Lisbon – The banks of the Tagus River

Esse post em Português

Click here to see the map with all of the points mentioned in this post.

Market Square (Praça do Comércio)

Many Brazilians have a distorted view of Portugal, and as Brazilian, I was no different from it. In school, we are taught that Portugal explored Brazil. I’m not trying to deny what Portugal has done to Brazil when we were a Portugues colony but Portugal was doing what all ruler countries did at the time. This was the mentality of the decade. (Post about Portugal Empire and Brazil Colony here.)

AS a result of this feeling, Portugal was not on my list of countries to visit. This changed drastically when I visited Portugal for the first time to help my boyfriend to choose a college to attend in Porto. I was amazed by Portugal and all it has to offer. After living in Ireland for so long Portugal was home alway from home. Everybody share my native language – which I love, the culture is so similar to mine, and the food is yummy. Ireland is home, Brazil is home and Portugal is like home too.

After my first visit in 2013, I’ve been visiting Portugal at least once a year. I have visit cities from Braga to Algarve, I have lived in Coimbra for three months, I have been in Sintra, Aveiro, Cascais, and some other cities. So at this point I’m pretty sure you noticed I love Portugal, right?


Lisbon is such a complete city: incredible for those who like history, good for those who like to party and enjoy the nightlife, great for those who like good food and divine desserts, fantastic for those who like architecture, have an immensity of activities like concerts, performances, museums, etc. A city with efficient and functional public transport… and the icing on the cake, Lisbon is an extremely cheap city when compared to other European cities. Monthly groceries for 150 euros is not something out of reality and in Lisbon, the capital of the country.

Clear blue sky most of the time, it rarely rains in Lisbon. The summer is extremely hot, great for going to the beach. The winter is quite pleasant and the temperature is around 17 ° C – which is considered summer for many European countries.

The banks of the Tagus River – the walk guide

  • Underground station to the beginning of the walk: Terreiro do Paço – Blue Line
  • One day is enough to do these visits.

The Tagus is a river of historical importance. It was from there that many caravels departure to explore the new world – America, including the one that arrived in Brazil in 1500. In other words, this tiver changed the history of the entire world.

Departing from the Market Square (Praça do Comércio) heading to the bridge April 25th, there are many things to visit.

Market Square (Praça do Comércio)

Historical note: On November 1, 1755, Lisbon was practically destroyed by a sequence of disasters: an earthquake, a Tsunami, and many fires points. Much of what is listed on this guide was completely destroyed and rebuilt after the disasters.

The commercial square is a large courtyard, surrounded by a building on three sides forming an incomplete square,  the missing facet of the square building is the entrance of the city by the river Tagus. In the extreme opposition of the river is the Triumphal Arch of  Augusta street that is the entrance to the Baixa, which in Portuguese translation is something like the center of the city.

The Triumphal Arch

In the river, there is a platform that was used to defend the city, as you can see in the image below.

Praça do Comércio 1740. Wikipedia

Urban Beach

Walking towards the bridge April 25th, you will find an urban beach. Make no mistake, although it seems very much like the sea you’re still on the banks of the Tagus River. This beach has an inclined area to lie down making the spot a great place to lie down and relax.

lisboa042014 (87).jpg


There is a kiosk, not far from the urban beach, where you can buy a refreshments,  enjoying the scenery and if you are lucky enough enjoy some live music.

Shortcut or walking?

This is a decision point of the tour: Walk to the Jeronimos Monastery and see beautiful landscapes or get a train/bus to the Monastery. The total walk from Cais de Sodré to the Monastery is 5.5km, approximately 1h and 30m walk.

On the way to Belem

The bus/train options are:

  • Buses: 727, 28, 729, 714 and 751
  • Tran: 15
  • Train: Belém station

It is also possible to walk up to as far as you can go and call a cab or take a train. The way of the train is parallel to the Tagus.

The famous Portuguese custard tarts, Pastel de Belém, the original!


There are two names for this sweet Pastel de Belém and Pastel de Nata. There is also a reason for that and Portuguese people really respect the rules here. If you are in Belém, Portugal, the correct name is Pastel de Belém. If you are anywhere else the correct name is Pastel de Nata. The two are the same, it’s just a matter of the name.

The Pastel de Nata / Belém is the most famous Portuguese sweet around the world. It is made with a puff-like cone, very crunchy, stuffed with egg yolk, vanilla, and sugar that melts in the mouth, gratin to the oven so that it is crunchy on the top. You can or cannot sprinkle a bit of cinnamon, I highly recommend that tho.

A great place to eat this sweet is on pastelaria de Belém , it is one of the oldest places that serving this sweet.

Pastel de Belém, the history behind the sweet.

Many years later, the nuns used the whites of the eggs to iron clothes of the priests and the rest of the eggs were wasted. It was then that fortunately, they began to make sweets with the remains of the eggs. That’s why many Portugues sweets are made with egg yolks. The result was sweets like the Pastel de Belém, fios de ovos, ovos moles, Brisa de Liz…  Thanks nuns!

Jerónimos Monastery

The Jerónimos Monastery is located almost on the corner of the Belém Pastel. The Monastery, built in the 16th century, belongs to the Catholic religious order of St. Jerónimos. Visitation is allowed.

  • The individual ticket costs 10 €. Student and people over 65 have discount on the ticket.
  • Opening time: October to April 10 to 17:30 / May to September: 10 to 18:30

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures of the inside. I decided to take some time of mine to admire the place. I can guarantee that the place is incredibly beautiful and I recommend the tour. I promise to go back someday, take some pictures and update this post. 😉

Monument to the Discoveries

Close to the Jerónimo Monastery is the Monument to the Discoveries, also known as Monument to the Navigators and Monument of the Discoveries. This monument was built for the memory of the golden age of Portugal, the time of the sea exploration, which resulted in the ‘discovery’ of many lands including Brazil.

