10 Things For Golfers To Do In Lisbon

Portugal's capital Lisbon showing colourful houses and the 25 de Abril Bridge.

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When it comes to golf, Portugal is right up there as one of the best Mediterranean countries to play in. In fact, Lisbon, the stunning capital city of Portugal, is full of some amazing first-class courses for you to enjoy.

The great weather and impressive courses draw more than 100,000 golf enthusiasts each year. But while the charismatic and vibrant city of Lisbon is celebrated for its stunning golf courses, it also offers so much more away from the fairways and bunkers.

In this article, we have highlighted 10 things for you to see and do on your golf holiday in Lisbon as you venture away from the golf course.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Located in the Belem district, next to the old Belém beach, stands the impressive Mosteiro dos Jerónimos that exemplifies Manueline architecture. Constructed in the 16th century, this monumental Monastery stands as a testament to Portugal’s Age of Discovery and the wealth derived from maritime exploration.

Characterised by intricate stone carvings, stunning vaulted ceilings, and remarkable cloisters, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is a masterpiece of Portuguese craftsmanship. The monastery played a crucial role in commemorating the achievements of explorers who discovered sea routes to East Africa, Brazil, and India.

Funded by the prosperity generated through these maritime ventures, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos has earned recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It stands not only as a historical and cultural landmark but also as a symbol of Portugal’s maritime legacy. Visiting this extraordinary monastery provides a profound glimpse into the country’s rich history and architectural prowess.

Elevador de Santa Justa

The Elevador de Santa Justa, a distinctive attraction in the centre of Lisbon, dates back to the 19th-century industrial era. This historic lift, adorned with neo-gothic arches and intricate geometric patterns, ascends 45 metres from the Baixa district to the Largo do Carmo.

Elevador de Santa Justa, Lisbon

Originally a vital part of Lisbon’s public transport, the elevator is now primarily a tourist draw. Despite the long queues and a relatively high fare of €5.30 it offers a stylish journey in polished wood carriages. The top of the elevator provides one of the best views of Central Lisbon, particularly captivating during the evening, making it a romantic spot. Access to the observation deck only is €1.50.

To the rear of the lift, a walkway leads to the ruins of the Igreja do Carmo church and the charming Largo do Carmo plaza. The area offers various attractions like the Mues Arquealogico, the Igreja do Carmo, the Museu da GNR, and the trendy Carmo rooftop bar.

Torre de Belém

The Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Lisbon’s most striking monuments and the icon of a country historically moulded by its proximity to the ocean and its maritime discoveries of new worlds.

Discoveries by Portuguese navigators transformed Lisbon into the world’s main trade hub in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Torre de Belem, Lisbon

To protect the city, King João II conceived a pioneer project to defend Lisbon from enemy ships, a work completed in 1514 and which included the building of the Belém Tower, designed by architect Francisco de Arruda.

The tower’s unique design includes a modern and heavily armed bastion, protruding over the river.

King Manuel I clearly wished the Belém Tower to stand as a lasting symbol of his powerful reign by depicting the royal coat of arms, the armillary sphere and the cross of the Order of Christ.

Padrão dos Descobrimentos monument

The grand Monument to the Discoveries commands attention along the Belém riverside. Originally designed in 1940 to commemorate the “Exposition of the Portuguese World,” it celebrated the eighth and third centenaries of Portugal’s founding and restoration in 1140 and 1640, respectively. However, the monument, standing 52 metres tall, was constructed in 1960 to mark 500 years since the death of Prince Henry the Navigator. Architect Cottinelli Telmo and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida collaborated on its design.

Resembling a caravel, the monument portrays Prince Henry the Navigator at its helm, leading a procession of 32 influential figures from the Era of the Discoveries, including King Afonso V, Vasco da Gama, Pedro Álvares Cabral, and Fernando Magellan. The façade facing downward forms a cross adorned with the Sword of the Order of Aviz, the primary financial supporter of these historic voyages.

Visit Bairro Alto, Chiado and Cais de Sodré

In Lisbon’s vibrant downtown, the lively hub draws diverse crowds, making it a gathering place for friends, tourists, and locals exploring Portuguese traditions. Bairro Alto, an ever-awake, historic neighbourhood, offers a mix of art, culture, and entertainment. By day, soak in the architecture, colourful alleyways, and artisan shops; by night, savour traditional dishes and wines at BAHR or experience a fado house.

Adjacent to Bairro Alto, Chiado is a prestigious, artistic hub where streets echo with voices and talent. These lively streets blend classic and modern vibes, hosting shops, bars, cafés, and cultural treasures. Explore “A Brasileira” café with Fernando Pessoa and stroll down Rua Garret for shopping. Conclude your visit with a view from Elevador de Santa Justa.

Cais do Sodré, once a sailors’ haunt, is now a lively area with a pink street, bars, and discos.

