18 things that you didn't know about Lisbon

By Nicola Iseard
Reviewed: Friday 13 March 2015

Lisbon is the only European capital on the river and on the sea, with some great beaches. But did you also know...?
Things to do in Lisbon

1. Tram number 28


The most famous tram and one of the city’s best rides. Built in England in the early 20th century, polished wood and chrome, they clunk up and down the steepest streets almost brushing the sides of buildings on the way.

Starting at sea level in the city centre, the tram heads up steep hills through a veritable maze via the Alfama district, reaching St Georges Church at the top for wonderful views – especially at sunset.

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2. Locals and the magic light before sunset


In the hours before sunset, locals often wait and watch the ferries go between the Estação Fluvial and Barreiro on the other side of the Reiver Tejo – it is tradition.

3. Opera 


Opera tickets in Lisbon usually cost 50% less than in London. The city’s opera season runs from September and until June, with performances are in the beautiful Teatro Nacional de São Carlos with its Rococo interior.

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4. The museum below


The Nucleo Arqueologico is one of the city’s smallest but truly eclectic museums and is located underneath the Baixa’s streets. The Baixa area was mostly rebuilt on a riverbed with wooden posts driven into the wet soil (as in Venice).

5. Enoteca is underground too


This is an amazing wine bar located downstairs in an old bathhouse where the underground tunnels once piped all of Lisbon’s water. Well worth a visit!

Related: Six things to do in Lisbon

6. Earthquake and the Marques de Pombal 


The Great Earthquake of 1755 almost destroyed this most important of Europe’s ports. The destruction of the city and the death of 40,000 people led to the end of Lisbon’s golden age.

The Marques de Pombal was the minister responsible for rebuilding the city and there is reference to him in many places – usually just “Pombal”.

Find out more things about Lisbon on the next page...

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  • Nigel Eames

    Posted: Saturday 27 September 2014

    not meaning to be pernickety, but Lisbon's trams currently running are rebuilds of locally constructed trams based on earlier cars supplied by U.S. builders. It is however true that the company running the tram system, which used to be very extensive, was British owned. The 28 runs from Martim Moniz to Prazeres right across town but you can also take a 12 from Praca do Ribeira up to Alfama. There are also more expensive tourist trams running from Praca do Commercio on the river front.

  • Sue

    Posted: Thursday 20 June 2013

    Answered many questions for me, thank you for researching and posting this info

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