Big Yellow Tour Bus

There are several tour buses that you can take here in Lisbon…there is the big Yellow Tour, the Big Red Tour, Greyline Tours, the Little Red bus tour and on and on.  We chose the Big Yellow Bus tour only because we had a ticket from the airport bus that offer 25% off the tour ticket.  We are not huge fans of tours but took this as a way to get introduced to the city and the various neighborhoods.

The ticket we purchased offered two tours (and because we were buying two tours, the 25% discount didn’t apply, of course!)  The first tour took us through the neighborhoods of Baixa, Chiado, Barrio Alto and Belem.  On this tour, you can hop on/hop off at various stops.  We chose to just stay on and ride the whole time to see what areas of interest we might want to return to the next day to explore.

The Port of Lisbon

The second tour was the Olisipo Tour and took us through the newly developed Lisbon.  This area is east of the older, central part of the city.  It took us past the busy, working ports and past the Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations).  This park was opened after the Lisbon hosted the 1998 World Exposition.   Today, offered at the park are an Aquarium,  an observation tower, funicular and garden area.  The large exhibition halls are available for rent and there is ample hotel space nearby.  Today, the area near the park is now high-rise buildings of offices, retail space and condos.  All keeping with the very modern, sleek look of the World Exposition futuristic buildings.

Parque das Nacoes

We passed Vasco da Gama bridge, the longest bridge in Europe.  It is 10.7  miles long and crosses the River Tagus.  It was opened in 1998.

Throughout Lisbon, there are large rotaries with a statue or large sculpture in the center. This one, that we went by is of St Anthony, who is the patron saint for the city of Lisbon.  St Antony was born in Lisbon in 1195 and was a Catholic priest in Portugal. He died in Padua, Italy in 1231 and is buried there today.  It is said that St Anthony helps people find lost items.

This is a picture of the Campo Pequeno.  It is an exhibition hall where they hold concerts and
bullfights!!!!   Fortunately, in the Portuguese bullfights, they don’t kill the bull at the end but several men hold the bull down.  I still don’t agree with this form of entertainment…I don’t care how old or how long it has been going on.  Don’t expect any pictures from me on what a bullfight is like!

On the second tour, we saw a larger portion of the city but it was mostly the newer part and honestly, the least interesting part.  We decided that we are glad we staying where we are.

By the time we finished the two tours, it was close to 6:45 PM.  We walked around Rossio Square trying to decide what to do for dinner.  We had decided on making it at the apartment and was heading to the grocery store when we got sidetracked and started up over the stairway, Calcada do Duque, toward Barrio Alto. It was the stairway that I had discovered while exploring Barrio Alto the other day that had several restaurants with tables set-up on the various levels of the stairs.

In the tourist areas, each restaurant has a person whose specific purpose is to lure the people in to eat at their establishment.  I don’t know if they work on commission or what but they can be rather persistent. David and I looked over the menu and saw that they offered grilled sardines, one of the specialty dishes of Lisbon.  We had been wanting to try it so decided to eat there.  We didn’t eat at the restaurant in this picture that I had clicked days earlier, but we did have this great view of St George’s Castle while we ate.

The sardines were delicious…a much better meal that the night before.

We washed it down with a glass of Vinho Verde (Green Wine) which I had read about in my guide book.  It is a dry white wine that has a light sparkle to it.  It was OK but not something that neither of us would want a steady diet of.

After our meal, we walked up to the Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara (San Pedro Belvedere).  This is the lookout that I discovered the other day while I was exploring Barrio Alto on my own.  It is at the top of the long staircase where we ate our dinner.  I really wanted David to see it, so we walked up. Plus, it was good exercise after eating and drinking!

At the park, I saw the bust of Eduardo Coelho who was a19th century journalist from Lisbon and founded the first daily newspaper.  In front of his statue, is a statue of a barefooted delivery boy.

A short walk from this park, is the Sao Roque Square that houses the most costly chapel ever constructed in Portugal.  We have yet to see it, so I won’t go into great detail until I do see it.  Outside in the square is a cute bronze statue of a lottery salesman.  He is holding a ticket and when the locals purchase a ticket from one of the two nearby lottery kiosk, they rub the ticket that the statue is holding for good luck.

From this area, we continued down the street, walking down the hill past the Trinadad Theater, until we came to Rua Garrett where the Cafe a Brasileira, the 100 year old art nouveau cafe where the literary and creative artist of Lisbon used to hang out in the 1920s and 1930s, is located.  We popped in so that David could see it.

Then, we continued on Rua Garrett, turned right onto Rua do Carmo, another major shopping street and made our way back to Rossio Square and home to our apartment on the other side of the Square.

It was a nice, full day!  Would I recommend a “hop on/hop off” tour?  Yes and no. If you are short on time, yes.  If you have the time to spend reading a guide book or do your own walking tour offered in a book, then no, I wouldn’t recommend a bus tour.  However, I do find that it is a good way to get orientated to the city.  If you do take one, I would recommend that you do the complete tour riding the bus and then on the second loop of the tour, get off at a place that looks interesting to you and you wish to explore more.  All the best and happy travels!

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