General information about Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal. It is located on the banks of the Tagus River. The open skyline of the city, its unpretentious atmosphere and a mixture of architectural styles give it a unique flavor. It is quite easy to navigate here, all the streets of the city are straight, and the business center is located in the lower part of the city.
The most beautiful and historically most outstanding area of the city is Belem. Here is located one of the greatest attractions of Lisbon – the Monastery of Jerome. Its construction began around 1502 and ended by the end of the century. This architectural monument survived the earthquake of 1755, and today in the city it is the main example of architecture from the time of King Manuel I (the “Manueliano” style). Now the Maritime Museum and the Archaeological Museum are housed in the premises of the ancient monastery. Nearby is the tower of the same architectural style Torre de Belem, which, towering above the Tagus River, is the most “photogenic” monument of Portugal. The most modern monument is a monument to the great geographical discoveries. It reflects the grandeur of a bygone era and recalls the world fame of Portugal and its famous citizens.
There are several interesting museums in Lisbon: Museu Nacional do Azulejo, where there are excellent examples of decorative tiles; Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga – art gallery of Portuguese artists; the huge Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is the most magnificent museum in Portugal, where paintings, sculptures, coins and ceramics from around the world are located.
Worth visiting the Baixa and Alfama areas. Here are the oldest and most interesting sights: archaic cobbled streets, squares and alleys; markets and craft workshops; stately castles and colorful buildings.
Where is Lisbon
The city occupies an advantageous position on the southwestern coast of the Iberian Peninsula, in the wide mouth of the Tagus River, 15 km from the Atlantic Ocean. City districts stretch along the Lisbon coast, stretching from the river mouth to the beaches of Alentejo.
The main attractions of Lisbon
The Portuguese capital has a lot of interesting places for tourists: numerous museums and art galleries, magnificent palaces and magnificent cathedrals, park complexes and iconic sights.
Museum complexes in Lisbon
Lisbon has more than 50 museums and art galleries, the largest of which are:
The Archaeological Museum, founded in 1893 by the famous archaeologist Jose Leith de Vasconcelos, contains the largest ethnographic collection from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Among the exhibits are gems, jewelry, sculptures, ceramics, glass and mosaics, and gold antique dishes. In the collections and collections of the museum ethnographic and archaeological finds of Portuguese anthropologists are presented.
The Museum of Ancient Art, located in the palace of the 17th century, presents visitors the best collections of paintings, ceramics, textiles, furniture, as well as sculptures, drawings, prints dating from the 12th – 19th centuries. It contains valuable works of European, African and Oriental art, including carved ivory, embroidery, porcelain and silk. The museum is surrounded by a magnificent garden overlooking the Tagus River. The National Museum of Ancient Art is the largest gallery in Portugal with thousands of paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and antique furniture from the 14th – 19th centuries.
The Museum of Modern Art (Chiado), located in the historic center of Lisbon, was founded in 1911. Here is an extensive collection of Portuguese art from 1820 to the present. Most of the exhibits are presented by the works of famous Portuguese artists José de Almada Negreiros, Amadeu di Sosa-Cardozo, Julio Pomar, Mario Caesarini and Paula Regu;
Address: Rua Serpa Pinto, 4. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – from 10.00 to 18.00. Price: for adults – 4.5 EUR, for children under 12 years old – free of charge. In addition to paintings, the museum’s collection contains sculptures, photographs, sketches, prints and installations
The museum complex of Galust Gulbenkian, represented by private collections of a British businessman, stores masterpieces of different periods and areas – Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Islamic and European art. Among the 6.5 thousand exhibits acquired by the collector at different times, there are works by Rembrandt, Renoir, Rubens, Monet and Van Dyck, clay and ceramic ware by Faiancas Artisticas Bordallo Pinheiro, jewelry by the French master Rene Lalique.
Address: Av. de Berna, 45A. Opening hours: daily from 10.00 to 18.00, except Tuesday. Price: 3–12.5 EUR depending on the collection; children under 12 years old are free of charge.
Palaces and castles in Lisbon
In Lisbon, there are more than a dozen palace complexes and castles, famous for their historical past. The most famous of them are the following objects:
Pimento Palace, built by the King of Portugal John V in the middle of the 18th century, today is part of the city museum. Visitors will be interested in:
- take a look at the interior of luxurious halls decorated with tiles, ceramics, prints, fireplaces, furniture, original paintings and maps;
- look into the kitchen, which retained its original appearance;
- take a walk in the courtyard, where peacocks walk around;
- relax in the garden park, decorated with sculptures of animals and insects.
Address: Campo Grande, 245. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday – from 10.00 to 18.00. Price – 3.00 EUR.
