Most of the best sights, restaurants and nightlife are situated along the river. There are plenty of things to do and see in Lisbon. Below are a few suggestions on how to spend your time here:
Castelo de São Jorge is one of the oldest structures in Lisbon. This was once a fortress (taken by the Moors in 1147), and now a must-see landmark with fantastic views of the city.
In Belém, situated west of the city along the river, lies Lisbon’s and possibly Portugal’s most important historical monument. Here you can see an opulent church and cloistered garden built in the elegant Manuelian style at the beginning of the 16th century when Portugal was a great sea-going power. There are several other sights close by.
National Tile Museum is devoted to the tiles which are so typical in Portugal, housed in a monastery whose varying building styles and decoration gives a good summary of the country’s history. One of the high points is an enormous tiled fresco which shows Lisbon as it was just before the big earthquake in 1755.
The largest single cultural institution in Portugal was founded in 1955 when Calouste Gulbenkian, the Armenian oil millionaire, donated his estate to the country that had welcomed him during World War II. The museum, constructed in 1969, which houses his extensive collections, is part of a larger complex that includes concert halls, a park, restaurants and a museum of modern art.
The area where Expo 98 was held has been successfully transformed into a centre for exhibitions, leisure and culture. The extensive amount of building since the Expo almost overshadows pearls such as Siza Vieira’s Portugal pavilion and Santiago Calatrava’s adjacent Oriente Station.
This is one of the biggest aquariums in Europe and it shows more than 100 different species. Some of the animals that are exposed here are barracudas, tuna, sharks, rays and one of the most popular attractions is a large sunfish. This is an adventure for all ages.
When you are tired of the city vibe and long for the sea, surfing could be a good way to relax and do something else for a while a while. One of the surfing companies located in the city is Epic Surf School, which holds courses for both beginners and advanced.
The Jesuits built this church in 1574 and its interior is breathtaking. One of the world’s most expensive chapels, covered in gemstones, marble, mosaics, gold, silver and bronze, is to be found here. It was built by 130 artists in Rome, and then transported to Lisbon after the blessing of the pope.