Lisbon is a big city without the overwhelming showboating that you’ll find in other European capitals, and that makes it something very special. You can see some of Western Europe’s most prized artifacts without jostling for room at every entrance, glimpse traditional life as it has played out for centuries, and marvel at architectural splendour built especially for Lisbon’s arching terrain. This is a city of sun and leisure, but steeped in serious history and important expression. From Fado music in the backstreets to gilded churches on stony plateaus, Lisbon has a raw, complex and unapologetic mix of culture that is sure to impress. Get a taste of everything the city has to offer with these eight great sites.
Castelo de Sao Jorge
A castle with all the essential romance of ramparts, moats and gardens, St. George’s castle dates back to the 6th century (though much of it has been rebuilt). Over the centuries, it was conquered and re-conquered, turned into a royal palace, and today is a peaceful museum and important artifact pointing to Lisbon’s defensive past. The Great Earthquake of 1755 decimated a big part of the structure, but there are still some original walls and several towers, and the view from the top is pretty impressive. You can walk along the ramparts, or head to the Camara Escura, a periscope that projects noteworthy sites of Lisbon.