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Rossio Square

One of Lisbon's main squares since the Middle Ages, Rossio was destroyed and reconstructed after the great 1755 earthquake.

TravelCurious Tip

Rossio Square hosts A Ginjinha, where you can try Lisbon’s famous cherry liquor. There are not many such establishments left, so be sure to visit!

Lined with cafés and shops, Rossio Square is always buzzing. Shoe shiners, office workers and hawkers all contribute to the churn and excitement of Lisbon’s liveliest public area, which has seen witch burnings, bullfights, rallies, and everything in between over the years. Let yourself be carried along by the crowd and the famous black and white wavelike cobbles — which you may recognise from Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana.


Emperor and Liberator

The connection between Portugal and Brazil is celebrated with a statue of Dom Pedro IV, Brazil’s first Emperor, atop a towering marble pedestal in the middle of the square. Though born in Lisbon, when Portugal was invaded by the French in 1807 Pedro and his family fled to their largest and wealthiest colony, Brazil.


Relations between Brazil and Portugal were fraught at the time, and in 1822 Pedro chose his side and declared Brazil’s independence — hence his nickname, “the liberator”. Though he died young, he helped both countries make the first steps from absolutist to more representative forms of government.


A Small Irony

Rossio Square seems energetic now, but it’s nothing compared to how it once was. When the Inquisition was installed in Lisbon in the 15th century, Rossio Square was a favourite spot for an auto-da-fé - the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics before they were gruesomely killed, often by being burnt at the stake.


After a fire of its own in 1836, the old Inquisition Palace was destroyed. The government chose to replace it with a majestic neoclassical theatre, the the Teatro Nacional Dona Mario II. A statue of the Renaissance Portuguese playwright Gil Vicente stands over the pediment of the theatre; a number of his plays had been censured by the Inquisition in the 16th century.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Lisbon
Lisbon Old Town
Lisbon's old town rivals the charm and beauty of its European counterparts, with an added pinch of mystery.
Lisbon Cathedral (Sé de Lisboa)
This impressive Roman Catholic cathedral dates from 1147 and has survived a number of earthquakes.
Alfama
Lisbon's labyrinthine oldest district houses a variety of historical churches, fado bars and restaurants.
Baixa Pombalina
A particularly elegant district of Lisbon, the Lower Town was among the world's first earthquake-resistant constructions.
Santa Justa Lift
This urban elevator from 1902 connects the lower street of Baixa with Carmo Square.
Igreja do Carmo
The final traces of the medieval Carmo Convent, which was almost entirely destroyed after the 1755 earthquake.

Related Tours

Private Lisbon Full Day Highlights Walking Tour inc skip the line tickets
Explore Portugal’s capital on this full-day Lisbon walking tour, which showcases everything from cathedrals to castles, praças to palaces and monasteries to UNESCO monuments.
 
  • Take in the panoramic views of Lisbon from the Moorish St George’s Castle.
  • Visit key religious sites including the Sé de Lisboa cathedral and the earthquake-ravaged ruins of Carmo Convent.
  • Soak up the atmosphere in the thriving downtown Baixa district and in Lisbon’s most iconic praças: Rossio and Comércio.
  • Learn about Lisbon in the Middle Ages as you wander the steep gothic streets of the Alfama neighbourhood.
  • Explore the bohemian Bairro Alto, Lisbon’s entertainment district with its bars and Fado music.
  • Stop for a traditional Portuguese lunch (not included in price).
  • Head to historic Belém to see its 17th century palace, UNESCO-listed tower and Jerónimos Monastery.
  • Discover cultural treasures at The National Coach Music and Cultural Centre of Belém.
On this comprehensive, eight-hour walking tour, you’ll explore Lisbon’s most important cultural and historic sites with an expert local guide. Discover everything from Lisbon’s roots as one of Europe’s most important seaports and magnet for world explorers during the Age of Discovery, to how its progressive city grid plan was developed after the horrific earthquake of 1755. Visit religious monuments, trendy cobblestone districts, historic Belem and so much more.  
 
The origins of Lisbon
 
You’ll begin delving into Lisbon’s history, which dates back to 1200 BC, by visiting key landmarks like the 1st century Roman Theatre of Lisboa and 12th century gothic cathedral, Sé de Lisboa, which has withstood the city’s cataclysmic earthquakes. From the Moorish St George’s Castle, you can admire sweeping views over Lisbon and the Tagus River and walk its impressive stone walls, which date back to the 6th century.
 
