We love to travel in summer or visit places which are warm throughout the whole year. If it wouldn’t be for the sun, the majority of the people wouldn’t consider to travel at all in their holidays. Bright sunshine does not only make your photos appear vibrant, it also lets you shine from the inside and outside.
Apart from all the positive about the sun, there is one thing that can be quite enduring in the peaks of the hottest time of the year.
The heat itself!
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.
Did you know that Lisbon is the city of water? And not only because it’s located at the coast. You will find many refreshing water spots without even being forced to leave the city.
Lisbon’s City Oases
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 spread on the flat hill.
On top of Parque Eduardo VII a huge Portuguese flag is swaying in the wind. We climb up the hill, enclosed by avenues on the left and right.
Here we make the acquaintance with our first city oasis: a water basin with four pillars and a pyramid-shaped 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 to Linha d’Água.
This fountain has a slightly flatter water surface – only about half knee-deep. The fountain shoots the water rays pretty high into the sky. It’s totally sufficient, if you stand just a few centimeters away and enjoy being embraced by the 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 gray 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
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 built 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 covers a fitness park and offers a nice view of Lisbon’s skyline.
The pool is based on the lower level. That means if you’re accessing the miradouro by the stairway painted with street art, you walk through a gate which will lead you to the top level.
Although the pool is not meant for swimming, it invites to do so.
It feels exactly like swimming in a real swimming pool.
During summer the ancient basin is indeed turned into a public swimming pool. 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 and dip your feet into the water.
If you’re braver and don’t mind leaves and other garbage ending up in the pool, you can enjoy a full swim catching a grand view over the rooftops of the old town.
After the refreshing splash in Jardim do Torel, let’s make our way back to the core of the city. Martim Moniz is a huge square where you can find various food trucks, mobile cafés and stalls with international street food.
In the beginning of this square, a castle-like fountain is located where you can dip your feet in. If you walk up towards the Chinese dragon fountain, little water jets spray 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 one of the more popular ones. 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 gathering in front of the notorious 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 originates 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 opposite the river in Almada with arms wide opened.
Tejo – Braça da Prato
If you search a more private place, you should 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 moving on to the outskirts which is a longer distance to take. But it is worth every meter!
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 to ourselves.
Oriente tropical garden
We remain behind the secret wall with the pool and walk a little further.
A gate to an urban jungle opens in front of our eyes. If we look up – vines and tendrils are 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 we’re taking you to 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 city 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 bridge shaped purely by water.
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.
The water bridge is the main attraction here. However, a water theme park with water screws and a water wheel for kids to play can be also found. 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 are not taken too seriously. 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 exposing their intimate organs in a pool, giving free reign to their instinctive needs.
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 bald heads. The result is uncontrolled peeing and shitting water.
Furthermore, water jets are spraying out of the mouth, nose, ears, eyes and even nipples.
Anyway, don’t worry, it’s hopefully just water.
Alameda – Fonte Luminosa
We head back to the big train station of Oriente and this time take the red line to Alameda.
Located on the campus of an university there is a fountain that reminds 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 with mermaids and water creatures coming to life.
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 final city oasis?
Proxima paragem Colégio Militar…
We exit the blue line. When we leave the underground and ascend the stairs we can 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 and you will find yourself in the midst of a beautiful garden.
In the middle there is a circular fountain where you can dip your feet in.
Lisbon is a paradise for water-lovers and all people alike who look for a quick refreshment in the hot summer months within the city’s reach.
Hopefully, this article helps to show you that the sea is not always the ultimate – especially if you want to explore the city and not miss a refreshing splash in one of the many city oases.