Part 2. Main Lisbon
One of the best views of Lisbon is found at the top of a hill in the lower part of town in the Castelo São Jorge. This Moorish castle can be seen from the main part of town in Praça Rossio, from my hostel window I could see it over the buildings. It’s one of the pain attractions of Lisbon, I strongly suggest to visit the beautiful grounds. There is also the Santa Justa lift in the core of Lisbon that shows off the downtown area as well as the castle.
After Castelo São Jorge, there’s the Torre de Belém which stands on the bank of the Rio Tajo on the outskirts of the downtown area. This watch tower can be reached with tram route 15, which can be bought in any metro. The tower was built very narrowly, so there is only enough room for one in the winding staircase. They allow only 120 people up to the roof at a time to prevent traffic. For a tour of the Mosterio dos Jerónimos—the monastery by the torre—and the tower is 12 Euros; there are other package deals that you can check on their website or in person at the ticket office. Outside of the Torre de Belém is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), this is a place in honour of the numerous discoveries in the past, the monument can also be visited inside.
What is a must visiting Lisbon is going to Pasteis de Belém pastry shop where you can taste one of the best—if not the best—pasteis de nata. A pastel de nata, which is a kind of egg-tart, is a made famous to the Portuguese. Though every shop prepare this delicacy amazingly, the bakery Pasteis de Belém make mouth-watering tarts. Eating them when they are still warm, with added cinnamon or powdered sugar is a treat you need to have!
Back in central Lisbon is the Café A Brasileira on rua Garrett. This coffee shop has been opened since early 21st century and has since served delicious pastries and coffee. The bar-styled place still has that old look, decorated with tones of gold and with mirrors on the walls. You can have an espresso at the crowded bar or, if you’re patient, find a seat inside or outside.
If you are on a budget and need to find good food and drinks that are cheap, there is the Mercado da Baixa. Located in the Praça Figueria, this market has many trinkets to sell along with many choices of food. We ate a prosciutto and cheese sandwich that was both cheap and filling, only costing us 5 Euros. They scrape the cheese right off the cheese wheel! Another day we had a platter of cheese, meats, and bread which cost us the same as the sandwich and was as filling. Something else worth trying is a shot of ginjinha out of its customary chocolate cup. This liqueur is made of ginja berries infused in alcohol. It is only 1.50 Euro at the market. Ginjinha has a strong, peculiar taste that at first neither me, my sister, nor my friend liked, but that is our personal taste. I know people who loved ginja, it might just be an acquired taste. If you want to try the flavours of Portugal, this should definitely be on your list.