I stumbled across the Lisbon Walker website by chance one afternoon not long before my trip. I suddenly realised it would be an excellent way of gathering more information about Lisbon and also to meet some people whilst I was there. Whilst I can be quite happy in my own company, it is of course always nice to meet others and I figured this would be a great way to do it.
Lisbon Walker offers a variety of walks every day of the year apart from Christmas and New Years day. There is no need to book, just simply turn up at the appointed time at the meeting place. As I have spent a lot of time studying magical and mystical subjects the “Legends and Mysteries” walk immediately caught my eye. Unfortunately for me though, this walk is on Thursdays and I would arrive too late to meet. My next choice was The “Lisbon Revelation” walk which looked very interesting too. It also seemed to be the most popular walk as they run this four times a week. My decision made, on Friday morning I made my way down to the meeting point.
The meeting point is on Praça Comércio. Just turn left as soon as you arrive at the square (from the archway) and make your way to the corner where Café Martihno da Arcada is. Cross over the side street and wait on that corner. It’s right opposite where the tour trams are. Of course if you are early enough, you can fortify yourself with a coffee and pastel de nata at Café Martinho – highly recommended.
The Lisbon Walker representative arrives about ten minutes before the appointed time and can be spotted by their orange top and Lisbon Walker leaflets and badge. I was met by the friendly José who sorted out the small group of people who had gathered on the corner into their respective walks. Our party consisted of a French couple, a Canadian couple and an American as well as myself. It was nice that the group was small as it left us plenty of space to be able to ask questions.
Once everyone was sorted out and payment taken (the cost is €15 – current price 2012) our guide Rita Prata arrived to begin our journey.
The full iternary for the walk is on the Lisbon Walker website so I’ll give you a brief overview. We walked through the various main districts of Lisbon (Baixa, Bairro Alto, Chiado, Rossio, Alfama) and visited viewpoints (Miradouros) such as Graça and Portas do Sol. Portas do Sol was a place I had visited before and is one of my favourite haunts. We were taken to the Carmo Ruins, a variety of churches and important buildings such as Rossio train station and the Theatre on Figueria Square and were given free rides on the Number 28 Tram and the Santa Justa Elevator.
Throughout the walk, Rita talked us through the history of the place and pointed out important features or showed us images of how the area once used to look. We were given snippets of stories and tales of famous figures. The walk was absolutely fascinating. Rita was a fantastic guide: happy to answer questions, completely at ease with strangers and making her talk both informative and fun. At the end of the walk, we were given a sheet on recommended places to visit and time to ask further questions.
Even after 3 hours of walking, wandering, listening and looking I was sad for it to end! This walk gives such a wonderful overview of the city and I felt truly immersed in it’s history and culture.
I would absolutely recommend anyone visiting Lisbon to meet up with Lisbon Walkers. There are walks to suit everyone and special interest walks too. Private walks can be specially arranged. Rita recommended the “Lisbon of Spices and Slaves” walk as a personal favourite and from reading the information about it, I think it would be a fascinating day out. I would quite happily attend each walk they run as I learned so much. I was furiously taking notes all the way through as there was so much that I want to share here at In Love With Lisbon. I have already decided that I shall be joining them again on my next visit.
Lisbon Walkers is run by people who are obviously dedicated and knowledgeable guides who have a great love of their city as well as a natural flair for communication. Through their guidance they invoke a passion for the beautiful city. Please take a look at their website if you are planning a holiday. My Lisbon Walk was the highlight of my trip.
Lisbon Walker Website (in English or Portuguese)
Talks are in English (Portuguese guided walks are on Sundays)
Wear good walking shoes!