Traveler’s geography is made of emotions. Lisbon challenges the audacious among the hills and the portuguese sidewalk. The weather, almost always mild, is not a concern. Museums, churches, belvederes, gardens. The smell of sardines in a street tavern, or the sea flavor in a seafood dish in a gourmet restaurant. Are you going to have a ginjinha, a port, a cocktail or a coffee? Tile panels, urban art, installations. Lose yourself shopping - hipster stores or luxury brands, a market for organic products or a thrift shop? With the night fall we hear fado, opera, jazz, classical music, rock, garage bands. From the Castle we can see who comes upstream, and through the Tagus river we go to the world with Lisbon in our hearts. After all, Lisbon is all around you.
Lisbon has many icons; custard tarts, terracotta rooftops and pastel hued buildings being only a few. The most striking of them all however, are its trams and funiculars used to navigate the seven hills Lisbon was built on. Just a few minutes walk from our hotel is Rua de São Paulo; a narrow, cobbled, steep street connected to Rua do Loreto by the historic Elevador Da Bica (Bica Lift) a funicular that has been in operation since 1892. Here's what you need to know about this history of Lisbon's funicular on our doorstep.
Elevador da Bica are two cars linked together on cables which ascend and descend simultaneously; each working as a counterweight for the other. When first built the funicular moved by a water counterbalancing system; the car at the top of the hill was filled with water in its tank until it was heavy enough to descend and pull the other car up. By 1896 the lift was steam powered and by 1924 it was fully operated by electricity. The funicular rises to a distance of 245 meters on an 11.8% inclination. It travels against the breathtaking backdrop of the River Tagus and crosses the Bica district towards the Bairro Alto neighbourhood.
All things considered this is the most picturesque ride in the city. It's easy to see why once you experience it. As well as the stunning scenery of the river, the Bica District is the most photographed in all of Lisbon by visitors. The main reason for this being that it is a traditional and authentic part of the city. The small neighbourhood between Bairro Alto and Cais do Sodré consists of cobbled alleys with stairways which date as far back as 1597. With views of the River Tagus, 18th century buildings, ornate balconies and endless tiled walls you will be spoilt for choice when capturing your days in Lisbon. After a long day of sight seeing stop at one of the tiny cafes to enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by with Lisbon all around.
The funicular from Rua de São Paulo to Largo Calhariz leaves every 15 minutes (delays permitting) between 7am – 9pm Monday to Saturday and 9am – 9pm on Sundays and public holidays. We recommend the purchase a 24 hour pass. For more information visit: Viva Viagem Card.
One of the best qualities of Lisbon, we think you'll agree, is its ability seamlessly blend rich decadent history with sleek modern ideas. Nothing portrays this character of the city better than Mercado Da Ribeira which is a mere five minutes walk from our hotel. Welcome to TimeOut Market and food hall, Lisbon.
Mercado Da Ribeira, which translates to River Market, has always sat in its riverside home of Avenida 24 de Julho. Its history can be traced back to the 13th century but the market began in 1882. The building itself is instantly recognisable with it's striking clock tower and oriental dome. The River Market was also once the most famous fish market in all of Europe. Yet, by the 21st century its popularity had waned and the area and building fell in to decline in both usage and sales. In a bid to revive the historic institution, in 2010, Lisbon City Council invited bidders to overhaul the market. TimeOut Lisboa magazine won the bid and was granted permission to execute its ambitious plans.
Today, it's a vast space combining traditional stalls of local produce, artisan food and an unmissable food hall with top chefs. An array of food and drink ranging from seafood to ice cream can be found in the market. It's a wonderful place to watch the rhythm of Lisbon. Between 6am and 2pm the ground floor fills up with stalls selling fresh produce. Local people arrive early to grab a bargain of the best vegetables, fruit or even flowers. Lunch time draws Lisbon's young professionals to the Western hall scurrying around communal tables with freshly-cut sandwiches, sushi or burgers. As the sun begins to set the gourmet food hall hosts sophisticated diners always on the look out for something new.
The market is a great place to spend an evening if you're visiting the city. If you're lucky enough to spend a weekend here be sure to take part in one of the dance classes held late in to the night. We are sure it will be an unforgettable Lisbon evening.
For more information visit: TimeOut Lisboa