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Lisbon (Lisboa)

The capital of Portugal, Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with a contemporary culture that is alive and thriving and making its mark in today's Europe. Perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is one of the rare Western European cities that face the ocean and uses water as an element that defines the city. Lisbon enchants travelers with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways, and an easy going charm that makes it a popular year round destination.

Rossio - Praca Dom Pedro IV

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When visiting Lisbon don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!

What to see

Visit the Alfama district by tram. Jump on the Number 28, an ancient vehicle, wood-panelled on the inside, that grinds up the precipitous sloping streets, at its stop in Rua da Conceiçutildeo. It will take you up into the heights, past the Cathedral and the church of Sao Antònio (Saint Antony being Lisbon's most prayed-to saint, since he was born on the site of this church and baptised in the cathedral). At the foot of the Alfama, a brand-new museum and performance space, the Casa do Fado e da Guitarra Portuguesa, has opened in a pink-painted former pumping station, and dozens of fado-themed of bars and restaurants (fado is Portugal's very own urban folk music and Lisbon's answer to the blues) have sprung up all over the bairro.

The Bairro Alto is a sleepy residential neighbourhood by day, low-key and discreet. By night, it transforms itself into an ebullient party zone where, on a weekend, it seems that the entire city has pitched up to drink, eat and dance until the early hours. 

The Baixa is the busy commercial district laid out in a grid behind the Praça de Comèrcio. 

Take a boat trip from the Praça, and you will pass the Alfama, a harmonious jumble of yellow, pink and blue-tiled walls and terracotta roofs crowned with the Castle of São Jorge. Up on the left, on a hill of its own, is the Bairro Alto, the Alfama's rival in civilised decrepitude. Pass under the great Ponte 25 de Abril, which spans the river in a graceful scarlet arabesques and three of Lisbon's finest sights come into view: the ice-cream turrets of the Jèronimos monastery, built to celebrate Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India; the Torre de Belèm, a defensive tower with Moorish spires and curlicues; and the impressive modern monolith known as the Padrao dos Descobrimentos, which depicts the great 15th-century explorer Prince Henry the Navigator standing on the prow of a ship, gazing out solemnly towards the open sea and the unknown lands beyond it. 

The Chiado neighbourhood is a delightful outpost of 19th-century elegance, now thoroughly restored since a disastrous fire swept through its streets in 1988. It is proud of its opera house, its smart cafes such as A Brasileira, on the Rua Garrett, and its posh shops. 

Lisbon makes a speciality of its historic modes of public transport: the tram, the cable car and the elevadores (lifts) which crank you up mechanically from one part of the city to another. Opposite the Casa Chineza stands the Elevador Santa Justa, a grey-painted filigree structure with a Gothic look.

Feira da Ladra is Lisbon's most famous flea market, where piles of fascinating junk are laid out along the pavement

Top Places to Visit

Lisbon has numerous interesting sights such as the Torre de Belem, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the Castelo San Jorge. However, the Portuguese capital is so special because of its overall picture and its unique atmosphere. A good way to discover all the sightseeing highlights of Lisbon in two days is a combination of bus rides and guided walking tours through the most interesting quarters of the city: Belem, Baixa, Chiado and Alfama. On the third day of your stay, you should consider to take a day-off to the fairy tale castles of Sintra and the bathing resort Cascais.

Lisbon Hop-On Hop-Off Tour: 24 or 48-Hour Ticket Start your first day in Lisbon with a bus tour. You can sit down, admire terrific sights such as the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, the Torre de Belem, the Oceanarium and the Tower Vasco da Gama and enjoy the great atmosphere of the city. Use the advantages of a Hop-on & Hop-off ticket and get off the bus at every interesting stop and continue the tour afterwards with another bus.

Best of Lisbon Walking Tour: Rossio, Chiado & Alfama Take the original Lisbon walk in the afternoon of your first day. The walk is also available as a private tour. On this interesting tour a local guide takes you to the most beautiful places of the city and provides plenty of information about the history of Lisbon. The walk starts with the terrific squares of the Baixa district: the Rossio, the Restauradores Square and the Carmo Square. Stroll along the elegant Chiado quarter afterwards and admire the beautiful cafés, boutiques and book stores. Then you can enjoy a ride on one of Lisbon’s vintage trams. Explore the narrow streets of the Moorish quarter Alfama before the tour finally ends at the Praca do Comercio, the former entrance hall to the city.

Lisbon Half-Day Sightseeing Tour by Coach Get to know the classical Lisbon on the second day of your stay. The Tour starts on the Lisbon Bridge. Afterwards a local guide takes you to the most interesting sights of the legendary Belem district. Admire world heritage sites such as the Torre de Belem and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. After a drive along the river you arrive at the Alfama district. Discover the beauty of the winding alleys of this traditional quarter and enjoy a glass of port wine in a handicraft shop. The tour finally ends at the Baixa district, where the most important squares of Lisbon are located.

Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril: Full-Day Tour From Lisbon Take an excursion to Sintra and Cascais on your third day in Lisbon. This day trip is also available as a private tour. Sintra is a magical place with a perfect interaction between buildings and nature. Explore the mystic Pena Park and admire the romantic architecture of the Pena National palace. Continue the excursion with a ride to Cascais. En route you can view the Quinta da Regaleira, the palaces of Seteais and Monserrate, the Roca Cape cliffs, Guincho Beach and the Boca do Inferno. Finally you can take a walk along the bay at the glamorous town of Cascais.

