LISBON is built on hills, with many narrow, winding roads. The city can be discovered by walking but spending a whole day sightseeing can be wearing on the soles. The secret is to use the eléctricos – trams, and the No. 28 is a popular tram with an interesting route passing some of Lisbon’s historical sites.
From Cascais take the train to Cais do Sodré and then the Metro to Martim Moniz where you can pick up the Tram 28E.
Starting at the Largo Martim Moniz, outside the shopping centre in the square just behind the Praça da Figueira, the No. 28 tram (with the destination Prazeres on it) goes through the Rua da Palma into Anjos and continues to Rua Maria da Fonte and into the Largo da Graça. The tram passes the São Vicente de Fora Church, opened in 1629. Behind the church is the Campo Santa Clara where the Feira da Ladra (literally ‘thieves market’) a flea market is held every Tuesday and Saturday.
To one side of the market is the Panteão Nacional, a 17th century baroque church. This is the Alfama area – the word Alfama comes from the Arabic ‘hot springs’. It is known for its narrow streets, typical restaurants and windows with flower baskets and washing hanging out. St Jorge’s Castle, towering above, can be reached from here where you can get the best view of the river and city.
The tram moves on passing the Miradouro Santa Luzia, in the Largo das Portas do Sol, giving another spectacular view of the river and Alfama.
Moving along further is the Sé Catedral, the Holy See, built by order of King Afonso Henriques at the end of the 12th century after conquering Lisbon from the Moors. To the right is St. Anthony’s Church and museum, built where the saint was born. Celebrations take place on 13th June, the feast day of St Anthony. Processions, grilled sardines in open air and folk music and dances take place in Lisbon and the greater Lisbon area. A Parade ‘the Marchas Populares’ of groups from Lisbon’s various parishes compete for the best dances and costumes. This takes place on the eve of the 13th and a winner is chosen every year.
Tram 28 moves on to the Baixa through the Rua da Conceição. From here you can go to the Praça do Comércio or go to Rossio and the nearby shopping streets.
Passing through the Rua Vitor Cordon you can see two theatres – the São Luis and the São Carlos, before the tram comes into the Chiado and the Praça de Luis de Camões, named after the poet and author of The Lusiads. The Chiado is another shopping area and in the Rua Garrett the statue of Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa can be seen outside the Café Brasileira which was once a meeting place for artists and writers.
Streets off this area lead to the Bairro Alto, one of Lisbon’s lively nightspots with its nightclubs, restaurants, bars and Fado houses. Moving along the Largo de Calhariz we pass the Calçada da Estrela and past the National Assembly where parliament is based.
Further up is the Estrela with the imposing Basilica da Estrela and opposite are the Estrela Gardens. Nearing the final part of the journey is the Campo de Ourique, with its modern looking market and the Santo Condestável Church, opened in 1951.
You can break your journey and visit the sites.