Portugal’s capital, Lisbon (Portuguese: Lisboa) is famous for its vibrant nightlife, magnificent architecture and, lately, has been recognized as one of the biggest gambling spots in Europe.
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and the largest city in the country, considered the second most important financial and economical center in the Iberian Peninsula. Lisbon is located on the Atlantic Ocean coast, where river Tagus flows into the Ocean.
How to get to Lisbon
Aeroporto da Portela (LIS) is Portugal’s main international airport, located between Lisbon and Loures. The airport is linked to Lisbon by an Aerobus service and bus lines. Major US and European airlines offer direct flights to Lisbon.
There are two major train stations in Lisbon which provide connections between Lisbon and the rest of the country, as well as to major European cities.
Bus lines link the country’s cities to Lisbon as well as provide links between European cities and Portugal.
Lisbon has one of the mildest climates in Europe, strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream. Springs are quite warm, although showers are expected. Summers are hot, dry and mostly sunny. Autumn is mild, while winter is wet, windy and rather cold. Snowfall is rare but possible.
Jan: avg high 13.9C/57 F; avg low 7.2C/45 F
Aug: avg high 28.3C/83 F; avg low 17.8C/64 F
Things to do
Baixa (city center) has been designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been organized in a grid system after the 1755 earthquake which leveled most of the medieval city. Just like Rome and Istanbul, Lisbon is also built on seven hills. The Castle of Sao Jorge and Lisbon Cathedral are two of the most important landmarks and are both located on one of the hills.
The oldest district of Lisbon is Alfama, located close to the River Tagus. Fortunately, the district didn’t suffer many damages during the earthquake. Don’t miss visiting Cristo Rei (the monument of Christ the King), standing on the left side of the river with the arms wide open.
Belem is a district packed with monuments as well; Belem Tower, the Jeronimos Monastery, Padrao dos Descobrimentos, the Presidential Palace (former Royal Palace of Belem) and Coach Museum are all worth your time.
Chiado is Lisbon’s shopping district. Stroll the streets to look for stuff to buy and stop at one of the coffee shops for a cup of coffee or hike up to Bairro Alto, for a lovely view of the city. If you are looking to dance the night away, head to one of the clubs in the district.
Where to Stay
Thanks to an excellent public transport system, Lisbon is very easy to get around, so no matter where in the city you stay you’ll have quick and easy access to the city’s main sights. The Bairro Alto offers great nightlife, but the Baixa (the downtown) is also a good choice. Just be aware that Lisbon is quite hilly so if mobility is an issue for you, pick a hotel at the base of a hill rather than at the top.
- All over Rossio district you will find Ask Me Lisboa kiosks where you can ask for maps and brochures. The staff speaks many languages which is really helpful. Lisboa Ask Me Centre, open from 9 AM to 8 PM, gives very good information on accommodation and also offers maps and brochures.
- Purchase a Lisboa Card which offers free public transport in the city, as well as free or discounted entrance fees to museums and other tourist attractions. These can be purchased in 24 hours (about €15 per adult), 48 hours (about €26 per adult) or 72 hours (about €31 per adult). If you are a student –and can prove it with a student identification card- you’ll benefit from the same discounts as those offered by Lisboa Card.
- Instead of taking a tour bus, take tram line 28. It will take you by many famous sites.