Entertainment

Lisbon nightlife starts late and most of the bars and clubs, spanning every taste from uber-smart to contemporary chic, do not tend to fill up much before 11 p.m. Nightlife is concentrated on the waterfront between the Docks and Avenida 24 de Julho, the 16th century Bairro Alto area and the promenade along the Tagus river, which hums with activity day and night.

Portugal is famous for its melancholy fado singing and many of the fado houses in the city’s older neighbourhoods - Alfama, Bairro Alto for example - will serve a lavish dinner as part of the entrance fee.

If you are looking for daytime diversions, both the Park of Nations and Oceanarium are great entertainment for all ages.

Eating Out

Although Lisbon’s traditional cuisine is based on cod, the city’s heady cultural mix has paved the way for a whole range of innovative fusion cooking involving Mediterranean, African and South American influences.

Seafood of all types is easy to find and superb Portuguese wines or port make an ideal accompaniment. Finish your meal with a traditional custard tart; a pastéis de Belém.

Lisbon, along with its long and prestigious history, offers a huge list of delicacies and unique Portuguese cuisines. If you are a non-vegetarian, then your stay in Lisbon will give you an ultimate gustatory pleasure. For a typical food freak, Lisbon Restaurants offer a wide range of mouthwatering delicacies. A typical day should go along the following line when it comes to eating out in Lisbon.

Breakfast

Portuguese people do not take a heavy breakfast but that does not mean you should skip it. Portuguese bakery products are world famous and you should start your day with a cup of Cappuccino and 'pastel de nata'(custard pastry), the most popular pastry of Portugal. If you want breakfast to be a little heavier and more luxurious then you should try ‘Uma Bica’ (strong espresso) with a much heavier pastry called ‘Milfohles’ which is a pastry with layers of cream and chocolate in between every tier.

Lunch

After a taste of strong coffee with pastry at around 11:00 and a subsequent hectic tour around the city, don't forget lunch. As Portuguese people take a heavy lunch, you will see maximum activity and maximum choices in the restaurants. However, you should not visit some costly restaurants for your lunch. Rather you may take your lunch at a small but cozy roadside restaurant. You may start your lunch with caldo verde with potato, a common Portuguese soup. Baccalhau (salted cod) being the national food of Portugal, you must not miss out on it. Once you have given your hunger some initial boosting with soup and starter, you should try the main course which is a blend of Mediterranean food style with spices coming from the house of its colonial cousins. Piri piri (chili pepper), black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla and saffron are the main spice ingredients and olive oil is the base. If you visit Lisbon sometime between June and November, then your lunch should include sardines or Cozido à Portuguesa (Porteguese stew). Finally, you may finish your lunch with rice pudding garnished with cinnamon.

Dinner

After such a heavy lunch probably you will not be willing to take anything early in the evening. It is recommended also that you should not visit any restaurant early because the main life and dishes come out only late in the evening in Lisbon. You may try some good restaurants in the evening. Restaurants like Cipriani, Concha D’Ouro, Restaurant Eleven, and Casa da Comida will definitely satisfy your gastronomic desires. A Glass of Vinho Verde (green wine) with Espetada (meat on a skewer) will certainly be a good start. You can try Carne de porco à alentejanaFrancesinha (fried pork with clams) or Rojões à moda do Minho (fried pork with blood rice) as your main course. You can end the day with the most popular dessert of Lisbon, Leite-creme (a set egg custard ).

Facts

Lisbon is recognised as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism.[6][7] It is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector and the largest/second largest container port on Europe's Atlantic coast.[8] Lisbon Portela Airport serves over 15.3 million passengers annually (2012); the motorway network and the high-speed rail system of (Alfa Pendular) link the main cities of Portugal.[9] The city is the seventh-most-visited city in Southern Europe, after Istanbul, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Athens and Milan, with 1,740,000 tourists in 2009. The Lisbon region is the wealthiest region in Portugal, GDP PPP per capita is 26,100 euros (4.7% higher than the average European Union's GDP PPP per capita). It is the tenth richest metropolitan area by GDP on the continent amounting to 110 billion euros and thus €39,375 per capita,[11] 40% higher than the average European Union's GDP per capita. The city occupies 32nd place of highest gross earnings in the world.[12] Most of the headquarters of multinationals in the country are located in the Lisbon area and it is the 9th city in the world in terms of quantity of international conferences. It is also the political centre of the country, as seat of Government and residence of the Head of State. The seat of the district of Lisbon and the centre of the Lisbon region.

Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest city in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by hundreds of years. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.

The population of the city proper is, as of 2011, 547,631 and the metropolitan area (Lisbon Metropolitan Area) more than 2,800,000 according to the Instituto Nacional de Estatística[5] (National Institute of Statistics). The Lisbon Metropolitan Area incorporates two NUTS II (European statistical subdivisions): Grande Lisboa (Greater Lisbon), along the northern bank of the Tagus River, and Península de Setúbal (Setúbal Peninsula), along the southern bank (which represents the Portuguese sub-regions of Região Lisboa (Lisbon Region). The population density of the city itself is 6,458 inhabitants per square kilometre (16,730 /sq mi).

Useful Links

Lisboa Airport (LIS)
Turismo de Lisboa

Video Intro


A Day in Lisbon (mdelaorta) / CC BY 3.0

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