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36 Hour Travel Guide: Lisbon, Portugal

Pro-tip: make sure you bring comfortable sneakers. Lisbon is spread across seven hills, so expect to do a lot of walking, particularly on some very steep side streets. Also, have your student ID handy. All the tourist venues offer discounted student tickets for visiting the sites and exhibits.Where to Stay It is generally recommended that tourists stay close to the historic centre of Baixa, Chiado or Bairro Alto. These areas are right at the center of all the main attractions, within walking distance of many bars and restaurants, and close to the train station should you decide to take a day trip outside Lisbon. Relative to other European cities, Lisbon offers exceptional value for your money in terms of food, drink and lodging. Lisbon is Airbnb and Uber friendly, making it easy to navigate the narrow and winding cobblestone streets.
Full of magnificent plazas and cafes, Baixa is a great place to try some Portuguese delicacies. Make sure you try a small glass of Ginja, a famous cherry liquor and Pasteis de nata, a delicious kind of custard tart (though the original recipe can be found in Belem at Antiga Confeitaria). Over in Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon, be sure to visit the Lisbon Castle (Castelo Sao Jorge), the site of absolutely stunning views and where the Christian Crusaders defeated the North African Moors in 1147. Other historic spots: Se Cathedral (12th century site of an important Moorish mosque), National Pantheon (burial place of explorers Vasco de Gama and Henry the Navigator) and the Church of Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of lovers. Tradition has it, if you can land a coin in the book of the statue of Saint Anthony, you will find a new or better partner! The next day, it may be worth taking an inexpensive 40-minute train ride (the 434 route) over to Sintra. Sintra is the most popular day trip from Lisbon, a small town with more than 10 national monuments, including palaces, ancient ruins and decorative houses. The three main tourist attractions in Sintra are the National Palace, the Moors Castle and the Pena Palace. In the center of town, you’ll find pretty cobbled streets lined with traditional shops and cafes, all centered around the Gothic-styled National Palace (Palacio Nacional), the lavish home of Portuguese nobility between the 15th and 19th centuries. The Moors Castle (Castelo dos Mouros) is an ancient ruined castle that dates back to the 8th century that sits higher than the National Palace and offers panoramic views of the entire surrounding region of Portugal. Lastly, the vividly colorful Pena Palace, surrounded by pine forests, is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, one of the major expressions of 19th-century Romanticism in the world. If you’d rather stick to the wild surfing beaches (and possibly run into Christiano Ronaldo), Cascais may be a better day-trip option for Day 2. Cascais is a charming and prosperous fishing town that sits on the western coastline of Lisbon. In this lively resort town, you could check out the Guincho surf beach, one of the many parks, or a few of the smaller free museums. Castro Guimaraes Museum is the most famous monument here, boasting impressive 19th century architecture and exhibits. If you enjoy hiking, Serra de Sintra National Park is a scenic site to visit in Cascais. On the last day, Belem and Parque das Nações are solid options for taking in more Portuguese culture. Belem is roughly 5km west of downtown Lisbon (15 minutes by train). The best activity in Belem is a half hour walk from Pastéis de Belem to the Belem Tower. This route passes the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, the Discoveries Monument and goes through the Jardim da Praça do Império and the Jardim da Torre de Belem (two carefully maintained parks in the area). The M
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