Length 6.9 km (4.3 miles), terrain has one gentle hill climb
Lisbon Running Routes:
Best Lisbon Running Routes: Overview
Park of Nations (Oriente) Ancient Alfama
Elegant Lisbon Downtown
Belem World Cultural Site
Cool Bairro Alto
For more running routes, see the Route List
Over the years, I've come to Lisbon a half-dozen times, and each time I immediately pointed my running shoes up the hills to the east or west of the town center. The narrow alleys and stairs in those ancient neighborhoods, the Alfama and Bairro Alto, always captivated me, and I never once just ran the downtown valley between them.
|News kiosk along Avenida da Liberdade|
There are some nice aspects to this particular run: its rise of only about 80 meters over 3.5 kilometers is very mild by Lisbon standards. And even better, this run passes through the most elegant neighborhoods of old Lisbon, full of old-world charm.
Standing there at the Tejo River, looking across the wide expanse of the Praça do Comércio, and the classical arcaded buildings lining the square, you are viewing the results of the reconstruction scheme after the devastating earthquake of 1755.
|Praça do Comércio with graduating students getting their black capes|
So, now that you've taken a look around, let's head straight through the giant archway at the north end of the square and head up Rua Augusta. This is the only pedestrian street in the Baixa, and is lined by the neighborhood's most lively shops and restaurants. Like almost this whole route, the way is paved in typical Portugese black-and-white stone mosaics in beautiful designs.
|Rua Augusta in the Baixa|
You will come out into another major square, Rossio, whose wavy mosaics recall the tsunami that hit the town after the earthquake. Up the hill to the left, you can see the ruins of Carmo, a church that was never rebuilt after the quake.
Just past the square, the Avenida da Liberdade begins, the most elegant boulevard I've ever seen. It has 8 rows of trees and lush tropical gardens lining each side, with ponds, statues, cafés, kiosks and monuments adding just the right accents.
|Mosaic, typical Lisbon sidewalk|
You can just continue on up the central promenade towards the twin white columns marking the top of the park at the north, or follow my route along the right (east) side, up and over the wooded hill. This way has all the climbing right at the beginning, then flattens out past the gardens and café at the top.
|Parque Eduardo VII, view from the top|
Now just continue running parallel to the way you came, back along the west side of the park, where you go by one of Lisbon's several botanical gardens.
|In the botanical garden|
|Crossing Pombal on the return trip|