FOUR HOURS IN LIS­BON

A brief jaunt in the Por­tuguese cap­i­tal

Business Traveller (India) - - CONTENTS -

1 MOSTEIRO SAO VI­CENTE DE FORA

The cen­tre of Lis­bon isn’t large – even in­clud­ing its sub­urbs, the city’s pop­u­la­tion is only 6,00,000 – but it is hilly, and can get crowded with vis­i­tors. To make the most of your time, con­sider book­ing a guide – in­sid­elis­bon. com is good, with tours rang­ing from two hours to day trips out­side the cap­i­tal.

Use pub­lic trans­port to save your feet – the metro is ex­cel­lent but the trams are best, tak­ing you to Belem (your third stop), or from Baixa all the way to Campo de Ourique, pass­ing through the his­toric dis­tricts of Graca and Alfama and mak­ing light of the hills (tram 28). If you are stay­ing longer, the Lis­bon card (€18.5/`1,432 for 24 hours) of­fers dis­counts on at­trac­tions as well as cov­er­ing your travel.

You can catch tram 28 af­ter your first stop, the Mosteiro Sao Vi­cente de Fora. Founded in 1147, this monastery houses the re­mains of sev­eral Por­tuguese kings, as well as beau­ti­ful fres­coed rooms, chapels and gal­leries. It also has a rooftop with a stun­ning view over the Ta­gus river and the city. Largo de Sao Vi­cente; en­try €5/`387.

2 PRAÇA DO COMÉRCIO

Ev­ery vis­i­tor to Lis­bon heads for the Praça do Comércio (Com­merce Square). Built af­ter the earth­quake and flood of 1755 that dev­as­tated the city, it has been ren­o­vated over the past decade so that the yel­low stucco build­ings and heroic stat­ues can stand proud against the on­slaught of tourists and selfie sticks. Run­ning north is the shop­ping street of Rua Au­gusta.

You can pick up the metro here, but for a more scenic route take tram 15E west to Belem – a 15-minute ride with good views of the Ta­gus and of the wa­ter­front. Be­fore you do, stop for a drink un­der the ar­cade at Mart­inho da Ar­cada (Praça do Comércio 3), dat­ing from 1782 and once the favourite haunt of Por­tuguese writer Fer­nando Pes­soa. De­pend­ing on the time of day, or your con­sti­tu­tion, have a cof­fee or a

Gin­jinha – the lo­cal cherry brandy, served chilled.

3 BELEM

You could spend four hours in Belem alone, tak­ing in at­trac­tions such as the 16th-cen­tury Belem Tower, the out­stand­ing UNESCO World Her­itage Site of the Jeron­i­mos Monastery, and the Dis­cov­er­ies Mon­u­ment, built in 1960 to com­mem­o­rate the 500th an­niver­sary of the death of Prince Henry the Nav­i­ga­tor, pro­mo­tor of the Dis­cov­er­ies. Take time to check out the art in the Museu Cole­cao Ber­ardo (open 10am-7pm; free en­try; en.museu­ber­ardo.pt).

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