Located in the heart of Lisbon - the hilly yet coastal capital city of Portugal - is Baixa, a downtown district boasting a wide range of beautiful buildings and historic landmarks. Full of history and culture, Baixa is also home to an array of high-end shops and fashion boutiques. It provides visitors with a real mix of things to do, so you’re sure to find plenty of sights, activities and amenities to keep yourself occupied. If you’re wondering what to do in Baixa, you’ve come to the right place.
The History of Baixa
Situated in southern Europe, Portugal is a country that has experienced plenty of history. On the 11th November 1755, one of the world’s strongest recorded earthquakes, a huge tsunami and ruinous fires caused devastation to the Baixa region. Following this natural catastrophe, the king and the prime minister began efforts to rebuild the city and make it great again.
One month after the ruined district became a victim, Manuel da Maia presented his plans for the reconstruction of Lisbon. Less than a year later, all debris was cleared and work began. Big squares, rectilinear, large avenues and widened streets now stand where tragedy once hit.
Baixa Attractions You Must See
Whether you live in Baixa or you are simply visiting for a period of time, there are some places you should add to list of things to do. Whether you love the city life or have an interest in architecture, the Baixa neighbourhood is the perfect place for everyone.
To find out more about living in Baixa and the properties available, take a look at our area guide > here.
The Yellow Buildings of Praça do Comércio
Lisbon architecture is a thing of beauty, and the Yellow Buildings of Praça do Comércio are no different. Tourists and photographers are attracted to the plaza square, which is one of the largest in the city. Found in the heart of the capital city and close to the river Tagus, three impressive yellow buildings surround the square itself.
The area was once where the royal palace was found, but this was sadly destroyed following the Great Lisbon Earthquake. In its wake, the square was built and now holds government buildings, the tourism office, Lisbon night clubs, restaurants, wineries and much more.
Known as one of the most popular squares in Lisbon, Rossio Square is the ideal spot for people who want to sit and relax or for those who want to stop off at one of the many cafes. There are two baroque fountains located on either side, with a monument measuring 27 meters high sat in the middle.
On one corner of the square is where you’ll find the Jewish Memorial, which is dedicated to those who lost their lives during the 1506 Jewish Massacre that happened right on the square. It’s situated just in front of the São Domingos Church, which is a landmark in itself.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink located throughout the square, but Cafe Nicola is one of the most popular. Why not sit on the terrace and enjoy a coffee and a light bite while being in awe of the view on offer. Established in the 18th century, this is one of the oldest cafes in the city.
Rua Augusta has been a highly pedestrianised area since the 1980s. It’s home to an array of fashion retailers, restaurants and cafes and you can be entertained by one of the many performers that line the streets while visiting here. You can reach the street from beneath the Rua Augusta Arch and clocktower.
As well as the triumphal arch, why not take a moment to take in and enjoy the Pombaline-style architecture? The MUDE Museum is also located here.
The Santa Justa Lift
Travel from the Baixa district to the Largo do Carmo and the ruins of the Carmo church on the Elevador de Santa Justa. This architectural masterpiece is a 19th century lift that was originally built to help the locals navigate Lisbon’s hilly streets.
Adorned with neo-gothic arches and geometric patterns, this vertically designed lift was built in 1902. During this time, wrought-iron was a popular material for both construction and art. It’s an impressive 45m (148 feet) high, where you can take in the views of the city from the viewpoint at the top.
Visit the World's Oldest Bookshop
Even if you’re not a bookworm, a trip to the world's oldest bookshop is a must. Livraria Bertrand lies right in the heart of downtown Lisbon and has been open since 1732. Despite closing for a short while after the 1755 earthquake, it’s been a popular place to visit since it opened its doors.
To make it easier to navigate, it has been split into several sections. There is an area with Portuguese and English books for sale, with friendly and professional staff on hand to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
If Baixa is a place you’d love to call home, check out some of the best properties available in the area: > Best properties for Sale in Baixa
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