“With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, toward the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But, not everybody could get to Lisbon directly, and so a tortuous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up – Paris to Marseilles… across the Mediterranean to Oran… then by train, or auto, or foot across the rim of Africa, to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here, the fortunate ones through money, or influence, or luck, might obtain exit visas and scurry to Lisbon; and from Lisbon, to the New World.” – Casablanca
I had to look those lines up for this post because the truth is, that movie is certainly the reason I knew of, and wanted to go to Lisbon…but I never remembered exactly why! It isn’t after all, Paris or Casablanca! So the city was mentioned in my favorite movie and for that reason alone I wanted to visit it.
Turns out, there is a lot of history in Portugal! In the 15th/16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers but I don’t remember much of what I learned about Portugal in school. We stayed in Alfama, the oldest district of Lisbon and were able to learn more about the history on a walking tour provided by our hotel. I was fascinated to find out that Portugal and Lisbon have a long Arabic history and in fact, Alfamm, means the “mouth” in Arabic!
What to See in Lisbon
- Sao Jorge Castle
- Jeronimos Monistary
- Belem Tower
- Christo Rei statue
Those are the 4 main tourist spots to see and Jeronimos and Belem are close to each other. We were lucky enough to see some performers outside of the monastery as well which was pretty cool. Make sure you stop by Pastéis de Belém for one of their famous custards. They aren’t gluten free…and Shai doesn’t like custard… so we actually skipped this stop but EVERYONE swears but it and the line was so long (but moved fast) that I have to believe them.
After you hit those, I just recommend walking all over Lisbon or taking an uber to the different districts. The tiles covering the walls of this city are so amazing. Sadly my memory card was reformatted in between cameras and I lost almost all of my photos of the trip and all of the ones of tile =(
The city is really beautiful and I just loved the sights and sounds and people of this city.
Captain Renault: The plane to Lisbon. You would like to be on it?
Rick Blaine: Why? What’s in Lisbon?
Captain Renault quote: The clipper to America.
Have you been to Lisbon? Post your comments and thoughts below!