If you have never been to Lisbon you may not be aware that it is known as The City of Seven Hills. Believe me, you will want to save your knees! Even if you’re not ‘over the hill’ like me, and still have flexible joints, your feet are most likely going to be killing you after a day out and about.
With this in mind I’m going to give a few tips on how to avoid the climb and do it for FREE. As I mentioned in my introduction I am a budget traveller and while Lisbon has many forms of transport (I’ll write more about those in another post) I rarely use them because obviously they all cost money and often involve queuing which I loath, and avoid like the plague.
One great route I just discovered the other day involves using the Metro but not in the way you might expect. This week I am staying in the south end of the Barrio Alto district, an old, bohemian, and very picturesque quarter dating from the 1500s. It is high up above sea level and while that makes for great views, it also means a lot of steep cobblestone hills and/or steps to navigate.
I would absolutely encourage anyone who is visiting to get out and explore the old narrow streets but there comes a time in the day when one more flight of steps or one more hill simply makes me want to weep.
So, this is what I figured out.
If you are anywhere around the area between Rossio Square (at the top of the map) and Praça do Comércio (at the bottom of the map you can WALK through the Baixa-Chiado Metro (underground/subway) and come out at Praca Luis de Camoes at the south tip of Barrio Alto.
You can see on the maps below that walking from Praça Luís de Camões to either Rossio Square or Praça do Comércio will take 11 or 12 minutes. This may not sound like much but it involves hills and/or steps whichever route you take.
So, just take a walk through the Baixa-Chiado Metro and save your knees. Going in from down town you are entering from the Rua do Crucifixo end and you will exit at the Rua da Misericórdia end. There is a flight of steps at that end but much less of a climb than if you walked the whole way.
And this is where you come out, Praça Luís de Camões. At the moment, because it is December, there are some great Christmas decorations and of course the ever present hot chestnut stand (you will find these all over the city). This particular one had a portion for €2.50 but they are often €3.00 in the centre of the city.
For me, once I come up out of the Metro it is an easy 4 minute walk to where I am staying and involves downhill walking rather than up hill.
Well, after doing this blog post earlier today I went out and made a video for you. I’m trying to learn how to do all this stuff at the minute and it may not be perfect but if I wait until everything is perfect I’ll never do it.