Mon - Fri 9 am - 7 pm EST,
Sat  9 am - 3 pm EST,

Regular Hours 1800-890-3731

After Hours Emergency 727-902-9316

Need Help? | Frequently asked questions
Book Online or Call us Toll free 1-800-890-3731

Lisbon: City of the Explorers


Portugal is perhaps the forgotten part of the Iberian Peninsula, which it shares with Spain. It is nonetheless rich in culture and has some great beaches, its most famous tourist coast is the Algarve.Our subject for today,Lisbon, is the seventh most visited city in southern Europe and contains 27% of Portugal's population.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest in Western Europe.First settled by the Romans, it was conquered by Germanic tribes and then the Moors from the eighth century, until finally recaptured by Crusaders in 1147.The struggle for independence from its larger neighbor,Spain, is a key feature of Portuguese history.
The Portuguese were avid colonizers and merchants, with colonies stretching from the East Indies and India through to Brazil in South America.This was an era of huge growth and wealth for Portugal, but the 19th and 20th centuries brought decline as the Empire collapsed and Portugal fell into a dictatorship.
The overthrow of the dictatorship, in 1974, brought democracy and a significant growth in tourism.However, Portugal remains the poorest country in Western Europe. The Portuguese nation is blessed, though, with some beautiful countryside, spiritual monasteries and churches, and, in the shape of Lisbon, one of the most charming cities in Europe.
Perched on the Banks of the River Tagus.Like Rome, Lisbon is built on seven hills.It is Europe's westernmost capital and the only one on the Atlantic.Lisbon has a growing financial sector and has one of the biggest container ports on the Atlantic coast.Lisbon Airport serves over 20 million passengers per year.
A key feature of the city is its steep streets; too steep for bicycles and cars, so three funicular systems and one elevator take their place.The elevator (full name the Elevator of Santa Justa) is late 19th century and was built by Ponsard, a student of Eiffel.The population is 535,000 but rises to 2.8 million when the surrounding neighborhoods are included.
Lisbon was severely damaged, by a huge earthquake, in 1755.Some of the old city still survives in the Alfama quarter (located down the southern slope from the castle to the river) with its narrow streets and small squares dating from the Moorish period.It has many Fado bars, restaurants, and small shops with people living above.Historically the poorest area of the city, it has recently been reinvigorated by investment.
Plaza of Commerce and the Plaza of Restaurants are an architecturally impressive result of post-earthquake construction, headed by the Marquis de Pombal (a leading minister of the Crown) whose vision has shaped much of the modern city.
The city is criss-crossed by beautiful boulevards, lined with monuments to Portugal's imperial past (particularly in the upper districts).Architecture is a key feature of Lisbon, and a visit to the Royal Palaces of Necessidades and Ajuda are essential, they are situated in the west of the city.Some more recent architecture can be found in the University of Lisbon and Nations Park areas, as well as the Orient Train Station.
Convent of Carmo: Located in the Santa Maria Maior area, ruined by earthquakes, the site now houses the Carmo Archeological Museum.
The National Coach Museum houses the biggest collection of Royal Coaches in the world.
St George's Castle. A medieval fortress and part of the Lisbon city walls.It latterly fell into disrepair, but has been extensively renovated.Guided tours are available.
Jeronimos Monastery built by King Manuel I. Secular since 1833 and run by a charity, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a wonderful example of Manueline late-Gothic Portuguese architecture. Major exhibitions take place here, and the Monastery also houses the Maritime Museum.
The Tower of Belem at the entrance of the river Tagus was originally a military fortification; it now serves as a monument that guards the gateway to the Atlantic.Like the Monastery, it too is a UNESCO world heritage site.
To the West of the city is Monsanto National Park, the biggest urban park in the world.Other places to see are the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum and the National Museum of Contemporary Art.Go to Bairro Alto for nightlife; with a helping of the traditional music 'Fado,' as well as shopping, housing, and entertainment.You can find many sub-cultures in the diverse range of clubs and bars, much of it from the former Portuguese Empire.Alternatively, try the Alcantara area,  which is famous for its restaurant's, bars, and clubs located on the waterfront in converted warehouses.
Lisbon is great for shopping.Centro Commercio Columbo is the biggest shopping center in Iberia.It can be found in the Carnide district.Chiado area has many small shops selling a range of goods including clothing and pottery, is also home to several theaters and the Opera. It has great coffee shops too.For the bargain hunter, a visit to the Flea market at Campo De Santa Clara is a must !.
For the lovers of churches, the Estrela Basilica (in the district of the same name) is a prime example of 18th-century architecture.Take a stroll through the pretty Estrela Park or see the many historic government buildings in the area. The Se Cathedral houses the bones of the city's Patron Saint, St Vincent of Saragossa.
Belem is on the river.It is from here that the great explorers set off on their voyages.The Belem Tower is its most famous building, sat on the harbor, but the Praca do Imperio is well worth a visit.They are gardens centered on a large fountain; Nearby is the impressive 'Monument to the Discoveries' built for the 1940 Worlds Fair.The most famous 18th-century building is the Aqueduct of Aguas Livres (Free Waters) also housing the Water Museum.It stands 65 meters tall over the Alcantara valley and can be crossed via the Museum.
The Baixa district is the city center, with many elegant streets.It is the first earthquake-resistant area in the world.It is said that the Marquis de Pombal marched hundreds of soldiers up and down the streets to simulate an earthquake until he was satisfied that his designs were structurally sound.
You cannot say you have been to Lisbon unless you have been on one of the city's trademark yellow trams.Originally imported from the U.S.A., they are called the 'Americanos.'. The trams and the 'Gloria' funicular are among the most beloved symbols of Lisbon.
Summer lasts from May to October, and is hottest in August with an average of 28C. Winter averages are 15C.
Portugal is blessed with an excellent Motorway network and high-speed railways, but in Lisbon, there are buses, trams, and funicular to get you about with ease.
It should be noted that Portugal ,in general, is significantly cheaper as a holiday destination than Spain.
Lisbon Airport has many international flights, including from the U.S.A. Go to www.paylessflights.com for all the best flight and Hotel offers.