Posted on October 6, 2015
Tips to stay cool in Lisbon – 12 refreshing fountains and pools in Lisbon
Do you know that feeling, when you are wandering the globe?
Of course it’s summer – it’s always summer when we travel, maybe that’s the reason why we travel at all: to escape the eternal winter.
There is one thing we have to take care of when we chase the sun.
Sometimes easy to handle, sometimes not.
You know those sweaty afternoons and even sweatier nights?
Keep your eyes peeled for a refreshment in the middle of the city when there is no sea nearby.
Sometimes it’s easier than you think – the cool water just one metro stop away.
Nowhere else than in Lisbon there are so many cool spots in the city’s districts.
Cool spots?! City oases!
For me, city oases can be described as fountains, waterfalls and pools. And there are more than enough of them in Lisbon.
Follow me around and I’ll show you where to find these cool spots in and around the city.
Are you hot?
If so, grab a towel and follow me through my top list of Lisbon’s city oases.
Parque Eduardo VII
We start our trip at the metro station Marquês de Pombal which is probably the biggest roundabout in the city. In the center of the square there is a statue of Marquês de Pombal. From the pedestrian crossing you’ll already have a nice view of the labyrinth garden on the flat hill.
On top a huge Portuguese flag is swaying in the wind. We climb up the hill, enclosed by avenues on the left and right. The name of this place is Parque Eduardo VII with its labyrinth architecture spread over the hill.
Once we’ve reached the upper platform we can refresh ourselves in the first city oasis. A water basin with four pillars and a pyramidic fountain. Not only can you immerse your legs while sitting on the edge of the basin but you can also catch a great view of the Tagus river and the city’s skyline while doing so.
As I love to jump around, you’ll find me there climbing the pyramid or sitting on one of those boulders.
Just a little further away from Parque Eduardo VII we continue our urban oasis tour at Linha d’Água.
This fountain has a slightly flatter water surface – only about half knee-deep. The fountain splashes its water up pretty high and it is very refreshing to stand close to the water spray. I stood a few centimeters away and enjoyed being embraced by a cool mist.
On the one side of the circular basin there is a café, on the other side a boardwalk.
You can hear frogs in a pond ribbiting. It belongs to Jardim Amalia Rodrigues – an idyllic garden with various nature, involving hills and fields where you can have a nice picnic.
Caixa Geral building
Walking alongside Campo Pequeno, you pass a huge grey building: Caixa Geral de Depositos. Portugal’s largest bank.
Just behind the low wall there is a park with a fountain basin. A chimney from an old factory is sticking out. Unfortunately, the gates are always closed.
Nevertheless, this couldn’t keep us from having a secret look inside. The water in the basin is clear but very cold.
The place is under surveillance by many cameras but there was no one kicking us out.
Jardim do Torel
Let’s take a deep breath while we recap what we’ve seen so far. I would say it’s time to find a real pool.
We head on to the city center, just a 10 minute walk.
A big stone pool is build on the Miradouro Jardim do Torel. A miradouro is a viewpoint which is usually located on a hill with a great panoramic view of the city.
The miradouro itself consists of two levels. The upper level has a fitness park and offers a nice view of the skyline.
The pool is based on the lower level. That means if you’re accessing the miradouro by the typical Lisbon stairway full of street art you walk through a gate ending up on the top level.
When you look down, the elliptic shaped pool makes you feel like jumping in. This pool is the biggest of all mentioned.
It feels exactly like swimming in a real swimming pool.
Unfortunately in these months they made a public swimming pool out of the beautiful ancient basin. As you can imagine, it is not really fun sharing the pool with screaming kids and standard tourists who munch fries.
To grasp the special atmosphere of this place I recommend to come here in early summer time.
You can enjoy a full swim catching a grand view over the rooftops of the old town.
After the splash, let’s walk all the steep way down to the core of the city. Martim Moniz is a huge square where you can find various food trucks, mobile cafés and stalls with alternative street food.
In the beginning of this square, a castle-like fountain is located where you dip your feet in. If you walk up towards the interesting Chinese dragon art, little water jets come out from the ground.
It’s a great feeling to pass them barefoot. At the end of the square stands the big cock sculpture – the symbol of Portugal.
Tejo – Cais das Colunas
The next cool spot is pretty popular. It is Lisbon’s characteristic river itself – too wide to be a river – Tejo or Tagus.
It is a common fact that tourists mistake it for the sea and remain stunned when they are corrected. You can find most of the people at the main riverside in front of the famous square Praço do Comércio.
Some of them are sitting on the low stone wall looking down onto the water, others are standing inside the river’s low tide.
Beware of jellyfish and avoid moving around barefoot!
From the right angle you can catch a nice view of the bridge Ponte 25 de Abril. This bridge is from the same architect of the San Francisco Bridge and maybe that’s why it looks exactly like the original.
