About Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is the oldest state on the Iberian Peninsula, situated at the south-west point of Europe and bordered by Spain. It has a mild climate, with 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and 850 kms of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. Portugal has a population of roughly 10 million people, with Portuguese being the widely spoken language.
Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal and is known as one of the oldest cities in the world.
Legends proclaim that Lisbon was founded by Greek traveler and hero Ulysses, while returning from the Trojan War. In reality, records go as far back as 1200 B.C.
Interesting facts about Lisbon
In 1755 an earthquake and tsunami totally destroyed Lisbon.
The Marquis of Pombal was responsible for the reconstruction of the city. A beautiful statue of the Marquis stands in one of Lisbon’s most famous roundabouts, to symbolize his contribution to the city.
Fado is the musical expression of Lisbon and Portugal, derived from the Latin word “fatum” - destiny. One can walk into a typical fado restaurant and dine while enjoying a live performance, from one of many locally acclaimed artists.
The oldest bookstore in the world is in Portugal’s capital. It is called Livraria Bertrand, and opened in 1731.
The Tagus is the longest river in the Iberian Peninsula, flowing 626 miles (1,007 Km) from Spain, washing into the Atlantic Ocean, from Lisbon.
Lisbon’s Vasco da Gama Bridge is the longest bridge in Europe. The world record for the largest dining table was set when 15,000 people were served lunch on the bridge as part of the inauguration celebrations.
About Parque das Nações (The Park of Nations), also known as “Expo”
In 1998, Lisbon hosted the World Exhibition - Expo ’98, a celebration of the Oceans and 500 years of the Portuguese discoveries. The “Expo” was a desolated industrial wasteland, which the event transformed into the city’s largest renovation project since the rebuilding that followed the 1755 earthquake.
Things to Do In Lisbon
Castle of São Jorge
The highest point in the city, set amongst the most typical of neighbourhoods. The Castle hosted the 2013 cycle of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. This is a unique opportunity to feel and understand the city’s relationship with the river Tagus.
Terreiro do Paço
The largest square in Lisbon and one of the most iconic symbols of the city and its rebuilding after the great earthquake of 1755.
Santa Justa Elevator
You’ll see it while ambling through the downtown district. It offers enviable views over the old part of Lisbon. Designed by Ponsard, a disciple of the great master of iron works, Gustave Eiffel, more than a hundred years ago.
Jerónimos Monastery and the Tower of Belém
Lisbon has two unique monuments which are World Heritage sites. Both of these monuments are jewels of the Gothic Manueline style.
Oceanarium in the Parque das Nações
The Parque das Nações is a success story in the revitalisation of an industrial area in a trendy waterfront location. It is worth visiting the Oceanarium, one of the largest in Europe, where you can appreciate the flora and fauna of the various oceans of our planet.
National Tile Museum and the Coach Museum
These two museums are unequalled anywhere in the world. One tells the story of the tile in Portugal from its first uses on 16th century walls to the present day; the other has an unrivalled collection of carriages, with fine examples from the 18th century, exuberantly decorated with paintings and gild work.
Ismaili Centre Lisbon
Known locally as the Centro Ismaili, the architectural concept of the Ismaili Centre, Lisbon, constitutes a geometric fusion of gardens and courtyards as well as buildings embodying in hewn stone surfaces, polished tile and delicately balanced cupolas, to create a permanent multi-cultural and multi-functional complex. Tours of the Ismaili Centre Lisbon will be offered throughout the Diamond Jubilee Celebration, and can be reserved here: http://jubilee.blueticket.pt
Other things to do in Lisbon:
Cristo Rei Statue
Sintra: World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Walk along the waterfront, past Vasco da Gama tower, to Vasco da Gama bridge.
Pavilion of Knowledge & Science, a cutting edge experience for children
Oriente Railway Station, designed by Calatrava
Portugal Pavilion, a gravity-defying structure by Siza Vieira
Travel silently on the cable car
For more information on Portugal and Lisbon please visit: https://www.visitportugal.com/en
Portugal has lots of fresh seafood. Among the signature national dishes is bacalhau, dried salted codfish. While it can be prepared in many ways, one of the most traditional ways to prepare it is Bacalhau à Brás, scrambled eggs with olives and fried potatoes.
Similarly, Arroz de Marisco is an abundance of prawns, clams and other seafood, all cooked beautifully with rice, vegetables and herbs. It is similar to Spanish paella. Generally, rice and meats are very popular and consumed in high volumes in Lisbon. Also popular in Lisbon is the piri piri chicken, which comes from Portugal’s former colonies in Africa, using the tasty piri piri pepper. The summer in Lisbon is known for fresh sardines, too!
Finally, the Pastéis de Nata is a golden puff pastry circle with a barely firm rich egg custard in the middle. This pastry can be found at Pastéis de Belém, most famously, and is commonly enjoyed with a cup of coffee.
Typically, restaurants are open for lunch between noon and 3 PM, and for dinner between 7 PM and 10 PM. However, most have longer working hours. It is advisable to always make a reservation in advance, especially if you are travelling in a large group. In shopping centres, the Food Courts are open every day.
Your restaurant bill will include the service charge. However, it is customary to leave a symbolic tip.
Traditionally, street shops are open Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 7 PM. Shopping centres are open everyday from 10 AM to 12 AM.