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Lisbon's Elevador da Bica

Touring has never been as fun as it is in Lisbon, where street cars or elevadores make it easy for anybody to climb steep hills. These bright yellow cabs are icons in this rich Portuguese city, and the Elevador da Bica is most popular for its ride through the Barrio Alto and the Rua de Sau Paulo.

The Elevador da Bica is one of the steepest in Lisbon. It runs up and down Barrio Alto, a residential, shopping and entertainment district, to Sau Paulo. Barrio Alto is one of the oldest districts in Lisbon, with dozens of fado singing clubs to entertain. The fado is an old musical form brought to Portugal by African slaves in the 19th century, and is accompanied by guitar music. Barrio Alto is the heart of Lisbon’s youth culture and nightlife where the music scene thrives in a number of clubs and bars.

At the bottom of the Bica route is a lively fish and flower market that greets Lisbon’s visitors at the Mercado da Ribeira. The market is also the venue for cultural activities such as Os Bailes da Ribeira and Espectaculos Musicais Diversos, a ball and music fest. You can enjoy the local music here as well as dine in the restaurant and bar.

Nearby, tourists will encounter the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, a green-windowed palace also called “the museum of green windows.” The collection includes paintings from Portugal as well as pieces from some of the grand masters of Europe. There are numerous sculptures, as well as silver and porcelain displays from the Orient and Europe.

Other city attractions include the Castelo de Sao Jorge where you can admire the view of the River Tagus and the Alfama medieval district. Alfama is the oldest part of Lisbon. Its cobblestone alleyways retain the colour and atmosphere from the days of ancient Saracens. Lisbon’s renowned flea market, the Feira da Ladra, can also be found in Alfama every Tuesday and Saturday. Church goers will enjoy the Cathedral in Largo da Se, where Saint Anthony of Padua was baptised.

Within the district of Belem is a Monument to the Discoveries. Situated on the riverbank, it was designed to commemorate the Portuguese Age of Discovery. The Tower of Belem is one of Lisbon’s most photographed landmarks. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its stone walls are carved beautifully along with openwork balconies and Moorish watchtowers.

The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of the best aquariums in the world. With 15 thousand living examples of marine life, and glass panels that give a 180-degree view, this attraction is a must-see for everybody.

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