Being a capital of Portugal - once a world-class colonial superpower, says enough about this city on its own. Still today all over Lisbon (Lisboa in Portuguese) there are many reminders of this once glorious past. Wealth flowing in from many colonies and successful spice trade with far east resulted in many magnificent buildings for us to admire today.
Strangely, despite all of that and also being very affordable, it is not as popular as many other European capital cities - unduly so if you ask me.
There would be many more magnificent buildings but unfortunately the 1755 Lisbon earthquake destroyed 85% of city's structures. Even before that time the city had quite a "ground-shaking" history.
The city itself is very old - archeological finds suggest the area was populated even before first millennium BC. Phoenician influences date back to 1200 BC but it really started to prosper during the Roman times.
Today it is a city with a population of around 550.000 within its administrative limits and over 3 million in a wider metropolitan area.
Lisbon is also called The City of Seven Hills - like many other great cities, it is built on seven hills. Rome probably being the most famous of those, the list of cities built on seven hills stretches to 60.
There are many attractions scattered among those 7 hills. We tried to visit at least some of them in our 4 days there.
These things made it onto our list:
- walks around various city districts (Alfama, Baixa, Bairro Alto, Belém, Chiado, Estrela),
- Jerónimos Monastery,
- Torre de Belém and the Discoveries Monument,
- a panoramic ride on the Tram 28,
- Castelo de Sao Jorge,
- Oceanario de Lisboa,
- Fado music experience,
- Basilica da Estrela,
- Elevador de Santa Justa,
- a trip to Sintra,
- a trip to Cabo da Roca.
There are also many great museums worth looking into (Gulbenkian Museum, National Tile Museum, National Coach Museum, etc.). In addition to those, there are also many great parks worth checking out (e.g. Parque das Nacoes) and many other interesting places. I will try to share some useful information about the most interesting attractions from the above list in the next few posts.