The white, dome-shaped roof of the National Pantheon is visible from viewpoints around the central city, and is a dramatic feature of the Lisbon skyline. Sitting on a hill in the Alfama neighborhood, building work on the Pantheon started in the 1600s, on the site of the desecrated former church. Astonishingly, due to the death of the architect, loss of interest from royal sponsors, and financial woes, it took nearly three hundred years to complete, with reinauguration finally happening in 1966. While the best photos of the exterior are from nearby viewpoints, it’s worth going inside the building as well. The floorplan laid out in the shape of a Greek (rather than Latin) cross is a highlight.

The architecture of many old train stations in Europe is incredible, and Lisbon is definitely no exception. One of the best and easiest to get to, in the city is Rossio, right beside the large square commonly known by the same name. It’s where you catch the train to Sintra, so there’s a good chance you’ll go through it at some point during your stay. Built in the late 1800s, from the outside you’d have no idea the building was a train station. The ornate facades more resemble a theater or civic building, and somehow, even the Starbucks on ground level doesn’t detract from the building’s grand design. You’ll get great photo opportunities from the square across the street, especially if you happen to catch a break in tra¦c.

Also in Alfama, Lisbon’s cathedral (or Sé) is the oldest church in the city. The start of construction dates back to the 1100s, over the top of a former Moorish mosque. Since then, the cathedral has survived fire and several earthquakes, including the infamous quake of 1755 which caused significant damage. Most of the imposing exterior that you see today dates from a major twentieth-century reconstruction. Inside, the altars and side chapels are impressive, but it’s the stained-glass windows that are particularly noteworthy. Entry is free, although donations are always appreciated.

David Dean travels full time while writing and running his own travel technology site — TooManyAdapters.com, and travel blog — WhatsDaveDoing.com. In addition to TripSavvy, his work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and other major publications. This article was fact checked by Michelai Graham, a writer specializing in business and technology reporting. In addition to fact-checking for TripSavvy, she writes for AfroTech, HubSpot and other publications. TripSavvy.com is one of the top-10 travel information sites in the world and is part of the Dotdash Meredith publishing family. It’s written by real experts that speak the local language and have tabs on the best of everything in town, from cocktails to kids’ menus.


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