Travel back to the Middle Ages in the cobblestone streets of the Alfama neighbourhood, where vibrant yellow trams chug up the steep, narrow roads. Once a poor area located outside of Lisbon’s city walls, Alfama is now one of Lisbon’s trendiest districts and you’ll get to explore its colourful shops, buildings and bars whilst learning about the area’s Jewish and Moorish culture.
 
Back in downtown Baixa, you’ll hear about the magnitude nine earthquake which levelled much of Portugal’s capital and killed thousands in 1755. Rossio Square and Commerce Square are the perfect places to appreciate the revolutionary grid-like city plan and earthquake-resistant buildings that were implemented by the Marquis of Pombal after the disaster. The remains of  Convento do Carmo, with its roofless nave, are a reminder of the damage caused by one of the strongest quakes ever recorded.
 
Belém and Lisbon’s Age of Discovery
 
You’ll get the chance to visit Bairro Alto, a bohemian quarter known for its street art, bars and traditional Fado houses before heading to the beautiful Belém municipality. This area is famous for the 17th century Belém Palace, which was home to the Portuguese Monarchy for centuries. Both the Torre de Belém, a 16th-century fortification tower, and grand Jeronimos Monastery are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which you’ll get to admire.
 
Stop by the Discoveries Monument, which celebrates Portugal’s role in the Age of Discovery during the 15th and 16th centuries, then take some time to peruse the world’s largest collection of horse-drawn carriages at the National Coach Museum. Round off the tour with a visit to the Cultural Centre of Belém, the largest museum in Portugal which showcases the country’s cultural and technological achievements. 

Looking for an in-depth tour of Lisbon? Then this full-day highlights tour fits the bill, offering an overview of the city’s most famous sights and historical moments. 
The Best of Lisbon Live Virtual Tour
Discover Lisbon's fascinating history on this Live Virtual Tour with a professional tour guide that will explain the city's ancient origins right up to the present day.

ITINERARY

Your virtual tour will start at the top of the Santa Justa elevator where you can enjoy panoramic views from Lisbon’s ornate iron lift.

You will then walk with your guide to Carmo square where you will explore the open-air ruins of Carmo Convent, a reminder of Lisbon’s devastating 1755 earthquake.

The next stop will be Rossio train station in Rossio cobblestone Square where you will also find Santo Domingo's church and the Jewish Memorial to the victims of the Jewish Massacre of 1506 that happened in this square.

Your tour will end at Rua Augusta, the main pedestrian street of the city.

If you’re looking for a quickinformative introduction to Portugal’s multi-cultural capital, then this express tour is the perfect option!


PREPARATION FOR YOUR TOUR

  • This experience will be broadcasted live from the streets, no Powerpoint presentations are involved.
  • The Live Virtual Tour will be on the platform Zoom, and you will receive a link in your email to gain access.
  • The recording of the tour will be available for all participants to keep for the future.
  • It's designed as an entirely private experience for you and your group and each person can be connected from one device.
  • If you want a customised tour, please send us an email to reservations@travelcurious.com
  • Date and Time may be affected by weather conditions to guarantee the best experience.
Discovering Alfama District Live Virtual Tour
Discover Lisbon's fascinating history on this Live Virtual Tour with a professional tour guide that will explain the city's ancient origins right up to the present day.

ITINERARY

Your virtual tour will start at Portas do Sol Viewpoint from where you will continue to explore the Alfama district all the way to the river.

The Alfama district was once a poor area set outside the city walls but it has now become a popular arty district with labyrinthine streets. 

You will virtually wander the steep alleyways where yellow trams wind up to St George’s Castle, past ancient houses, Fado bars and colourful shopfronts. 

The district is home to Sé de Lisboa, the 1147 Romanesque cathedral that has miraculously withstood the city’s many quakes.

If you’re looking for a quickinformative introduction to Portugal’s multi-cultural capital, then this express tour is the perfect option!


PREPARATION FOR YOUR TOUR

  • This experience will be broadcasted live from the streets, no Powerpoint presentations are involved.
  • The Live Virtual Tour will be on the platform Zoom, and you will receive a link in your email to gain access.
  • The recording of the tour will be available for all participants to keep for the future.
  • It's designed as an entirely private experience for you and your group and each person can be connected from one device.
  • If you want a customised tour, please send us an email to reservations@travelcurious.com
  • Date and Time may be affected by weather conditions to guarantee the best experience.
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