This cobbled, stepped street is in Lisbon's Bairro Alto district. The orange glow of the street light makes for a very atmospheric shot, I think.

Photo Essay: Lisbon illuminated – the city at night

Just before Christmas, I spent a weekend in Lisbon trying out my new camera and got some great shots of Lisbon at night. I love the city at any time of the day but once the sun sets and the lights come on, it takes on a magical, mystical appearance. Clever illumination picks out features that you may not notice in daylight, making even simple things more dramatic and special.

Here’s what I mean:

Lisbon street at night

This cobbled, stepped street is in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto district. The orange glow of the street light makes for a very atmospheric shot, I think.

Praça do Comércio, Lisbon

The arched entrance to Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio appears to be edged in gold, which is only fitting for the former palace square.

Dom José 1 statue

King José and his horse look ghostly in this light. The statue is being restored at the moment but you can find it in Praça do Comércio.

Lisbon's Rossio square with fountains, Christmas lights and smoke

The giant Christmas bauble in the background, along with the smoke creates a dramatic impression. I think the smoke is from the many chestnut vendors dotted around Rossio square.

Estação Rossio / Rossio train station

The neo-Manueline facade of Rossio station, Lisbon’s prettiest transport hub, has long been a favourite of mine. It’s impressive enough during the day but the lights and shadows make the patterns even more striking.

Which city do you think looks better at night? Let me know in the comments.

For more ‘illuminating’ posts, check out this week’s photo challenge.