I’ll be your guide through the must-see wonders and hidden gems that make Baixa a jewel in Lisbon’s crown. From iconic landmarks like Praça do Comércio to the vibrant energy of Rua Augusta, we’ll uncover the secrets that make this district a treasure trove of experiences. Let’s unravel the charm of Lisbon’s Baixa together, where every corner tells a story waiting to be explored!
Praça do Comércio
Heading downhill, we find ourselves at the sprawling Praça do Comércio, a historic square that once served as the royal palace’s grand entrance. Today, it’s a vibrant hub with charming cafes, shops, and expansive open spaces. Make sure to snap a photo beside the majestic Arco da Rua Augusta. Perfect for a stroll, day or night!
Arch of Augusta
It’s one of Lisbon’s most iconic monuments, and it offers one of the city’s best views. This triumphal arch, designed in 1775 to welcome those arriving in Lisbon by sea, opened its terrace for the first time in 2013, allowing visitors to get close to its sculptures and admire a view over the city’s grandest square and main pedestrian street.
- If you want to get a panoramic view, visit the terrace. Open from 9:00 to 19:00, with admission at €3.
Lisbon’s main pedestrian street links Rossio to Praça do Comércio. It’s a lively place, with outdoor restaurants, street artists, and local and international shops.
Amorino Ice Cream
Amorino Ice Cream beckons with its artisanal allure and delectable offerings. This charming gelateria is a haven for ice cream enthusiasts, known for crafting their frozen delights into exquisite flower-like shapes.
Nestled in the heart of the city, Claus Porto celebrates over a century of creating luxurious soaps and fragrances. Step into a sensory oasis where the artistry of blending fine ingredients with time-honored techniques results in products that are both indulgent and steeped in tradition.
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Joalharia Do Carmo
Joalharia Do Carmo is a treasure trove of meticulously designed and handcrafted pieces of jewelry, each telling a unique story.
Luvaria Ulisses Shop
Luvaria Ulisses Shop is a hidden gem dedicated to the art of handcrafted gloves. This intimate boutique, with its old-world charm, has been adorning the hands of discerning customers since 1925. Step into a realm of elegance where each glove is meticulously crafted, offering a timeless blend of tradition and sophistication.
Santa Justa Lift
For a unique perspective of the city, hop on the historic 1902, 148-foot-high Elevador de Santa Justa, a wrought-iron masterpiece linking Baixa to the Bairro Alto. Marvel at Lisbon’s stunning cityscape from the top platform. I must warn you that the line to enter can be long!
- Hours: 7:00 to 23:00
- Admission: €6 per person
Rossio Square and Figueira Square
Don’t miss the vibrant Rossio Square, a lively hub that is surrounded by historical buildings. One major feature is the iconic Dom Pedro IV statue and the wave-patterned pavement. Just a stone’s throw away is Figueira Square (Praca da Figueria), a bustling space with a mix of cafes and shops. These squares are perfect for people-watching and soaking up the local atmosphere.
Lisboa Story Center
A large part of the east wing of Comércio Square was taken over by the Lisboa Story Center, which tells the story of Lisbon through models and multimedia displays. Organized chronologically, it focuses on the main events and personalities that shaped the city over the centuries. There are also temporary exhibitions, which are accompanied by a multilingual audio guide.
Igreja de Sao Domingos (St. Dominic Church)
Twice a victim of a major catastrophe (the 1755 earthquake and a fire in 1959), this church’s interior has never been restored, and its scorched pillars are quite a striking sight. It was the site of some of Lisbon’s darkest periods; it was where the Inquisition read out its sentences, and where hundreds of people accused of secretly being Jewish were massacred in 1506. A monument in their memory has been placed on the square outside, faced by a mural with “Lisbon, City of Tolerance” written in 34 languages.
- Hours: Open daily from 7:30 to 19:00; Mass is held hourly every day from 8:00 until 12:00 and 18:00.
Conserveira de Lisboa
Conserveira de Lisboa embraces Lisbon’s maritime legacy, celebrating the art of canning fish. This iconic store, dating back to 1930, is a visual feast, adorned with colorful tins of premium canned sardines, mackerel, and other delectable seafood.
Igreja de São Nicolau (St. Nicholas Church)
Step into the tranquility of Igreja de São Nicolau, a haven of peace in the midst of bustling Baixa. This neoclassical church was completely rebuilt in 1776 with its carefully restored ceiling paintings illustrating scenes from the life of St. Nicholas.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Oliveira
You blink, and you miss this tiny church, even if you’re standing right by the door. It’s found in an ordinary building, but the interior is quite a surprise. The original temple dates from 1262, but this is the 1762 reconstruction after it was destroyed in the Great Earthquake of 1755. The ceiling features an 18th-century painting of the Assumption of the Virgin, while the walls are decorated with blue-and-white tile panels of the same period. They depict different events in the life of the Virgin, from birth to “Flight into Egypt.”
As we bid adieu to the enchanting Baixa-Chiado District, it’s impossible not to be captivated by the fusion of history, culture, and contemporary charm. From the spiritual allure of Chiado to the grandeur of Baixa, this district is a testament to Lisbon’s enduring allure. So, lace up your walking shoes and let the magic of Baixa unfold around you.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.