Lisbon, Europe’s most southerly capital, seat of explorers and discoverers, is so packed with monuments and world-class museums you’ll want to visit it again and again. An intriguing blend of past and present, with ultra-modern buildings at the Parque das Nações contrasting with baroque and art nouveau mansions set beneath cloudless blue skies.
This cultural melting pot with African, Indian, Asian influences is perched above the Tagus estuary, with its landmark 25th April suspension bridge and Christ the King Statue dominating the city. In summer Lisbon’s Largo do Camões and Praça do Comércio squares are full of flower stalls while in winter the streets are marked with the smell of roasted chestnuts. The narrow, winding cobbled allies of Bairro Alto are full of trendy bars, fusion restaurants, concept cafés and off-the-wall boutiques waiting to be explored.
The Moorish influenced Alfama with brightly painted houses and flower filled windows, leads up to the city’s impressive São Jorge Castle and battlements from which you can admire the view of the straight, wide streets of the city’s downtown Baixa set out by the Marquis de Pombal following Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 before cooling off by dancing fountains in Rossio and strolling up the city’s fashionable main thoroughfare of Avenida da Liberdade with its designer shops, five-star hotels and majestic buildings echoing Lisbon’s colonial past. Along the riverfront at Belém are magnificent Manuelian Monastery of Jéronimos , charming pink Presidential Palace, the Monument to the Discoveries and the Renaissance Belém Tower set in a river-side park. Further along the coast a short train ride will take you to some of the region’s finest sandy beaches and upmarket resorts at Estoril and Cascais and on to the lush, castle filled town of Sintra and nearby fishing villages of Sessimbra and Setúbal.
Welcome to Lisbon, a city packed with so many fine hotels, restaurants, modern shopping centres and world-class museums that you’ll wonder why on earth you never visited sooner.