Cruises to Lisbon arrive by sailing under the impressive 1966 Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge, renamed after the revolution of 1974. The bridge looks remarkably like the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. Across the bridge stands the statue of Christ erected by the women of Portugal in thanks for their men not being involved in the Second World War. This is a sail in that is worth getting up early for.
Lisbon Transport Options
Local hop on hop off buses stop right outside the centrally located cruise terminal, running every 30 mins or so. There are several of these – City Sightseeing, Lisbon and the Lisbon Yellow Bus, which will take you around the city accompanied by a recorded commentary, stopping at all the main sights and view points.
The magnificent Praca do Comercio square is, however, only a 10 minute walk from the cruise terminal.
From here you can catch a Yellow bus or tram or walk through the Rua Augusta Arch to the pedestrian shopping street of Rua Augusta with its cafes and street artists.
Elevador Santa Justa
En route you will pass the Elevador Santa Justa that connects the district of Baixa with Bairro Alto. For a few euros you can ride to the viewing platform at the top for panoramic views of the city.
Carrying on along Rua Augusta brings you to the stunning Praca Duque de Saldanha
There is unique architecture at every turn, including the finest Starbucks we’ve ever seen.
Castelo Sao Jorge and Lisbon Cathedral
From here it is possible to reach the cathedral and Castelo Sao Jorge, although both are an uphill walk. The Castle can also be reached from the cruise terminal with a 30-40 minute walk
Turn left on main road after leaving port area, cross road to diagonal road (R. do Barao) off main road and follow through to Run Limoeiro. Then follow tram lines (yellow tram) and signs for castle. The route is a mix of pavement and cobbled streets to reach the top. It is a hilly climb.
About half way is Lisbon Cathedral, free entry, worth a stop before continuing to top and the castle. Keep your eyes open and watch out for trams, taxis etc. especially when you stop to take a photo.
There are a few small viewpoints on route that offer photo opportunities of your cruise ship.
Entrance fee to castle was 8 euros for an adult, 5 euros for concessions – you check the Castelo Sao Jorge website for the latest prices and opening hours.
It is well worth the entrance fee – the views over Lisbon are spectacular from the plateau after the entrance gate, from the walls of the castle itself and the camera obscure.
The castle has no remaining rooms but you can climb up on to the walk ways that run round the top of the walls and enjoy the views around Lisbon, plenty of photo opportunities. There is a museum with archaeological finds from the castle grounds.
After your climb to the Castle you maybe in need of refreshments, there is a Cafe and restaurant on site together with a cart selling local wines.
There are also clean toilets on site, although be prepared for a queue at busy times.
It is not too difficult to find you way back to the cruise terminal via the many twisting cobbled streets through Alfama district, look out for the wonderful tiled designs on the house walls as you make your way down.
Be prepared to be pestered by street sellers offering Jewellery or the latest gadget – selfie sticks on our last visit.
The Panteao Nacional Lisbon is a beautiful and unique church that is the national pantheon of Portugal and the final burial location for many important Portuguese.
The church’s white dome can be clearly seen on the Alfama District skyline and is visible from the cruise terminal.
It is also possible to walk up to a viewing platform that runs around the inside of the dome and look down on to the churches main area. The is also an outside terrace that can be accessed from the dome giving views over the river.
The area of Belem can be easily reached via the tourist buses, tram 15 or by train using Belem station on the Cascais line from Cais do Sodre. For further information on Lisbon’s public transport see www.golisbon.com.
Here you will find the Torre de Belem, built as a defensive fortress round 1515.
A 15 minute walk along the river front (with a slight detour around the harbour) will bring you to the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, one of the iconic sights of Lisbon that looks so much more impressive close up than it does from the river.
On the opposite side of the main road and train tracks stands the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos which can be accessed via an underpass. Here you will also find the Maritime Museum which looks amazing.
Unfortunately, along with all museums in Lisbon, it is closed on Mondays. Bad luck if your cruise line has scheduled you in for a Monday visit, as ours had, but you can still buy the famous pastries made by the monks at the shop next door.
Lisbon is a huge city with so much to see, we have plenty to see on our next visit – hopefully not on a Monday!