Pimento Palace – one of the few architectural masterpieces that survived the earthquake in 1755
St. George’s Castle, located on the top of the hill of the same name, is one of the most famous sights of Lisbon. Initially, it was a small fortress erected by the Visigoths in the V century, which, after several reconstructions and reconstructions, turned into a majestic castle with eleven towers. Just a few years ago, Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian ruins were found in the area, which are currently open to the public;
Address: Castelo de S. Jorge. Opening hours: from February to November – from 9.00 to 18.00, from March to October – from 9.00 to 19.00. The ticket price for adults is 8.50 EUR, for children under 10 years old admission is free.
St. George’s Castle is located on the top of the hill of San Jorge – the highest in Lisbon
Ajuda Palace – the former royal residence – since 1910 declared a national monument. Today, the three-story palace building, built in the neoclassical style, houses the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts, as well as the headquarters for government receptions and royal ceremonies. From the windows of the palace offers a beautiful view of the Tagus River.
Address: Largo da Ajuda. Opening hours: daily from 10.00 to 17.30, except Monday. Ticket price – 5 EUR, children under 12 years pass free of charge.
The layout and interior of most rooms, in particular, the chambers of the monarchs and the Throne Hall, are preserved in the palace of Ajud
Temples and Monasteries in Lisbon
Among the huge number of temples, churches, cathedrals, monasteries, tourists are attracted by the following shrines:
The Basilica da Estrela, erected at the end of the 18th century on the orders of Queen Mary I, who promised to build a church and monastery for the Carmelite nuns, should she have an heir to the throne. The basilica is interesting:
- a combination of neoclassicism and baroque;
- intricate facade with statues, carvings and two tall bell towers, decorated with colorful marble;
- a mosaic of 500 elements depicting a Christmas scene;
- scenic city view from the tower.
Address: Praca da Estrela, 12. Opening hours: from 10.30 to 19.30. You can view the interiors of the basilica for free, and access to the observation deck costs about 5 EUR.
Basilica da Estrela – one of the most impressive architectural monuments of Lisbon
Jeronimos Monastery, which is a national monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in the 16th century and donated to the monks of the Order of St. Jerome. The snow-white building in the late Gothic style with impressive entrance portals decorated with embossed stucco molding and sculptures, from afar attracts the attention of tourists. The tombs of Luis de Camoes, Vasco da Gama and King Sebastian are kept in the monastery;
Address: Praca do Imperio. Opening hours: from 10.00 to 18.30. The price of the visit is 10 EUR.
Jeronimos Monastery is one of the seven wonders of Portugal
The Cathedral is the oldest and most important church in the city. The cathedral was built in the XII century on one of the hills and looks more like a fortress than a temple. The construction has survived more than one reconstruction. At one time, the building served the Romans, Moors, Goths, and only after the liberation of Lisbon by King Afonso I became the Cathedral. The church was built in the Romanesque-Gothic style with three naves and three chapels;
Address: Largo da Se. Opening hours: daily from 9.00 to 19.00, on Sunday and Monday – until 17.00. Free admission.
Recent archaeological excavations carried out in the cloister of the cathedral proved that initially a Roman temple was located on this site, and later an Arab mosque
The church of St. Roch, built by the Jesuits in the 16th century, is the most beautiful temple in all of Portugal. Behind the modest facade is a luxuriously decorated interior with an altar of the Baroque era, eight side chapels, marble columns, Florentine mosaics, trim in gold, silver, bronze and ivory.
Address: Largo Trindade Coelho. Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday – from 10.00 to 18.00. The cost of visiting is about 3 EUR.
The interior decoration of St. Roch Church is striking in its splendor and luxury.
Parks and gardens in Lisbon
After excursions to museums and temples it is especially pleasant to relax in one of the many parks and gardens of the capital. Popular destinations for locals and tourists are:
Nations Park – a picturesque area with modern architecture and green oases, built for the world exhibition “Expo-98”, held in Lisbon. It stretches along the Tagus River for more than 5 km. The third part of the territory is occupied by green spaces, among which Water Gardens are of particular interest to vacationers;
Address: Avenida Dom Joao II, 13B. The park operates around the clock. Entrance to its territory is free.
A cable car ride above the park and the Water Gardens allows you to admire from above a successful combination of futuristic architecture and pristine nature
Ajuda Botanical Garden, built in 1768 by order of the Marquis of Pombal, the Portuguese politician who led the restoration of Lisbon after the earthquake in 1755. The garden was created with the aim of cultivating various types of plants brought by Portuguese sailors from different parts of the world. In addition to rare species of trees and flowers, the garden is interesting with its magnificent 18th-century baroque fountain decorated with marine motifs: mythical monsters, fish, sea horses and snakes;
Address: Calcada da Ajuda. Opening hours: daily, except Wednesday, from 9.00 to 20.00. Price – 1,50 EUR.
