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Barrio Alto is a wonderful district on the hillside with multiple personalities making it worthy of several visits: during the day it is a local working-class place with inexpensive small restaurants, and many fine shops ranging from funky to elegant; but late at night it becomes the entertainment center of Lisbon.

Lisbon is one of the great overlooked capitals of Europe -- slightly off-center without the fanfare of London or Paris, which makes it a wonderful place to visit. Prices are good and the sights are excellent. This city has atmosphere and character of Old Europe. This introduction shows you many of the highlights.

Cape Verde music in Lisbon Exciting street musicians from Cape Verde perform in the Alfama district of Lisbon, Portugal. Cape Verde is an island nation 350 miles west of Africa, way out in the Atlantic Ocean, and has a thriving music tradition influenced by jazz, rock, pop, tribal and folk, as heard in this performance, featuring a passionate singer enhanced by scenes of the Alfama, Lisbon's old barrio.

Jeronimos Monastery While in Lisbon take a short trip to enjoy the Jeronimos Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This monumental church and monastery were built in 1502 by King Manuel in the late Gothic style with a unique twist called Manueline. It features elaborate carvings that reflect Portugal’s maritime discoveries, including fish, ropes, sails, tropical fruits, sea plants and other nautical details.

Along the Lisbon waterfront are the two most famous monuments in Belem which stand as symbols of Portugal’s 16th century naval voyages: The Tower of Belem and the Monument to the Discoveries. Consider their maritime discoveries 500 years ago: Vasco da Gama was the first to sail around Africa and discover the ocean route to Asia, that made Portugal rich.

Alfama walking tour in the old section is one of your great experiences in coming to Lisbon so don't miss this opportunity. A great time to come is late in the afternoon, early evening when folks are out socializing, visiting, shopping. And it's generally a pedestrian zone – most of these lanes as you can see are quite narrow and cobbled and just ideal for strolling.

Three excellent hotels offering a big contrast: the famous Avenida Palace downtown next to Rossio Square, nearby 5-star deluxe Tivoli Lisboa, and the small boutique hotel, Solar dos Mouros in the ancient Alfama neighborhood near the top of the hill. You might consider a few nights in each place to provide easy access to various parts of this great city.

St George's Castle sits at the top of the hill of the Alfama. It's a ruin, but the walls, the entrances, the gates, the staircases are all spectacular and the view is astonishing. It really makes it worth your while to come up and visit the castle. At the top of the hill of the Alfama is the Castle of St. George, which is another outstanding attraction.