I believe the best way of exploring a city is with a combination of walking and above-ground public transport. Walking can be a daunting prospect in a city like Lisbon with its many hills, but the hidden treasures and views encountered whilst on foot more than make up for the hill climbing.
I never really understood from a two dimensional map how Lisbon all ‘worked’ with its parks and churches, downtown and uptown suburbs and miradouros and river. What orientated it for me was the following route:
Start at Miradouro São Pedro with a view to Castelo and then walk through Principe Real to Jardim da Estrela and stop for coffee. The Basilica across the road is worth a look inside – note the light streaming through the windows of the dome. The 28E Tram stops outside Basilica, take a tram to Martim Moniz or Graça. This is a delightful route that takes you via some precariously narrow streets and down frighteningly steep slopes through Chiado, into Baixa and up past the Sé Cathedral towards Castelo São Jorge.
Get off the tram in Baixa and meander through the streets (paying particular attention to Rua Augusta and the arch to the river). Then follow the tram tracks up past the Cathedral and follow signs to Castelo. The view from here absolutely makes up for the climb! When you are done at Castelo, walk down the hill to the right and take a right at the bottom for a well earned drink at Chapito.
Getting to know Lisbon | Relaxing | Free
Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara
24 hours daily