Join us on this 2.5-hour walking tour of Lisbon for a journey through, and an introduction to, some of the city's most iconic neighborhoods: Bairro Alto, Chiado, and Baixa. In the company of a historian or archeologist, we will take in some of the best-known sites in these charming and historic quarters like Praça do Comércio and São Roque Church, and some lesser-spotted ones, too, all the while learning about Lisbon’s fascinating history. Largely destroyed by the devastating 1755 earthquake, these areas were rebuilt and offer a glimpse into a "new" and regenerated Lisbon, a thread we'll follow throughout our stroll. This introductory orientation complements our Lisbon Old Town Tour in Alfama
Orientation Walking Tour of Lisbon
We’ll kick things off in the swanky Príncipe Real district (just north of Bairro Alto), getting acquainted with our docent near the leafy Principe Real gardens. Historically an aristocratic district, we'll admire 19th-century mansions and peek our heads into the antiquities shops for which the area is known, before taking in the views at the São Pedro de Alcântara viewing point. With the hills of Lisbon sprawling out before us, we’ll learn about the origins of the city, arguably the oldest in Western Europe. Our docent will explain how decisive moments across its history have shaped the way the city has evolved as well as how the Lisbon locals live today.
Bairro Alto may be best known for its nightlife nowadays, but making our way through the winding streets we’ll uncover how many of its historic buildings hold the key to understanding Lisbon’s past. We’ll marvel at the treasures within the São Roque Church as we consider the prominence of the Jesuits in 16th Century Portugal. We’ll likely pass through the Carmo Convent for a visceral representation of the impact of the 1755 earthquake upon the city and its inhabitants and look to other buildings for examples of how Lisbon rose again from the rubble.
Eventually we’ll make our way down into the Chiado neighborhood, a popular shopping district that has long been a haven for artists and creatives. Perhaps we’ll touch upon Portuguese café culture and the literary and artistic movements that have been nurtured here, from the great Renaissance poet Luis de Camões who gives his name to the picturesque square that links Chiado and Bairro Alto, to the vibrant contemporary art scene. We’ll wrap things up with a stroll through Baixa and the iconic Praça do Comércio, to take in the impressive panorama of the Río Tejo
(for more on Portugal's relationship to the sea in the Age of Discovery, we recommend our Belém Tour
). We'll reflect upon the regeneration of Lisbon in the years since the earthquake and the driving forces behind it.
Take Aways from our Walking Tour of Lisbon
We’ll leave better acquainted with central Lisbon and with a deeper understanding of the city’s development from ancient times to the present day. Our docent will ensure we are well-equipped with recommendations for how best to explore the city further. However, for a more practical, personal introduction to Lisbon, we recommend our Welcome to Lisbon Tour
Can you focus in-depth on a specific theme? We can customize this tour on a private basis to focus on a particular area of interest, such as Jewish history. If you have any particular preferences please do let us know!
Is this seminar walking intensive, and/or wheelchair accessible? We do cover quite a bit ground on this seminar. Although we have designed it to move generally downhill, Lisbon is known for being hilly and many of the streets in the old town are cobbled. Please contact us with any mobility questions; we will be happy to advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you or propose modifications where necessary.
Is this tour appropriate for children? This walk is not a part of our official family program. That said, we may be able to arrange a visit with a family-friendly expert. Please contact us.