The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Baixa & Rossio, Lisbon

View of Baixa | © islandjoe/Flickr
View of Baixa | © islandjoe/Flickr
Photo of Nina Santos
3 December 2017

The heart of Lisbon is arguably Baixa—the downtown district characterized by grand buildings, historical landmarks and the unique 18th century Pombaline architecture memorializing the city’s reconstruction after the devastating Earthquake of 1755. With Rossio located right next door, these two neighborhoods make up Lisbon’s lower city (baixa translates to ‘low’ in English) where you’ll find the following top 10 landmarks to see and things to do.

Take photos in Praça do Comércio

When Google searching Lisbon, one of the first images to pop up will be the city’s largest and brightest square that faces the Tagus River. Known as the Praça do Comércio or Terreiro do Paço, this is one of the first places tourists see when visiting Lisbon. It’s where many of the city’s concerts are held and where locals walk through while enjoying a stroll along the river. Sit and sip a cocktail, enjoy a meal at one of the surrounding restaurants, visit the Lisbon Story Center or Beer Museum or take photos by the statue of King Joseph I.

View of the Rua Augusta Arch over Praça do Comércio | © ManuelVeiga/Pixabay

Walk through Rua Augusta

Enter this major road from beneath the Rua Augusta Arch and clocktower (perhaps after climbing to the top of the monument). Although locals recommend skipping over the restaurants here (they’re designed for tourists after all), this is a good place to see street performers, enjoy more Pombaline architecture and catch a few major landmarks like the MUDE Museum. Extending one kilometre (a little over half a mile) from Praça do Comércio to the Rossio Square (Praça Dom Pedro IV), this is an emblematic road characteristic of an older Lisbon.

Explore ancient ruins

Baixa is also home to a couple of ‘underground’ treasures, namely the Núcleo Arqueológico (Archaeological Center) and the ancient Roman tunnels, both just a block away from each other and a couple of blocks from MUDE. Both are believed to date back to the 1st century AD and while the Núcleo Arqueológico can be visited year-round (to see the artifacts on display from many different periods over time), the Roman tunnels can only be entered during special weekends in the year, so plan accordingly.

Look up at the Santa Justa Lift

Another architectural masterpiece is the Santa Justa Lift, a historic elevator originally designed to help locals navigate Lisbon’s hilly streets. This is the only one designed completely vertically and it takes passengers from Baixa to the Carmo Square above. Built in 1902, this wrought-iron lift reaches 45 metres (148 feet) high, is topped with a beautiful viewpoint and can be ridden for the small fee of €6.55 ($1.20 USD).

Santa Justa Elevator | © Profotos-de Pixabay

Visit the world's oldest bookstore

Map View
The Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon
The Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon | © Christoph Diewald/Flickr
Another fact that’s usually missed is that Lisbon is home to the oldest bookstore in continuous operation. Located on Rua Garrett, Bertrand Bookshop was first built in 1732 but was reconstructed along with the rest of Lisbon after the Great Earthquake. Not only are Portuguese classics sold here but trending titles, magazines and a collection of English-language literature is available as well.

Gaze up at the Carmo Convent ruins

The Convento do Carmo was first built in the late 14th century as a Roman Catholic cathedral and convent but is now a museum and a standing memory of the devastation that happened as a result of the Great Earthquake in 1755. The gothic archways that once held up the roof are now open to the sky and inside is a collection of statues, mosaics and ancient artifacts.

Convento do Carmo, Largo do Carmo, Lisbon, Portugal

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"