People-watch in this historic square while you enjoy a coffee and pastry in the café where the city’s literati once gathered.
Commerce Square, or the Praça do Comércio, is a meeting place for locals and a great spot to bask in the sun along the riverfront. This was the site of the royal palace for many centuries, until the Great Earthquake of 1755. The palace was remodeled into an elaborate stone monument that marks the point of entry to the city. Today the square offers many places to sit and relax in between visits to the surrounding sites of the central Baixa district.
There are many photo opportunities in this picturesque square. Photograph the triumphal arch on the north side and a towering statue of King Jose on horseback in the center. The king, who is wearing his emperor’s mantle, stands nearly 46 feet (14 meters) tall.
Near the arch is one of Lisbon’s best-known cafes, Café Martinho da Arcada. Back in the late 1700s, this was a frequent haunt of Lisbon’s literati.
The Lisbon Tourism Office is housed in a historic building on the west side of the square. Visit to get information about city tours, day trips, restaurants and entertainment to fill your Lisbon itinerary. There’s also a souvenir shop selling traditional Portuguese arts and crafts.
Most of the government offices that once surrounded the square have been remodeled into cafés with outdoor tables, making this a great lunchtime option. Make a stop at the Lisboa Story Centre, an interactive museum that tells the history of the city through an audio guide and dramatic reenactments. The 1-hour tour covers the events that changed Lisbon from its earliest days to the present.
Commerce Square is located on the River Tagus in the central Baixa district. The area is accessible by public transportation and within easy walking distance of many tourist attractions. The square is accessible at all hours.