The monument is shaped like a Portuguese caravel and is populated by several important names for the history of Portugal such as Vasco da Gama, King Afonso V, Pedro Alvares Cabral among others. All aligned in the caravel and being guided by Henry, the navigator, an important persona for the era of the discoveries.

Even near the monument, on the ground, it is possible to find on the floor the design of a Wind Rose.

Another very interesting place for those who like history

See ya in the next post.

Brazilian view about Portugal – Brazil colony

I am Brazilian and many people do not even know that we were colonized by Portugal and we speak Portuguese. So before we start, I will give you a background of Brazil colony’s history. We are the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese that’s because we were ruled by Portugal.

In 1500, the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabra, trying to discover a faster route to the Indies, and discovered Brazil. Already at this point, there are many discordances since there were already people living in Brazil, who were called Indians – because they think they were in India. Thus, many people like to call this ‘the arrival of Portugal in Brazil’ and not as the discovery itself.

The soil of Brazil is extremely rich, naturally abundant and diverse and Portugal made a lot of money with Brazil. So, in 1808, the King of Portugal, D. João VI, fled from a Napolean invasion to Brazil. The escape was made during the night and the king brought with him all the Portuguese court and the riches of the country.

In 1821, due to the revolt of Porto, the king of Portugal had to return to Portugal in order not to lose his Portuguese reign. However, Brazil was ‘the apple of the eye’ of Portugal. When he left, Dom João left his son in Brazil, the then Dom Pedro IV. Pressed by rebellions proclaimed the independence of Brazil on September 7, 1822, on the banks of the Ipiranga River, in São Paulo. D. Pedro IV then became to be also called as D. Pedro I, the first emperor of Brazil.

These are facts, but the way we learn the history of Brazil colony in schools makes it seem that Portugal was a country that did everything to destroy Brazil. For that reason, Portugal was never on my list of places to visit. Interesting enough I noticed that many of my friends have this very same impression of Portugal. They consider anywhere in Europe to visit but rarely Portugal.

I remember my teacher saying: “Brazil was a colony of exploration, while countries like the United States were a settlement colony”. This is the Brazilian’s excuse for everything bad that happens in Brazil today. That we were colonized in the wrong way.

If that were true, Australia, which between 1788 and 1868 was practically the English jail, would be an absurdly insecure country. We all know that reality is quick different. Following this logic, Germany which was destroyed after the First World War (1914-1918), would never rise again. It would never have been strong enough to start World War II (1939-1945), be destroyed again, rise once more. The Germans, command the block that was created focused to prevent them from getting stronger once again. It seems that did not work very well. Or well enough to the Germans. LOL

Of course, I’ve used only countries that have managed to overcome, reinvent and succeed. Some might think  ‘but Andrea, what about India, for example?’ Well, there are a few differences between Brazil and India, more than the routes, Portugal knows that now LOL.  India was a very rich country until the arrival of the British. The result and the reflection of the English police are still there. However, India got independent of England in 1947, Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822. Before being a colony of England, India was a colony of Portugal, Holland, and France. The first being Portugal in 1498. Do you see the difference?

Another point that people love to talk about the Brazil Colony period is exploration. They play blind to the fact that at this time there was no colony based on friendship, loyalty and fraternity. Exploration was a thing of the time and it is very easy to read history and blame the past.

They also say that D. João left Brazil with Brazilian money, but remember that he did the very same with Portugal in 1808. Does it make things right for the Brazilians? NO! But Brazil is not the poor, single and lonely victims within a sea of ​​good deeds of the time.

In fact, some members of the crown were very fond of Brazil, excluding Carlota Joaquina who hated our land. There are some documents that lead the historians to believe that the crown was already considering moving to Brazil even before the Napoleonic threat.

Some Brazilians like to say they would rather have been ruled by the British. Oh well, Britain colonies were no better. The English of that time felt superior to all other races. In Ireland, the neighboring island, they treated the Irish as inferiors and killed those who speak in Gaelic Irish. In India, they were treated like animals. ‘Coincidentally’ all the countries that were dominated by England and that rebelled somehow suffered hunger and had the population considerably reduced. The Great Potato Hunger of Ireland, 1845-1849, killed 3/4 of the Irish population.  And let’s not start with the wars… So, Portugal was not good for Brazil as they could have been, but could be worse.

A good book to read about the history of Brazil and Portugal is the trilogy of Laurentino Gomes that begins with D. João fled to Brazil. A book based on facts and without pulling sides. (Books: 1808, 1822 and 1889)


Much has changed since Brazil became independent. Many say that for the worse, many say it was for the best. The point is that something noticeable happens when you go to Portugal, when a country was ruled by another you expect that the colony consumes more of the rulers… It does not happen in Portugal.

The Portuguese consume the Brazilian culture much more than the Brazilians do the Portuguese. It is very easy to find Brazilian stores in Portugal, Brazilian food, soap operas, music, art…

But what makes me think how unfair we are when we think that they played us is that the Portuguese say Brazil and Portugal are brother countries! Do not mistake, from all the Portuguese colonies Brazil is the only one that has this kind of treatment. They have a certain admiration for Brazil.

In a way, even without knowing or affirming it loud and clear as the Portuguese do, we are brothers! Maybe we have not the entire population have aknowledged it yet. Portuguese love to meet in groups for barbecue. They like to drink beer outdoor with a lot of friends after work. They like coffee. They do not pretend feelings, they say what they think. They love sweet and fatty sweets, well-served and salty foods. They are very welcoming and friendly. They love receiving at home. All this we inherited from Portugal, these things do not happen in all countries.