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About city What to see Gallery Where to stay

Those who have read The Night in Lisbon by Erich Maria Remarque are in love with Lisbon. As you may know, falling in love with capital cities is not that easy, but Lisbon, situated by the Tagus River, is no ordinary European maiden.

Every true fan of football wants to visit the mecca of the sport – Brazil; cycling enthusiasts idealize Amsterdam; and every traveller should have his or her heart rate increase upon arrival at Lisbon. It’s the European gateway to the rest of the world.

This harbour city was the point of departure for Vasco da Gama, who sailed off to find a way to India, Pedro Álvares Cabral, who discovered Brazil, Bartolomeu Dias, the first man to circumnavigate Africa, Amerigo Vespucci, whose name was to become the name of two entire continents, and many others.

Lisbon's port
Photo taken by Juntas - wikimedia.org.  Lisbon's port

Phoenicians established a settlement here (later to become Lisbon) around 1200 BC. However, this city has been the capital of Portugal for only 260 years. In 1755, Lisbon was struck by an earthquake and a tsunami, which almost completely destroyed the city. Now we can only guess what historic monuments were obliterated by this element.

The whole city was in ruins. The famous Carmo Convent, which used to have over 5000 books in its library, was also destroyed. Today, the ramshackled arches of the convent can be found at the very centre of this re-built city. Its mission is to remind Portuguese people about the worst day in the history of Lisbon.

Now, Lisbon dazzles tourists with its white limestone buildings, green alleys, hills, sea, great food, friendly people and slow rhythm, so characteristic of Southern Europe. We would advise you to leave your sandals and pick a pair of more comfortable shoes as soon as you arrive, as climbing up a steep hill will become your bread and butter. Lisbon is known as the City of Seven Hills. Trams and funicular railways will aid you in navigating the steep terrain.

The iconic number 28 Tram line with an old Lisbon Tram crossing the medieval, Alfama District
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  The iconic number 28 Tram line with an old Lisbon Tram crossing the medieval, Alfama District

Lisbon’s old town, also known as Baixa, is one of the seven wonders of the city. It is accompanied by the famous Jerónimos Monastery, the Belém Tower, the São Roque Church, the National Coach Museum, the Tile Museum and the Águas Livres Aqueduct.

The charm of Lisbon extends far beyond the city centre, however - no one remains indifferent to its suburbs. Sintra, located only 30-40 minutes away by train, is known for its castles and palaces; Cascais, a well-known seaside resort, is only 20 minutes away, and Alamada with its world-famous Cristo Rei statue is situated on the other side of the river. As the sun sets, from here you can see a magnificent panorama of nighttime Lisbon and the 25 de Abril Bridge. The aforementioned Belém is another tourist attraction.

Once in Lisbon, there’s one thing you have to learn to ignore – the drug addicts hanging out in the street. Even though the capital of Portugal is far from the safest place in the world, ignoring the pleading of these unfortunate people should be enough to keep you away from trouble.

The metro system in Lisbon is as well-developed as its night life. Most of the relaxed souls make their way to Bairro Alto. Spending time in bars is not very popular here, and since it is legal to drink in public in Portugal, the limit between the insides and outsides of bars becomes completely irrelevant.

Lisbon can be visited all year round, although if you come in late autumn or winter, make sure to bring an umbrella.

What to see

Where to stay

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