Monday 31 December 2012

What to see and do in Lisbon?

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.


Friday 28 December 2012

Why visit Lisbon?

As I already mentioned a while ago I recently decided it was time to visit a nearby destination with at least a bit warmer climate (I announced the trip here). This was not a very challenging task, since we have recently had some periods of really low temperature in Slovenia - it dropped even below 20 degrees Celsius in some parts of the country during a couple of nights.

The destination of choice for this time was Lisbon - the capital of Portugal. We flew in from Venice.

Usually getting from any airport to a larger city center can be a bit of a challenge or at least prove to be quite an expensive thing to do. In Lisbon this is definitely not the case. Since the last stretch of subway (Metropolitano de Lisboa) was completed at the end of summer 2012 it is a really easy and cheap thing to do in Lisbon.

A one way metro ticket (to anywhere within the city) only costs €1,25 which is really affordable. The only thing you have to take care about are the metro working hours (every day from 06:30 till 01:00).
Our plane landed quite late in the evening, but we still had plenty of time to get to the hostel we were staying in.

There is one thing I should probably mention about hostels in Lisbon - there seem to be many of really good ones available at more then affordable prices. We started our search for a hostel with Hostelworld's 2012 Hoscar Awards.

As we learned there are surprisingly many Lisbon hostels on that world's top list in almost every category. We checked out feedback on a few of those and in the end chose the Lisbon Destination Hostel, which actually didn't make it to those top 10 lists. Affordable price, very positive overall feedback and top location were the things that had the most to do with our decision. In the end we were really happy with our choice - it provided everything we needed and more. I really recommend it!

Lisbon Destination Hostel is actually located inside Rossio train station. This might seem odd, but it is a magnificent old building in the very center of Lisbon. I was afraid there might be some noise and vibrations coming from trains, but we did not notice anything. A pleasant surprise really.

Apart from good accommodation we liked almost everything else about the city. It was quite affordable and there is a lot to see and do. Also food and wine was my kind of thing - I loved almost everything I tasted. The fact I love seafood definitely helped.
For more information about food and great Port wine I tasted for the first time, you will have to wait for one of my following posts.

Actually the only thing that did not meet my expectations was the weather. I was hoping for a dry holiday with as much sun as possible, but got mostly rain.
At least the last two days were pretty sunny. That allowed me to take at least a few nice photos.


Wednesday 26 December 2012

Which airline hobbits fly?

Obviously it is Air New Zealand! This video commercial is just one of many similar tries by New Zealand to attract more tourists with the help of popular Lord of the rings and Hobbit movies.

What’s the best way to get to Middle-earth? Fly, you fools, fly!

That is just one of cool quotes used in a video commercial for Air New Zealand. The video presents An Unexpected Safety Briefing in the most entertaining way.

Besides a good looking elf-eared attendant also many dwarves, orcs, hobbits, elves, wizards and Sauron himself can be seen on board a Boeing 777 on their way to Middle-earth. Tolkien's great-grandsons, Hobbit‘s Fili the Dwarf and even movie director Peter Jackson all appear in the commercial. Oh, and let us not forget the Gollum. Enjoy!

There is also a behind the scenes video available here.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Label Cloud


Blog Archive