Those who arrive in Lisbon by plane, flying low over the city across the banks of the Tagus, soon fall in love. The light, drawing shadows on the buildings built over seven hills, looks like it's straight out of a film. That's why there were so many poets who wrote about the city, such as Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, who said: "Here and there in Lisbon - when are we going?/In a hurry or distracted by the streets/Turning the corner we suddenly see/The iridescent Tagus:/" Then they become/Take our body and our winged soul" (in "Musa"). And there are so many perspectives in which the city is unveiled of its mysteries when viewed from above, from afar, from sideways.
Lisbon by Beetle
The drivers sport a bow and beret and the automobile fleet is made up of the classic Beetles, which, since production began in 1945 have become cult models throughout the world to this day. Passions cannot be explained and the cars, as we all know, steal the hearts of many. So very often it is the perspective you take that makes places, company or an experience unforgettable. In true vintage style, with open top and your hair blowing in the wind, the four-hour trip follows the city's main attractions aboard the legendary Beetles and includes anecdotes of the city.
Tel: +351 210 965 030
From the largest river in the Iberian Peninsula, the ships and caravels set sail to conquer the world, drawing maps and adding distant lands and new seas. They loosen their ropes and set sail to the taste of the wind. It's another view of the Tagus, this time with splashes. The monuments are scattered along the banks, allowing you to see the graciousness of this Lisbon, Lisboa Menina e Moça (words from a song about Lisbon), Maybe you can see the same Tágides that Camões evokes in search of inspiration for singing the feats of the Portuguese people, in Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads). Whether for a solo trip for a baptism with honours at the helm, or in a group, watch out for the sunset and if the sky starts to turn red, it signals good weather for the next day.
Doca de Santo Amaro, Armazém 17
Tel: +351 213 021 588
City of Spies
Do away with the gabardine and the hat to remain discreet. Be carefree on this walk in which the walls have ears and you have to be attentive to the signs. During World War II, Portugal wanted to remain neutral in the conflict and not bring harm to the world, but the spies made Lisbon their battlefield. They had their usual places to sniff out information - its bars and hotels were the busiest. Follow in the footsteps of these infiltrators, like that of the double spy Garbo/Arabel, follow the path of Jewish gold and wolfram smuggling, hear the story of how Aristides de Sousa Mendes, in Bordeaux, challenged Salazar and saved thousands of refugees from the Holocaust to whom he granted visas to enter the country, contrary to the orders of the dictator. And did you know that the greatest spy of all, James Bond, "was born" of Ian Fleming's pen between Estoril and Lisbon? The capital can be mysterious and inspiring. Elementary, my dear.
Tel: +351 963
Is it a bus ? A boat ? A submarine ? No, it is actually the Hippotrip, a tourist bus that, at one point along the way, literally dives into the Tagus. From the asphalt to the calm waters of the Tagus, this proves to be an all-terrain experience. Children are delighted with the constant entertainment on board. Don't expect a monotonous narration of historical facts; along the 90-minute circuit, there is time to listen to the myths and legends that are part of the cultural and historical wealth of the city but recounted enthusiastically by those who know the city like the palm of their hand. The moment you change perspective and the bus heads towards the Tagus is always the most exciting moment, as if you're in a ship about to sink, to then find out, that like Lisbon's boat, the cacilheiro, the vehicle reaches a safe haven.
Doca de Santo
Amaro – Associação Naval de Lisboa
Tel: +351 211 922 030
Bikes & Company
For a long time, Lisboans envied the inhabitants of other cities in which two wheels were the main mode of transport in daily life. Of course the city's hills don't help, but now cycling has become popular. It is a great way to get around Lisbon and reach places that only allow access to vehicles or are even inaccessible. Even those who have not cycled for a long time will regain their footing on the first few rounds, because this is something we always hear that we do not forget. To get around any difficulties, these bikes are electric and easy to ride, so they don't require effort on the ascent and they are environmentally friendly. This is a vintage model, which adds a dose of romanticism to the adventure. There's a ride that combines some snacks with the guided tour and, of course, cheese, sausages or a cod cake always go down well, between a climb up to St George's castle and the straight ride to Edward VII Park. The helmet is included to ensure the safety of the riders, all that's really missing is the yellow jersey !
