Trams are a classic means of transportation widely used in Lisbon.
Figueira Square.
Coat of arms of the former Overseas National Bank, now the MUDE Museum.
Sunset in Lisbon; on the background, the April 25th Bridge.
Santa Justa old elevator.
Doña María II National Theater.
Factory and store of the famous Belem pastries.
Modern Lisbon in the Park of the Nations.
The HQ building of the Champalimaud Foundation, a center for medical research and services, grabs visitors’ attention for its modern architecture.

I suggest you to spend a weekend in Lisbon. To get cracking with our adventure, we’ll stay at the Inspira Santa Maria, a four-star hotel nestled in Rua de Santa Marta 48, right in the heart of the city. The lodging is self-sustained and the Feng Shui-based décor of its guestrooms, plus other initiatives, make this place a small ecological oasis within the burg.

The hotel is next to Via Liberade, one of Lisbon’s main streets stretching from Plaza del Marques de Pombal –the man who rebuilt the city following the devastating 1755 earthquake- all the way to Plaza Restauradores, on to Don Pedro IV, known Paza del Rossio. Between these two squares, we can feast eyes on the Rossio Station, and the Doña Maria II National Theater right across the street. Rossio is no doubt Lisbon’s hub, where both locals and visitors, and where we can hop on the mystic 28, a classic tram that has starred in quite a number of ­movies and is always jam-packed with tourists, especially if we get on near Chiado or Rossio on its way to Alfama.

On with our stroll, the Plaza del Rossio leads to Via Augusta, an eye-popping boulevard that ends in the breathtaking Arch of Triumph and Commerce Trade Square. As we walk down the street, we can make out the Santa Justa elevator on our right, a metal tower that used to hook up Baixa and Barrio Alto in the past, yet today it’s just a tourist attraction. Before getting to the Arch of Triumph, the former Overseas Bank –today MUDE, acronym of Museum of Fashion and Design– stands tall on our left. Once we get to Commerce Square, the river will strike our attention. Those miles of in-between banks –you can’t tell whether it’s still the river or just the ocean– give us a wonderful feeling of freedom and fresh air.

Down the classic Lisbon,  we walk up Via Augusta and take an elevated tram to Barrio Alto, one of the oldest and highest neighborhoods in town, across from Alfama –a former fishermen village. This area has become of the hotspots of Lisbon’s nightlife, featuring countless bars, restaurants and casa de Fado. You can take Ruta Misericordia to get to Barrio Alto, and good suggestion for a great meal is the Restaurant Largo, located on Rua Serpa Pinto 10, in Chiado –known as Lisbon’s Montmartre for its fanciness and bohemian atmosphere.

On day two of our ride, we’ll go down the river to the Belem Barrio, where the fresh watercourse flows into the ocean. There are two must-see monuments on our way: the Monastery of Jeronimos and the Belem Tower. Others along the way are the Monument to the Discoverers, the 25 of April Bridge and the National Automobile Museum. As we walk on down the riverbank toward the ocean, we’ll happen on the Champalimaud Foundation, a building that catches the eye for its architecture.

Late in the afternoon, we’ll turn to the other Lisbon, the one that emerges from steel and glass structures, making visitors gasp at their modernity. One starting point is the Plaza de Rossio, where we can take the subway’s Green Line to Alameda, and then hop on the Red Line to get to Oriente, or maybe catch bus 728 for the same purpose. This is by and large one of today’s most expensive and exclusive zones of Lisbon, home to major companies and fancy apartments. The Park of the Nations has left the buildings constructed there for the 1998 Expo, currently harboring several cultural institutions. A good case in point is the Lisbon Oceanquarium –the second-largest in Europe– the Vasco de Gama Tower with its excellent viewpoint, and the Vasco de Gama Bridge of nearly 12 miles long, by far the longest in the Old World. Other must-sees are the cruise liner-shaped shopping mall and the Oriente Station, designed by Spanish architect

D. Santiago Calatrava. As the night closes in, it’s time to visit the Lisbon Casino where, in addition to giving your good fortune a try, we can dine at the MOMO Restaurant and revel in the Asian cuisine at its best, featuring an array of dishes from China, Vietnam, Japan, India and Thailand, among other countries.

Lisbon is always a perfect escapade plan for a few days, and it shows many faces. Just 20 minutes from the city, there are quasi-untapped beaches of thin-powder golden sands and lots of places for the practice of ecotourism, such as Cascais and Estoril, or zones for relaxation like Troia.