Enjoy vintage charm, signature cocktails, and burlesque shows. The Ribeira das Naus promenade offers sunny days by the river. Food lovers can relish diverse international and local specialties. Immerse yourself in the charm of Lisbon’s bohemian neighbourhoods in the City of 7 Hills.

Ferry ride or river cruise along the river Tejo

Lisbon sprawls along the banks of the Tejo Estuary, and commuter ferries play a vital role in the city’s public transportation network.

These ferries offer an affordable way for residents from the southern banks of the Tejo Estuary to reach central Lisbon in the North, bypassing the challenging rush hour traffic on the Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge.

For visitors to Lisbon, the commuter ferries offer a pleasant boat journey at a fraction of the cost of more expensive tourist cruises.

The most popular ferry route for tourists crosses from Cais do Sodre to Cacilhas, marking the initial leg of the journey to the Cristo Rei Statue, boasting stunning views over Lisbon.

While the Cacilhas ferry route offers picturesque views near the suspension bridge, it’s important to note that these commuter ferries, unfortunately, lack an external viewing deck as they are primarily designed for daily commuters.

Praça do Comércio

Regarded as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, Praça do Comércio faces south towards the vast Tagus estuary. In the pre-aviation era, it served as Lisbon’s grand reception area for sea arrivals, where Kings and Heads of State would disembark. Originally called Terreiro do Paço before the 1755 earthquake, the square witnessed the rebuilding of the city after the catastrophe.

Praca do Comercio, Lisbon from the air

The name Praça do Comércio reflects the Pombal era’s vision, emphasising the importance of trading, financial, and bourgeois classes. At the square’s geometric centre stands a statue of José I on his horse Gentil, unveiled in 1775. The celebrations marked the king’s birthday, featuring a three-day festivity, including a grand banquet for the people of Lisbon. A pedestal by the riverside holds a likeness of Pombal, symbolising Triumph and Fame, alluding to Portugal’s overseas possessions.

Under the northern arcade, near Rua do Ouro, visit the Martinho da Arcada café-restaurant, a cultural landmark. As you head towards Rua Augusta and Rossio, pause to appreciate the Triumphal Arch overlooking the thoroughfare.

Castelo de São Jorge

Rising prominently above Lisbon, the Castelo de São Jorge stands as one of the city’s finest tourist attractions. Woven into Lisbon’s early history, the castle has seen the Romans lose to the Visigoths, witnessed conflicts between Arabs and Christians, endured Castilian sieges, and played a role in Portugal’s maritime rise.

This diverse and tumultuous history is visible throughout the castle, with its heavily fortified battlements, medieval royal quarters, and captivating seaward views that once inspired exploration among Portuguese kings.

For today’s visitors, the Castelo de Sao Jorge offers a captivating experience, thanks in part to a significant restoration undertaken in the 1940s. This restoration project involved a complete reconstruction of the ramparts, embellishment of the watchtowers, and the addition of serene gardens within the courtyards. While not strictly adhering to historical accuracy, the restoration undeniably enhances the overall visitor experience.

Ride on the number 28 tram

Trams in Lisbon offer a leisurely way to explore the city’s rich history and architecture. Tram no. 28 is the most widely known and travels from Martim Moniz to Campo de Ourique.

Yellow No. 28 tram, Lisbon

Starting at Largo Martim Moniz in the historical heart, it passes through Graça, Alfama, and landmarks like the Church of São Vicente de Fora and São Jorge Castle, offering charming views of medieval streets. Continuing through the city centre, the tram visits landmarks such as the Cathedral, Church of Santo António, and Chiado hill, with notable stops like Pastry Shop A Brasileira.

Beyond Bairro Alto and Largo do Camões, the tram descends cobbled streets, highlighting the Parliament building and further landmarks. Extending through Campo de Ourique to Largo dos Prazeres, the tram’s route ends, but it retraces, providing a fresh perspective. Tram 28, recognised by its yellow colour, is a tourist favourite, and there’s a comfortable red version with a guided tour for a more detailed experience.

Palácio Nacional da Ajuda

The Ajuda National Palace, a neoclassical gem constructed in the first half of the 19th century, was designated as the residence of the Portuguese royal family upon King Luís I’s accession to the throne. This historical significance endured until the monarchy’s culmination in 1910.

This palace, a quintessential example of a 19th-century royal residence, boasts a remarkable collection of decorative arts, encompassing gold and silver works, paintings, sculptures, furniture, tapestries, glassware, and porcelain.

Following the proclamation of the Republic in 1910, the palace shuttered its doors until its reopening as a museum in 1968. In 2018, a comprehensive renovation initiative commenced, incorporating the reconstruction of the west wing, now housing the Royal Treasury Museum. This museum showcases an unparalleled collection of over a thousand unique pieces, including the Portuguese Crown Jewels.

Executed under the guidance of architect João Carlos Santos, the contemporary reconstruction aligns seamlessly with the palace’s original architectural design. The Ajuda National Palace remains a venue for official ceremonies and significant acts of the Presidency of the Republic, upholding its historical and cultural prominence.

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