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The Baixa District of Lisbon - A Tourist Guide
The Baixa district is the heart of Lisbon and was completely rebuilt after the devastating 1755 earthquake. The district comprises of magnificent plazas, which are connected by straight avenues lined with grand 18th-century architecture. This is the district of Lisbon where tourists will spend the majority of their time; there are many good hotels, the streets are lined with cafes and buzzing nightlife is within walking distance. Baixa has many of Lisbon’s most important tourist attractions (for a list see later in this guide) and the area is a great place to be based in.
The Elevador Santa Justa and the ruins of Carmo church
The Baixa district of Lisbon is considered as the central, downtown area Lisbon. The district stretches from the banks of the River Tagus up to the Avenida da Liberdade and is positioned between the two hills of the Alfama and Chiado districts. This guide will detail the main tourist sights and activities of the Baixa district and explain a little about the history of the area.
Why is the Baixa district ideal for Tourist to be based in?
The Baixa district is at the centre of Lisbon, from the district it is easy to travel to almost every other area of the city. The train to Sintra departs from Rossio station, while the tram to Belem departs from Praça do Comércio the tram and the bus to/from the airport passes through Rossio square.
The pedestrianised Rua Augusta
From Baixa it is just a short walk east to the historic Alfama district and the social nightlife of Bairro Alto is just to the west. Baixa has an extensive range of restaurants, shops and bars – and in our opinion is the best place to be based within Lisbon.
What’s the best Sight in Baixa?
The best attraction of the Baixa district is the wonderful view from the top of the Arco da Rua Augusta. This magnificent arch connects the Rua Augusta Street with the Praça do Comércio. From the vantage point of the arch there are panoramic views across the plaza, the Tejo Estuary, the Rua Augusta and up to the castle.
The view of the castle from the Arco da Rua Augusta
What's The Best Activity of Baixa?
Drinking a small glass of the cherry liquor called Ginja from the Ginjinha bar. The small bar is loved by the Portuguese as it is the traditional home of the sweet drink. The older Portuguese generation often reminisce about Ginja as it was commonly given as a “medicinal cure” for minor children ailments and illnesses. There is no better way to break up a day of sightseeing than with a glass of Ginja and a disjointed conversation with a retired Portuguese person. For a guide to the Ginjinha bar please click here.
The Ginjinha bar in Baixa
Major Sights of the Baixa District
Praça do Comercio
The Praça do Comércio is the grandest of the plazas found in the Baixa district and was historically the gateway to the city. This impressive square was where the trade from the colonies was bought and sold, while expeditions to the far reaches of the world were financed. To read more, please click here.
The Elevador Santa Justa
The neo-classical Elevador Santa Justa is an artistic marvel of the industrial age. The lift transports visitors up one of the steepest hills in Lisbon, to the ruins of the Carmo Church, to read more please click here.
The Praça Dom Pedro IV is commonly referred to as Rossio and is the heart of Lisbon. Rossio is always a hive of activity and is a great place to watch the capital from one of the cafes that surround the square. To read more please click here.
Igreja do Carmo Church
The haunting ruins of the Igreja do Carmo are a permeant reminder to the horrendous devastation of the 1755 earthquake. Inside the Carmo Church is a small archaeological museum. To read more about the Carmo Church, Carmo Church, please click here.
Praça Dos Restauradores, Lisbon
The 1930s art deco Eden Theatre
The Praça Dos Restauradores is one of Lisbon’s most varied squares, which combines the 19th century pink Foz Palace with the Art Deco Eden Theatre and the Gloria funicular. Standing at the centre of the square is an obelisk that celebrates the 15th century independence from Spain.