Tel: +351 210 965 030
In the times when telephones were all landlines and were all found inside a yellow pages directory, you would do as the famous slogan said and "Let your fingers do the walking" when finding the number you want. When you put on the blindfold to start this experience, it is not only the touch that should be used but all the senses. You'll salivate with the smell of grilled sardines, be on edge at the sound of cars approaching quickly, feel your way gingerly with one foot at a time on the staircases between becos and alleys; the Alfama district will come to life at your fingertips. It is indeed a provocation in an increasingly voracious world of images. The idea is to raise awareness of the blind universe, not in the disabling sense, but in a positive sense, in which a blind guide of the ACAPO - Associação dos Cegos e Amblíopes de Portugal (The Portuguese Association for the Blind and the Visually Impaired) invites you into his or her world of codes and references, for an hour and a half, an authentic insight into blindness.
Tel: +351 963
Bike my Side
A wartime helmet and goggles covering the whole face are required to board the Ural sidecar, a model designed by the Russians in the 1940s and still being built artisanally in the Ural Mountains in Siberia. It accelerates, but not much, as the city is asking for time. Preference is given to alternative, picturesque roads, to authentic Lisbon, where few tourists reach and even fewer cars. The guide gets behind the wheel, sharing knowledge and anecdotes with the informality of a chat among friends. Suddenly, we are on the set of an Indiana Jones film or a Tintin adventure, where so many times the heroes plotted their escape in sidecars. When the carbon dioxide emissions were calculated, it turned out that the sidecar was both a beauty and a beast, as it released an average of 1.28 tonnes of CO2 per year. But now we can breathe a sigh of relief, as these rides are zero carbon, which results in an average of six trees planted per year. Is there a greener footprint ?
Tel: +351 962 554 610
In Sao Paulo, helicopter travel is common, but here it is a luxury. Even so, it is accessible for 15-minute tours that go in search of "Imperial Lisbon". Fasten your belts to admire everything from above; the following trip allows a panoramic view of the riverside front, from Belém, where the monuments celebrate the feats of the great navigators who gave new worlds to the world – the Monument of the Discoveries, the Tower of Belém – , crossing the river to view Christ the King and over the 25 April Bridge. Then, fly over the Baixa Pombalina and the Praça do Comércio. On the way back, the views are more modern, with the Belém Cultural Centre, the Champalimaud Foundation and the MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology. A good dose of adrenaline is added to the flight. Lisbon defies the audacious.
de Algés, Torre VTS
Tel: +351 213 011 794
Hills Tramcar Tour
Riding the tram in the hustle and bustle of the city requires patience, and there are few times when the journey runs smoothly without any delays due to poorly parked vehicles. But Lisbon has yet another charm seen from this point of view, bumping along the rails in a historic model of the city's most characteristic transport. Its red colour speaks loudly of its elegance. The trip gives a glimpse into the local neighbourhood side of the city, where clothes hang drying in the wind and women chat at their windows as if singing. Imagine the fish and newspaper sellers of olden times. Passing through the neighbourhoods of Alfama, Castelo, Bairro Alto and Mouraria is a joy. It heads up to Lapa, with other scrolls. Get off at Estrela. There's time for all fados between the stops and starts.
Tel: +351 707 201
Galeria do Loreto
It is another city that hides in the subterranean galleries of Loreto, one of the five that make up the system of the hydraulic complex of the Águas Livres Aqueduct, which supplied 30 fountains and resisted the earthquake of 1755. They are waterways, which are concealed by the houses, the gardens and the roads. The visits are on certain days and booking is essential, with two optional routes: between the Casa do Registo and São Pedro de Alcântara, with entrance through the Mãe d'Água Reservoir of Amoreiras, or from the Patriarcal and São Pedro de Alcântara Reservoir, with an entry through the Jardim do Príncipe Real. Lisbon cannot be seen from its narrow, cold and humid walkways, but you can see what is not visible in everyday life, it is the art and the ingenuity that made water reach and supply a city in a time when there were more men than machines. And when you return to the surface, you'll see everything with fresh eyes, in another light.
Tel: +351 218 100 215