LISBON IN LOCKDOWN – the capital city like you’ve never seen before

This series of photos was taken by travel blogger and Lisbon resident Marco Santos during Portugal’s lockdown, before the country began re-emerging to face a “new normal”.


Lisbon, like much of the world, is empty and in lockdown. Monuments and squares are deserted, the traditional “tascas” (Portuguese restaurants/taverns) have shut their doors to patrons, the much-loved Tram 28 travels through the historic streets with nothing but empty seats and even the seagulls have abandoned the Tejo riverfront in search of food in downtown Lisbon.

And yet, even though we are still to fully comprehend the true socio-economic impact that this global pandemic will have on this city, and the country too, for now we can only but appreciate the calm and stillness that has settled over it, allowing Lisbon to shine gloriously in its own beauty.

Restauradores Square, leading in from Avenida da Liberdade and connecting onwards to Rossio and downtown Baixa. With non-essential businesses closed and workers asked to work from home, traffic has ground to a halt with streets often empty.

Tram waiting for passengers at Cais do Sodré: at the river’s edge in the area of Cais do Sodré, a tram driver waits patiently for passengers to arrive. During peak tourist season, these trams are often jam-packed with tourists, turning them into sightseeing trams.

Rua Augusta Arch: In downtown Baixa, the Rua Augusta arch, a much-loved and photographed icon of Lisbon is just about deserted, apart from the few walkers, joggers and cyclists taking advantage of a less crowded Lisbon.

Praça Luís de Camões Square: Trendy Chiado is undoubtedly a firm favourite with both tourists and locals alike and the Praça Luís de Camões Square is generally the heart of all the action. But for now, the square is empty and the quintessential Lisbon kiosks are shuttered and closed for business.

Rua Augusta pedestrian street: It’s somewhat eerie, yet at the same time beautiful, to see Rua Augusta virtually devoid of people. The normally bustling street, lined with restaurants and businesses, is one of the busiest tourist streets in all of Lisbon. But now, businesses are papered up and restaurants firmly shut.

Praça do Comércio: An emblematic Lisbon shot; the riverside square known as Praça do Comércio sees only a few stragglers out for their daily exercise. An almost unfathomable change as it’s usually teeming with visitors.

Praça do Comércio | Tagus Riverfront: The riverfront is less crowded, and the river water seems oddly cleaner than usual. The seagulls, hungry and in search of food, have moved away from the river and into the city, in search of people to feed them scraps.

Rossio Square: The fountains may not be running and the square may be devoid of tourists, but Rossio Square with its black and white wave-patterned cobble stones still remains as pretty as ever!

Avenida da Liberdade: Swanky Avenida da Liberdade, one of the most expensive stretches of real estate in Lisbon. Normally a popular spot to stroll along and enjoy a drink at one of the many kiosks that line this avenue, now only sees minimal visitors passing along its beautiful “calçadas” (traditional patterned pavements).

Baixa: Downtown Lisbon. A lonely walker strides along a virtually empty street as restaurant chairs and tables are stacked and bolted down, waiting for better days to return when we can all once again enjoy lovely Lisboa together!

Follow Marco Santos on his travel blog