The historical quarters of Lisboa are generally in the city centre. Some still retain the old structures of Muslim and medieval origin, with courtyards where people usually get together. The typical features of these quarters are old houses, narrow streets, wrought-iron balconies, tiled façades and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere. The best and most pleasant way to visit these quarters is by "eléctrico" (tram). And be sure not to miss a stroll by the River Tagus and lunch at the Santo Amaro docks.
Alfama, Castelo and Mouraria
The Alfama is one of the oldest quarters in Lisboa. Since it largely survived the earthquake of 1755, the area still retains much of its original layout.
Adjacent to the Alfama are the likewise old quarters of Castelo and Mouraria, on the western and northern slopes of the hill that is crowned by St. George's Castle. Every year in June, the streets of all three quarters come alive with the feasts in honour of the popular saints. The Graça quarter and the churches of São Vicente de Fora and Santa Engrácia are within walking distance of this area.
Bairro Alto, Chiado and Bica
Laid out in the 16th century, the Bairro Alto (literally "high quarter") is one of the most picturesque quarters in the city. Its architecture, traditional shops, restaurants, bars and design and fashion stores give it a unique flair. It is also a popular meeting place for all nightlife lovers.
The Chiado is an elegant shopping district. At the end of the 19th century, it became a fashionable meeting place for intellectuals such as Fernando Pessoa, Almada Negreiros and Eça de Queiroz. Their most famous haunt was the café "A Brasileira", which is still today favoured by the city's art students. The Bica quarter lies adjacent to the Bairro Alto and Chiado. In addition to its typical streets and houses, it is particularly renowned for its funicular lift, the Ascensor da Bica, built in 1892. Baixa/Rua Augusta
One of Lisboa's busiest quarters. Many commuters who cross the Tagus pass through here every day on their way to work. It is also one of the city's biggest traditional shopping districts. Almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, the quarter was rebuilt by Marquês de Pombal, thus earning the name of "Baixa Pombalina". The original uniform, rectilinear architecture is still evident today. The names of the streets parallel to Rua Augusta still allude to the traders and craftsmen based in the area since the Age of the Discoveries
Belém is linked to Portugal's Golden Age of Discoveries as the site where the famous navigators set sail to discover the world. Today it is a spacious green suburb with many gardens, parks and monuments that are well worth a visit. Amongst Belém's attractions are the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries, the Torre de Belém, the Belém Cultural Centre and Rua Vieira Portuense.