Discover the Hidden Gems of Lisbon: Top 3 Unusual Things to Do in Portugal’s Capital (Part 3)
Lisbon is a city that never ceases to surprise and delight its visitors. From its charming streets and squares to its stunning views and monuments, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in Lisbon. But if you’re looking for something more than the usual tourist attractions, you’re in luck. Lisbon is also full of unusual things to do that will make your trip more memorable and fun. In this article, we’ll show you some of the best-hidden gems and secrets of Lisbon, from street art and graffiti to gardens and viewpoints, from quirky museums and attractions to local tips and recommendations. Whether you’re a culture lover, a nature lover, or a thrill seeker, you’ll find something that suits your taste and curiosity in this amazing city. So get ready to explore Lisbon off the beaten path and uncover its most unusual things to do.
Admire the Street Art and Graffiti of Lisbon
One of the most unusual things to do in Lisbon is to admire its street art and graffiti. Lisbon is a city that loves art, and you can see it everywhere. Not only in its museums and galleries, but also on its walls, buildings, and even underground stations. Lisbon has a vibrant street art scene that transforms the city into a colorful canvas. It’s where local and international artists express their creativity and messages. Whether you’re a fan of graffiti or not, the variety and quality of street art in Lisbon will surely amaze you.
The Best Places to See Street Art and Graffiti in Lisbon
Here are some of the best places to see street art and graffiti in Lisbon:
- Miradouro das Portas do Sol: This viewpoint offers a stunning panorama of the medieval Alfama district, with its white church towers, domes, and tiled houses. It also showcases some of the most iconic murals in the city, such as the portrait of Fado singer Amália Rodrigues by Vhils.
- Pavilhão Chinês: This quirky bar is filled with antiques, curiosities, and memorabilia from different eras. It also has a wall covered in graffiti by local artists, creating a contrast between old and new.
- Museu do Aljube: This museum displays the history of political repression and resistance in Portugal during the dictatorship. It also has a cafe on the top floor with a balcony that offers a rare view of the back of the Sé de Lisboa cathedral, adorned with street art.
- Underground stations: Lisbon’s metro network is not only a convenient way to get around the city, but also a public gallery for modern artworks. Each station has its own theme and style, featuring tiles, sculptures, paintings, and graffiti by various artists. Some of the most impressive stations are Oriente, Parque, Cais do Sodré, Baixa-Chiado, and Alameda.
The Meaning and Inspiration Behind Lisbon’s Street Art and Graffiti
Lisbon’s street art and graffiti are not only beautiful to look at, but also meaningful and inspiring. They reflect the city’s history, culture, identity, and diversity. They also challenge social issues, such as racism, poverty, violence, and environmentalism. Furthermore, they are a way for artists to communicate with the public and express their opinions and emotions. They are a form of art that is accessible to everyone and that invites dialogue and participation.
Learn More About Lisbon’s Street Art and Graffiti Scene
If you want to learn more about Lisbon’s street art and graffiti scene, you can join one of the many tours that are available in the city. You can also check out some online platforms that showcase Lisbon’s street art and graffiti works, such as Street Art Lisbon or Underdogs.
Relax in the Beautiful Gardens and Viewpoints of Lisbon
Another unusual thing to do in Lisbon is to relax in its beautiful gardens and viewpoints. Lisbon is well-known as the city of seven hills, which means it has many viewpoints (or “miradouros”) that offer breathtaking views of the cityscape, the river, and the bridge. Some of them also have gardens, kiosks, and benches where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. These places are perfect for taking photos, having a picnic, reading a book, or simply admiring the beauty of Lisbon.
The Best Gardens and Viewpoints in Lisbon
Here are some of the best gardens and viewpoints in Lisbon:
- Jardim do Torel: This former private garden from the 19th century has playful chaise-longue-style park benches that invite you to sit and relax on the soft slope. It offers a lovely view of the Praça dos Restauradores in the Baixa quarter.
- Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara: This shaded terrace on a hill opposite the castle is one of Lisbon’s most romantic spots. It’s split into two levels, with a garden dotted with busts of mythological and historical personalities. It allows you to gaze down on all of downtown towards the waterfront, and a tile panel points out the landmarks that can be seen from here.
- Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte: This viewpoint on one of Lisbon’s highest hills offers an amazing view of the city, including the castle, the bridge, and the Christ statue. It’s especially popular at sunset when you can see the sky changing colors over the horizon.
Miradouro da Graça: This viewpoint next to an 18th-century church is a favorite spot for artists to paint the city. It has parasol pines that provide shade to the tables placed by a kiosk serving refreshments. It offers a stunning view of the castle and downtown Lisbon.
- Miradouro do Recolhimento: This hidden square inside the walls of the Castelo de São Jorge offers a peaceful spot to admire the view of the city and the river. It also features some colorful graffiti on the walls of an old water reservoir.
