say the least. There are plenty of twists and turns, winding streets climbing the hill. Switching from one to two tracks and with the odd blind corner thrown in for good measure. However, it is a part of the city that survives and serves an important purpose.
From the top of the hill, you get some great views. The collection of buildings that form the city from old to new all tells a story. The view across the terracotta roofs to the Tagus River was one that caught my eye.
The use of ceramic tiles in Lisbon seems to be quite extensive. There are some with a very basic pattern repeated used to cover the side of a building. In other areas, some tiles form murals like the one below I found on the side of a church. Additionally, they seem to be a very popular item in the souvenir shops as well.
My Tour through Lisbon was not entirely on my own. I joined with a couple of friends from the cruise ship, and we explored together. There was a good portion of the city that we explored in the afternoon, and some of these were cafes and bars. There were some opportunities to try some of the local coffee, beer and wine. All of which I am quite surprised to say that I enjoyed.
Looking For More?
Due to trying to fit as much into my time in Lisbon as possible, it is difficult to share it all in one post. Expecially with quite a number of back to back port calls coming up. As soon as practical I will be looking to share some more from Lisbon, and there is plenty more to share.