Planning a Historical Weekend in Lisbon

Now that we’ve come to the end of what will have been a quiet travel year for many, we can finally begin to look forward to a Summer vacation. Whilst many travelers to Europe flock to France for the food, art, and culture, they might just be missing a trick. Over the past few years tourism to Lisbon, Portugal has almost doubled. The city now welcomes 12.8 million international tourists and is ranked as one of Europe’s leading cities for overnight stays. If you haven’t considered a Portuguese holiday before, then Lisbon is the perfect blend of bougie and beachy, enabling you to quite literally dip your toe into Portuguese waters.

Planning a Historical Weekend in Lisbon
The views over the city from the castle make it more than worth the climb to the top.

 

Breakfast First!

One of the most enjoyable parts of a trip is sitting down, breathing a sigh, letting go of all the stresses of traveling, and enjoying a well-deserved breakfast. There are hundreds of picturesque cafes in the center of town, but as this is a historic trip, there’s one place that must be visited. Pastelaria Versailles is a little outside the city center, but it’s worth the trip. Open to the hungry public since 1922, this stunning Art Nouveau cafe offers everything a hungry tourist could want.

Whether you fancy something sweet or savory, bread-based, or pastry-based, the selection on offer here is almost too comprehensive. If you want to keep it traditional then their Pastel de Nata’s are the stuff of legend. Enjoy it with a freshly brewed, almost thick, black coffee and spend some time taking in the interior. The checkerboard floors, extraordinarily long pastry counter, and original chandeliers all deserve your undivided attention.

Planning a Historical Weekend in Lisbon
Perhaps one of Portugal’s most beloved exports, the Pastel de Nata is perhaps at its best at Pastelaria Versailles

Be Amazed by the Carmo Convent

For those traveling from America, the idea of a building founded in 1389 is almost beyond comprehension. To put its age into perspective, the first colonies did not appear in North America until the 1600s! This incredibly old convent was built in the Gothic style of architecture and what remains is a prime example of its type. Whilst the vast majority of the building was destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, what remains is truly beautiful. The skeleton of the building still stands, complete with traditional vaulted ceilings, delicately arched windows, and imposing pillars.

Though just the skeleton of the building remains, what is left is so intricate and beautiful that the building is almost the better for it. Before setting off on your visit remember to dress appropriately, although the building is no longer used as a convent, it’s respectful to wear clothes that cover the shoulders.

Feel Like Royalty at the São Jorge Castle

One of the most visited sites in the whole city is the São Jorge Castle. This imposing structure sits high on a hill overlooking the town and river below. Not only is the castle worth a visit for its history, but it’s also one of the best views of the cityscape that money can buy! Inside the castle, much of its history is detailed with some information suggesting it dates back as a site of importance as far as 48BC. Take your time to wander through the rooms, peek through one of the arrowslits, and imagine what life must have been like all those years ago.

 

 

Once you’re finished soaking up the atmosphere, grab a bite to eat at one of the many surrounding restaurants. Claras em Castelo is the perfect place for those wanting to try home-cooked Portuguese food. The restaurant is owned by a husband and wife team. The wife prepares the food and the husband serves it, all the while regaling you with stories of Lisbon’s history.

Time to Bring Things Right Up to Date

As you’ve already managed to visit three of Lisbon’s most important bits of history, perhaps it’s time to have a look at what might be history-making in years to come. Europe’s largest casino is based in Estoril, not too far away from Lisbon. It’s younger sister is a little smaller, with a wildly different concept, and is based right in the center of the city. This casino opened its doors to customers in 2006 and has been a firm favorite with tourists and locals alike.

The building itself is an impressive minimalist structure outside and feels calm and contemporary indoors. Theatre shows, musicians, and films all play at the complex, but the casino suite is, without doubt, the most exciting part of the building. There are more than 1000 slot machines here and no less than 28 gaming tables. If you love free online slots games but haven’t ventured into a casino before, then this might be the perfect place to start. The staff are friendly and helpful and the games are easy to get to grips with. Prime yourself with a little pocket money and enjoy a night at Casino Lisboa.


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