- Jardim da Estrela: This romantic neighborhood park dates back to 1852, and is a lovely spot for picnics, reading, working out, and for children to play. It’s right across from Basílica da Estrela and has duck ponds, a playground, an old wrought-iron bandstand, a kiosk, and a café with outdoor seating for light meals. In between it all are several sculptures and exotic plants.
The Benefits of Relaxing in Lisbon’s Gardens and Viewpoints
Lisbon’s gardens and viewpoints are not only beautiful to look at, but also relaxing and refreshing. They offer a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Additionally, it’s a chance to connect with nature and yourself. They are also great places to meet locals and other travelers. You can enjoy some snacks and drinks from the nearby kiosks or cafes too.
Get to Lisbon’s Gardens and Viewpoints
You can get to most of Lisbon’s gardens and viewpoints by public transportation, such as trams, buses, or metro. You can also walk or bike around the city, which is relatively small and compact. However, be prepared for some steep hills and stairs along the way. You can also join one of the many tours that are available in the city. There are tuk-tuk tours, bike tours, or walking tours that you will want to participate in.
Explore the Quirky Museums and Attractions of Lisbon
The last unusual thing to do in Lisbon is to explore its quirky museums and attractions. Lisbon has many museums and attractions that showcase its rich history, culture, and art. But it also has some quirky and unusual places that will surprise and delight you with their originality and creativity. These places are perfect for learning something new, having fun, and discovering a different side of Lisbon.
The Best Quirky Museums and Attractions in Lisbon
Here are some of the best quirky museums and attractions in Lisbon:
- Museu Nacional do Azulejo: This museum is dedicated to Azulejos, or hand-painted tiles, which are one of Portugal’s most distinctive art forms. It’s located in a former convent founded by Queen D. Leonor in 1509 and displays tiles from different periods and styles, including some impressive panels depicting scenes from Lisbon’s history.
- Museu da Marioneta: This museum is devoted to ancient and contemporary puppets from different countries and cultures. It’s located in a former convent in Lapa district, and exhibits puppets made of wood, cloth, paper, clay, and metal. You can also see how they are made and operated, and watch puppet shows.
- Pavilhão do Conhecimento-Ciência Viva: This museum is a science center that aims to stimulate curiosity and learning through interactive exhibits and experiments. It’s located in Parque das Nações, the modern area that hosted the Expo 98. You can explore topics such as physics, biology, chemistry, robotics, and more.
- Arco da Rua Augusta: This arch is a monumental gateway that marks the entrance to the Baixa quarter from the Praça do Comércio. It was built in the 18th century to commemorate the reconstruction of the city after the earthquake of 1755. You can climb to the top of the arch and enjoy a panoramic view of the square, the river, and the castle.
- Museu da Eletricidade: This museum is housed in a former power station that supplied electricity to Lisbon in the first half of the 20th century. It showcases the machinery and equipment used to generate and distribute electricity, as well as some temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
- Water Museum: This museum is composed of four different spaces that illustrate the history and importance of water in Lisbon. They are: Mãe d’Água das Amoreiras Reservoir, Patriarcal Reservoir, Barbadinhos Steam Pumping Station, and Águas Livres Aqueduct. You can learn about the engineering, architecture, and heritage of water supply in Lisbon.
The Benefits of Exploring Lisbon’s Quirky Museums and Attractions
Lisbon’s quirky museums and attractions are not only fun to visit, but also educational and inspiring. They reveal aspects of Lisbon’s past, present, and future that you might not know otherwise. They also showcase the creativity and diversity of Lisbon’s people and culture. Particularly, they are a way for you to experience Lisbon in a different and memorable way.
How to Get to Lisbon’s Quirky Museums and Attractions
You can get to most of Lisbon’s quirky museums and attractions by public transportation, such as trams, buses, or metro. You can also walk or bike around the city, which is relatively small and compact. However, being well-prepared for some steep hills and stairs along the way. You can also join one of the many tours that are available in the city. Make sure you don’t miss one of the tuk-tuk tours, bike tours, or walking tours in the city.
Final Thoughts on Unusual Things to Do in Lisbon
As you can see, Lisbon is a city that has much more to offer than meets the eye. Beyond its famous landmarks and attractions, there are many unusual things to do in Lisbon that will enrich your experience and make you fall in love with the city even more. Whether you’re into street art and graffiti, gardens, and viewpoints, or quirky museums and attractions, you’ll find something that will surprise and delight you in this amazing city. We hope you enjoyed this article and found some inspiration for your next trip to Lisbon. And don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.
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READ THE LISBON SERIES
I hope you enjoyed this third part of the Lisbon series and found some inspiration for your next trip to Lisbon. If you want to discover more amazing things to do in Lisbon, don’t miss the other parts of our series. You’ll learn about the best cultural, historical, gastronomic, and adventurous activities that Lisbon has to offer. Whether you’re looking for museums, monuments, restaurants, bars, markets, or outdoor adventures, you’ll find something that suits your taste and budget in our series. So don’t wait any longer and check out the other parts of our series now. You’ll be glad you did!