Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
Wrought for the glory of God, Jerónimos was once populated by monks of the Order of St Jerome, whose spiritual job for four centuries was to comfort sailors and pray for the king’s soul. When the order was dissolved in 1833, the monastery was used as a school and orphanage until about 1940.
Castelo de São Jorge
Towering dramatically above Lisbon, the mid-11th-century hilltop fortifications of Castelo de São Jorge sneak into almost every snapshot. Roam its snaking ramparts and pine-shaded courtyards for superlative views over the city’s red rooftops to the river. Three guided tours daily (Portuguese, English and Spanish) at 1pm and 5pm are included in the admission price.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
Set in a lemon-fronted, 17th-century palace, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is Lapa’s biggest draw. It presents a star-studded collection of European and Asian paintings and decorative arts.
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian
Famous for its outstanding quality and breadth, the world-class Museu Calouste Gulbenkian showcases an epic collection of Western and Eastern art – from Egyptian treasures to Old Master and Impressionist paintings.
Basílica da Estrela
The curvaceous, sugar-white dome and twin belfries of Basílica da Estrela are visible from afar. The echoing interior is awash with pink-and-black marble, which creates a kaleidoscopic effect when you gaze up into the cupola. The neoclassical beauty was completed in 1790 by order of Dona Maria I (whose tomb is here) in gratitude for a male heir.
Igreja & Museu São Roque
The plain facade of 16th-century Jesuit Igreja de São Roque belies its dazzling interior of gold, marble and Florentine azulejos – bankrolled by Brazilian riches. Its star attraction is Capela de São João Baptista, a lavish confection of amethyst, alabaster, lapis lazuli and Carrara marble. The museum adjoining the church is packed with elaborate sacred art and holy relics.
Museu Nacional dos Coches
Cinderella wannabes delight in Portugal’s most-visited museum, which dazzles with its world-class collection of 70 17th- to 19th-century coaches in a new ultramodern (and some might say inappropriately contrasting) space that debuted in 2015. Don’t miss Pope Clement XI’s stunning ride, the scarlet-and-gold Coach of the Oceans, or the old royal riding school, Antigo Picadeiro Real, across the street.
Convento do Carmo & Museu Arqueológico
Soaring above Lisbon, the skeletal Convento do Carmo was all but devoured by the 1755 earthquake and that’s precisely what makes it so captivating. Its shattered pillars and wishbone-like arches are completely exposed to the elements. The Museu Arqueológico shelters archaeological treasures, such as 4th-century sarcophagi, griffin-covered column fragments, 16th-century azulejo (hand-painted tile) panels and two gruesome 16th-century Peruvian mummies.
Sé de Lisboa
One of Lisbon’s icons is the fortress-like Sé de Lisboa, built in 1150 on the site of a mosque soon after Christians recaptured the city from the Moors.
It was sensitively restored in the 1930s. Despite the masses outside, the rib-vaulted interior, lit by a rose window, is calm. Stroll around the cathedral to spy leering gargoyles peeking above the orange trees.
Elevador de Santa Justa
If the lanky, wrought-iron Elevador de Santa Justa seems uncannily familiar, it’s probably because the neo-Gothic marvel is the handiwork of Raul Mésnier, Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice. It’s Lisbon’s only vertical street lift, built in 1902 and steam-powered until 1907. Get there early to beat the crowds and zoom to the top for sweeping views over the city’s skyline.