Lisbon, Portugal: The City of Great Cultural Attractions and Captivating Sights
With several historical spots that include museums and galleries, parks and gardens, majestic monuments and hilltop castles, there’s no doubt why Lisbon in Portugal has always been one of the world’s top vacation destinations. Its Subtropical-Mediterranean climate, one of the mildest climates in Europe, also makes it attractive to tourists from all over the world. Meanwhile, the fantastic city views offered by top floor cafes and restaurants also captivate tourists.
Among the biggest attractions in Lisbon, Portugal are its museums. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, for instance, is considered one of the greatest museums in the world and one of the unsung treasures in Europe. It houses an impressive collection of both ancient and modern arts, featuring about 6000 items that include Egyptian and Mesopotamian arts as well as sculptures and paintings.
Featuring 14th to 20th century works and a rich collection of artifacts, the Ancient Art Museum, which is Portugal’s national gallery, is also a must-see museum. It is located in Rua das Janelas Verdes and is home to Portuguese paintings like the Veneration of St. Vincent and decorative art and silverware like Monstrance of Belem.
Art lovers and contemporary art connoisseurs can also visit Berardo Museum where the works of Pablo Picasso and Miro are featured. This museum hasn’t been around for long but it has become a top destination for tourists wanting to catch a glimpse of European arts and culture. Other Lisbon museums that are worth visiting include Coach Museum and Ethnology Museum, which are both located in the district of Belem, and the Chiado Museum located in Rua Serpa Pinto.
From medieval to modern monuments that all seem to speak of Portugal’s rich culture and history, monuments have also become a top attraction in Lisbon. One of the most visited is the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery, which is recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. Located in the district of Belem, right next to Belem Tower, this monastery is also considered the very first national pantheon. It houses some of the most famous Portuguese such as Teofilo Braga and Oscar Carmona, former presidents of Portugal, and writers such as Alexandre Herculano and Fernando Pessoa.
Belem Tower, another world heritage site, is also a must-see in Lisbon. This beautiful monument served as a defense fortress for Tagus River during the early days. The tower was completely established in 1520 and has been considered an excellent example of military architecture.
Overlooking the city of Lisbon, as well as River Tagus, is the Moorish Castle of Sao Jorge. The castle is made up of millennium-old walls and 18 towers. Tourists can choose to walk along the ramparts or climb the towers to get a captivating view of the city, or just relax in the garden with geese, peacocks, and ducks strutting around. Tourists also don’t want to miss other beautiful and century-old monuments like Se Cathedral of Lisbon, Carmo Church Ruins, and Ajuda Palace.
In Lisbon, Portugal, there are just a lot of things to do. Aside from visiting and exploring museums and monuments, tourists can also visit the downtown district of Baixa where Praca do Comercio is located. Praca do Comercio is where government bureaus and agencies that regulate port activities are located. Meanwhile, the Terreiro do Paco, which is located in Praca do Comercio, is a great place for tourists wanting to have a taste of Portuguese cuisine.
It’s also worth visiting Belem district, home to several attractions in Lisbon; and Parque das Nacoes, which is not just a leisure and commercial area but also a residential area. It is home to Lisbon Oceanarium, which has become a famous tourist destination in Lisbon.
Tourists can also choose to relax at Sao Pedro de Alcantara and Portas do Sol or stroll along the district of Alfama, which spans many narrow and winding streets leading to Tagus River. Lisbon is also famous for its several shopping centers that include the largest shopping center in the Iberian Peninsula, the Centro Colombo Shopping Center, and Amoreiras Shopping Center.
When the sun goes down, lively bars and discos along the Bairro Alto district, Santos district, and Dock’s area are famous destinations for those who want to party all night and just have a good time. And definitely, a trip to the city of Lisbon, Portugal won’t be complete without tasting the famous Portuguese egg tart pastry called Pastel de Belem, also known pastel de nata, offered in many of the city’s restaurants.
Getting to Lisbon is as easy as getting around this historical city. It houses the largest international airport in Portugal, the Aeroporto da Portela; and Santa Apolonia and Gare do Oriente, two of the main train stations in the country. Lisbon can also be reached by people and travelers from nearby cities through bus or boat.
To get around the city, travelers can choose either to use metro and buses or rent a car. Walking can also be a great alternative as many of the city’s top attractions are in walking distances from each other. They can also choose to ride the Tram 28 and the Bica elevator to explore the city more.
After exploring the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal, tourists can also visit its nearby cities and villages, including the so-called Triangle of Gold composed of the villages of Cascais, Sintra, and Estoril. The coastal town of Cascais Village is one of the country’s richest municipalities and is home to magnificent beaches and parks; the Sintra village is home to the famous Pena Palace and Castelo dos Mouros; and the village of Estoril is a famous summer vacation spot as well as a great destination for people looking for some quiet and tranquil time away from the city.