Ajuda Botanical Garden is an open-air museum where you can relax from the bustle of the city, wander through the old alleys, admire the collections of plants from around the world
Edward VII Park, located on a hill near the Marquise Pombal Square, is Lisbon’s largest public park. On an area of 26 hectares, an indoor botanical garden with two greenhouses, a pond with large carps, a ship-shaped children’s area, an observation deck on the top of the hill are equipped. The park is the venue for various concerts and exhibitions throughout the year, and from May to June an international book fair is held here.
Address: Praca do Marques de Pombal. The park is open around the clock. Free admission.
The park is especially beautiful in the evening when the lights turn on.
Significant sights in Lisbon
In the capital of Portugal there are several places that are considered symbols of the city. Among them:
Belen Tower, located on the north bank of the Tagus River. It was built in the 16th century as a defensive structure, as evidenced by 16 windows with cannons installed on the ground floor of the building. There are five floors in the tower, ending with a terrace with an observation deck, where you can climb a narrow spiral staircase;
Address: Av. da Índia (Cais da Princesa). Opening hours: in winter – from 10.00 to 17.30, in the summer – from 10.00 to 18.30, Monday – day off. Ticket price: adults – 6 EUR, children under 12 years pass free of charge.
The Belem tower got its name because of its location in the same area, although it was originally called the tower of St. Vincent in honor of the patron saint of Lisbon.
A monument to the discoverers, erected in the capital in 1960 in honor of the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator, the organizer of expeditions along the African coast. The majestic pedestal 52 meters high is a caravel with a group of researchers led by Prince Henry. The area at the foot of the monument is lined with marble mosaics depicting a compass with a world map inside;
Address: Av. de Brasília, Coast of Belem.
Monument to the Discoverers – a monumental ensemble in Lisbon, dedicated to outstanding Portuguese figures of the era of the Great Geographical Discoveries
Vasco da Gama bridge, named after one of the most important Portuguese discoverers, connects Northern and Southern Portugal. It is the longest after the Crimean bridge in Europe and reaches 17 km. Its opening on March 29, 1998 was timed to coincide with the start of the Lisbon World Exhibition;
Address: South of Park of the Nations.
Vasco da Gama bridge was built in 18 months
Elevador di Santa Zhusta is a city elevator, built at the beginning of the 20th century and connecting the two Lisbon areas – Baixa and Chiado. The author of the construction project was Raul Mesniere, a student of Gustav Eiffel. At an altitude of 45 meters there is an observation deck with a bewitching view of the city.
Address: at the corner of Rua de Santa-Justa and Largo do Carmo. Schedule: from June to September – from 7.00 to 23.00, from October to May – from 7.00 to 22.00. The observation deck can be visited daily and year-round from 8.30 to 20.30. Price: round trip by elevator – 5 EUR. Entrance to the observation deck – 1.5 EUR.
Vacation with children in Lisbon
With children in Lisbon, you can visit the largest Oceanarium in Europe, go to the Zoo, go to the Carriage Museum, ride the funicular, go up to the observation deck of the Vasco da Gamma tower and carefully view the city from a height of 120 meters through a telescope.
Sport in Lisbon
First of all, it is golf. There are many golf clubs in Lisbon and the surrounding area with excellent courses and excellent service. Some of the most famous are the Belas Golf Club in Alameda and the Lisbon Sports Club.
Entertainment in Lisbon
Throughout the year, various festivals, fairs and festivals take place in Lisbon. Here are matches and bullfights.
Speaking about the manifestation of national culture, one can not help but mention fado. In Lisbon, restaurants with fado music are located mainly in historic areas. One of the best restaurants where fados are simply amazing, Clube de Fado is located in the ancient Moorish district of Alfama, not far from the Lisbon Cathedral.
Shopping in Lisbon
The two largest shopping centers in Lisbon are Colombo (Colegio Militar metro) and Vasco da Gama shopping center (Estacao Oriente metro).
In Baixi’s shopping districts, on Rua de Ouro, it is best to buy gold and silver jewelry. Here in Baix, a fine selection of quality wines.
Chiado district. Here they buy handicrafts: linen and cotton tablecloths and very beautiful ceramics.
Bayru Altu – antique shops.
The best shops are located on Avenida de Liberdad.
Night life in Lisbon
At night, Lisbon lives a hectic life: there are many discos and bars open where you can not only drink, but also dance to rave, jazz or African rhythms. You can discover the charm of the night city in Bairro Altu, on the avenue on July 24, in Santos, on the Docks of Alcantara and Santo Amaru, in the Santa Apolonia region or in the fortress.