Lisbon is nowadays an emerging target for every kind of tourists coming from all the corners of the world.But longtime Lisbon used to be an overshadowed spot of the Old Continent, due to the isolation caused by a dictatorship. But all these has much changed during the last 30 years: Lisbon is nowadays a favorite fashioned stopover.
The city is build on 7 hills, resembling to Rome, and has a secret charm which is hard to explain. The history of Lisbon goes back to Neolithic, Roman Empire, Moorish Period, Reconquista, Empire Period etc. All these periods left behind some interesting remnants, or ruins or even city quarters ( or freguesias, as the locals say). The district of Alfama is very similar to an Arabian city, with narrow streets and plenty of little shops. Alfama was the heart of the city during the Moorish period.
Further you can visit St George Castle, which is very old and very well kept, and the Belem Tower, dedicated to the Portuguese Age of Discoverers. If you really want to understand Lisbon, remember some important navigators and discoverers of Portugal, e.g. Magellan and Vasco da Gama. The city is oriented to ocean and to the rest of the world, and is unbelievable dynamic. There is a very interesting Orient Museum (Museum del Oriente), hosting interesting artifacts from all world.
The Botanical gardens of Lisbon is very old, very big and worths a visit. You can go for a pick nick in this magnificent garden (Jardin Botanico) admiring the diversity of the flower and tree collections. There are so different, with so divers origins, that no one could think that they live in harmony together.
Tagus River (Rio do Tejo) flows through Lisbon and offers some unique views. E.g.: the Bridge of 25 April build in 1966 is a replica to the Golden Gate of San Francisco, and you’ll notice the similarities at once. But Lisbon has another distinctive landmark: the spectacular Vasco da Gama bridge, which is nowadays Europe’s longest!
Sleeping in Lisbon is quite easy. You can save in a hostel, or in Solar de Mouros, which offers in Lisbon downtown 5 stars views at 1 star prices. But you can also splurge in Pestana Palace Hotel, or in another luxury hotel.
Eating in Lisbon offers many possibilities. Eating on the streets is excellent if you are in a hurry, or if you are on a budget. Try for example the tasty pasteis at Pasteis de Belem, which have been made since 171 years according the traditional recipe, which is a well kept secret. They taste like sugar and cinnamon, and the locals use to enjoy it at noon assorted with white wine. You can taste a lot of wine in Lisbon, as Portugal is a wine country. There are many wine bars, and the Chafariz do Vinho should be on your must do in Lisbon. It offers wines from little unknown producers, which are cheap, but very good, assorted with some appetizers.Take care to the fact that in any bar or restaurants of Lisbon the waiter will bring some unordered things or meals etc. Don’t touch them, and they will not charge the bill. Similar, if someone is trying to drag you on the streets selling drugs or telling stories, say simply ” nao, obrigado” (males) or “nao,obrigada” (females).
Art lovers will surely find their way to the Gulbenkian Museum. Here a special attention for the fantastic Lalique collection.
You are going to love Lisbon, but you must first meet and know it.
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