Seeing Lisbon by tuktuk is a great introduction to Portugal’s capital city, its layout and its history.
The tuktuks in Lisbon are electric, so relatively quiet – this makes it very easy to hear our guides as they chat on the move. You can fit up to four adults (plus a couple of small kids) in a tuktuk, and their open design keeps you cool and shades you from direct sunshine.
Perhaps most importantly, the tuktuk allows you to see most of central Lisbon in a short space of time, and being small, you can fit down the narrow streets that are inaccessible to cars.
Your day normally begins visit to the Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte. Central Lisbon is spread across seven hills and the city is dotted with miradouros – purpose-built viewpoints which make the most of her breath-taking views.
Your route now takes you via the miradouro at Jardim Julio de Castilho to Alfama – Lisbon’s oldest district. This area has been inhabited for almost 3000 years: by the Celts, the Romans and the North Africans, until the creation of the state of Portugal in 1385.
Although many of the existing buildings were destroyed in the 1755 earthquake (one of the most destructive in recorded history), their foundations survived and were built on anew. This gives Alfama an attractively-medieval layout, which is easier to appreciate from above when you visit the Miradouro Portas do Sol.
Alfama also has the highest concentration of Fado restaurants; if you’re looking for an authentic Fado experience, our guides will help you to make a table reservation for the evening – that way you’ll avoid the more touristy options and experience the real Fado.
Dropping down to the banks of the Tagus, you’ll pass through the downtown Baixa Pompalina district to the Praca do Comercio. The Royal Ribeira Palace once stood on this spot, before the city was devastated by the 1755 earthquake. As Lisbon was reconstructed, the downtown district was completely remodelled pretty much as you see it today – although the Arco da Rua Augusta triumphal arch wasn’t completed until much later (in 1873).
Next, you’ll head up into two of the city’s busiest districts: Bairro Alto and Chiado. The former is famous for its busy restaurants and late-night bars which spill out into the cobbled streets during the hot summer nights, whilst the latter has been the city’s trendy neighbourhood since the late 1980s – with charming old bookshops and coffee houses rubbing shoulders with big international chain stores.
Heading down through the Principe district, you’ll come to the northern quarter of Lisbon, and the Estatua do Marques de Pompal: the statue of the Marques do Pompal which marks the start of the Avenidade da Liberdade. The grand Avenida is named in memory of the Carnation Revolution of 1974, which ended the fascist Estada Novo regime that had ruled Portugal since 1933.
Get in touch with Paul now to find out what else you can do in Lisbon and the rest of Portugal on 01768 721020.
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