Additionally, the little brother of the Brazilian Jesus towers over the other side of the city with arms wide opened.
Tejo – Braça da Prato
If you search a more private place, leave the city center.
There is a spot by the river which is less crowded and one of my secret tips.
If you take the train to Oriente, drop out halfway, at the stop Braça da Prato, a sweet suburb. After you pass the big roundabout with the fish sculpture, keep going until you reach a pier.
Fishermen come here to catch sardines, Portugal’s main dish.
Next to the pier is a small beach with real sand and, surprisingly, a lot of shells.
It is the perfect spot as an alternative to the sea. It’s quiet and peaceful. If you like to go back to Oriente, just follow the promenade along the river. On the way you pass Lisbon’s Marina with docked yachts and little boats.
Oriente swimming pool
We are now leaving the center and move on to the outskirts what will take most of the time so far. But it is worth it!
We take the metro to Oriente where we’ll have the longest stay throughout our tour. There is a real pool hidden behind the promenade wall along the Oriente riverside.
You can climb over the low wall and find yourself being amazed by the secrets behind the shrubs. The downside of this pool is that it’s not deep enough to fully submerge yourself but it’s deep enough to walk around in it or cool your feet a bit.
Especially on hot days, the pool can seem like a private pool. Not many people come here which is why I grab my boyfriend and come here to enjoy a whole pool for ourselves.
Oriente tropical garden
We remain behind the secret wall and walk a little further.
A gate to an urban jungle opens in front of our eyes. If we look up – vines and tendrils hanging down from the ornamental roof. Palm leaves loom into the scenery.
Flagstones zigzag along the way to our next water spot.
This time it’s no fountain but a waterfall surrounded by tropical plants.
The main waterfall arises from a construction opposite the promenade wall where it flows into the first out of three tanks. You can sit on the small bridge that separates the two water filled tanks.
Oriente – Jardins d’Água
We are still in Oriente where you can not only find many attractions like the Oceanario or the famous white bridge crossing the Tagus, but also most of urban water oases.
Here comes the most impressive waterfall of the city.
It is placed close to the Oceanario, Europe’s biggest underwater museum. The square with the name Jardins d’Água could be described as a water park involving a walkway under a water wall.
It is a popular spot where you’ll see different kinds of people. Those who dare to stand under the water showers but also those who just walk by and let the wind carry the droplets over their bare skins.
Behind the water wall’s gate, a water theme park with water screws and a water wheel for kids to play with is located. Low wooden bridges lead through the park enclosed by water ponds and little streams.
Oriente – 69 hommes de Bessines
Society taught us that it is not okay to do your toilet in a public pool.
Though, there is one spot in Lisbon where manners don’t have such value. When you walk through Oriente, especially in the area near the bridge pillar, look out for naked bodies gathered in a pool.
69 hommes de Bessines are standing in a pool, letting their instinctive needs free.
From far away the 69 statues look like soldiers, mostly due to the army green color. Water pipes run through the insides of the naked bold heads. The result is uncontrolled peeing and shitting.
Furthermore, water jets are coming from the mouth, nose, ears, eyes and even nipples. Every part of the body that has kind of an opening.
Anyway, don’t worry, it’s just water.
Alameda – Fonte Luminosa
We go back to the big train station of Oriente and take the red line to Alameda.
Located on the campus of an university there is a fountain that reminds me a little of the Trevi fountain in Rome.
There are three huge squares where children play soccer or mothers supervise their youngest on the playgrounds. On the most outer of these squares, a tremendous three-tier fountain is not to miss.
Spectacular Fonte Luminosa.
Cascades of water are flooding the basin. Mermaids and water creatures are drowning. So is the statue of a horse rider.
On the left and right wide stairways lead to a balcony. You can overlook the green Alameda square. Behind there are some benches, nice to have a beer and observe the sunset.
Are you already feeling over-refreshed or can you stand the last city oasis?
Proxima paragem Colégio Militar…
We exit the blue line. When we leave the underground and ascend the stairs we already see the towers of Colombo.
Meant to be one of Lisbon’s biggest shopping malls, Colombo has more similarity with an oriental palace. In front of the impressive building with the main entrance, another urban fountain is located.
Here comes a secret tip!.
If you take the escalator to the most upper floor of the shopping mall, watch out for a terrace. Standing outside in a beautiful garden nobody would ever think that it is located almost on the rooftop.
In the middle there is a circular fountain where you can dip your feet in.
If you feel like you have splashed enough water, tell me what your favorite city oasis is.
I guess there are quite more to add in our list.
Keep your eyes open and maybe this article helps to show you that the sea is not always the ultimate – especially if you don’t want to leave Lisbon.