Bairro Alto and Príncipe Real

Climbing further through Rua Garret, passing Largo de Camões, will lead you to labyrinth-like, bohemian Bairro Alto. Alternatively, from Praca dos Restauradores, the Elevator of Gloria is a less tiring way of getting to Bairro Alto and will take you to one of the greatest vantage points of the city, Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. Across the street is the Solar do Vinho do Porto, the Port Wine Institute, where the visitors can taste some tasty Port.

Mostly occupied by intellectuals, artists, idealistic university students, and not to mention tourists, Bairro Alto, with its innumerous range of restaurants, fado houses, cafés and bars is the most appealing cultural center of the city. Rua da Rosa is the main street where most of these are located. With its narrow, up and down streets, it is a place that never sleeps, promising an enjoyable night to its visitors. Contrary to its night scene, during the day it is relatively calm. A typical day scene would consist of old ladies chatting and hanging out the laundry and kids playing on the streets.

Bairro Alto does not only offer a great range of restaurants and bars, but it also is a great zone for shopping eccentric and trendy clothing. Most of such shops can be found in Rua do Norte.

Going back to our arrival to Bairro Alto through the Elevator of Gloria, when you walk down the vantage point on Rua Dom Pedro V is 16th century Jesuit Igreja and Museu de São Roque. Most marvelous is the Capela de Sao Joao Baptista. It was built in Rome, using the most expensive materials such as jade, lapis azuli, alabaster, gold and amethyst, and shipped to Lisbon in 1749 after being blessed by the pope. Use of such expensive materials demonstrates Portugal’s colonial wealth and extravagance. In the museum, 16th and 17th century paintings can be found.

Walking up the vantage point is Principe Real, where along with some second-hand bookstores and antique shops can be found. In some ways, this place is an extension of Bairro Alto and a gay-friendly place in which there are plenty of bars and clubs are in easy reach.

Lisbon’s one of the most relaxing and not to mention romantic garden, Parque Príncipe Real can be found here. Laid out in 1860 with lots of exotic plants, the garden hosts handicraft and ecological products bazaar on specific days of the week and, of course, lovers under its a century-old cedar tree. The garden is surrounded by pastel-colored buildings, the most striking of which is the Arabesque palace at No. 26, once the Palacio Ribeiro da Cunha and now housing a university department.

Other attractions in the zone can be listed as: Museu de Ciência and Jardim Botânico da Faculdade de Ciencias located on Rua da Escola Politécnica.