Hotels in Lisbon Area
Castelo de São Jorge (Castle of St George)
The Castle of St George is perched on the highest of Lisbon’s seven hills, high above the Baixa and the Mouraria (the Moorish Quarter). The site was occupied by Romans, Visigoths and Moors and was the royal residence until the late 15th century – it was rebuilt in the 1940s. Within the castle, tourists can visit multimedia presentations or just wander around the walls, towers and gardens. During summer, there are frequent festivals in the castle grounds. There is also a small restaurant (summer only). Perhaps the greatest attraction is the panoramic view from the ramparts.

Largo do Chäo da Feira
Tel: (21) 887 7244.
Opening hours: Daily 0900-2100 (Apr-Sep); daily 0900-1800 (Oct-Mar).
Free admission.

Tram 28
The legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction within itself. Vintage trams still ply the well-worn route from the city centre on sea level, right up through the jumble of streets towards the heights of the Castle of St George. On the way, the tram slices open the city, providing insights into the Lisbon way of life, as well as offering sweeping views back towards the city and out over the River Tagus. One word of warning – the tram is increasingly as popular with pickpockets as it is with savvy tourists.

Campo Ourique-Martim Moniz
Tel: (21) 361 3000.
Opening hours: Daily 0600-0100.
Admission charge.

Torre de Belém (Belém Tower)
One of the city’s most famous sights is more impressive on the outside than it is on the inside. This white stone tower (built in the early 16th century to defend the river) was the last thing that the seafaring adventurers saw before setting off on their epic adventures. It is an excellent example of the Manueline style of architecture, with fanciful naval themes. A gangway leads to a very average museum within the tower.

Avenida de Brasília
Tel: (21) 362 0034.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (Oct-Apr); Tues-Sun 1000-1830 (May-Sep), closed Mon.
Admission charge.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Hieronimite Monastery)
This 16th-century monastery is one of the few surviving examples of medieval Manueline architecture (named after Manuel I and featuring naval motifs) and is listed, along with the Torre de Belém, as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is also the resting place of Vasco da Gama and the nation’s most famous writer, Luís de Camões.

Praça do Império
Tel: (21) 362 0034.
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 1000-1700 (Oct-Apr); Tues-Sun 1000-1830 (May-Sep), closed Mon.
Admission charge.

Parque das Nações (Nations Park)
The former Expo 98 site has been converted into a leisure oasis, with a shopping centre, a string of attractions, concert halls, bars, restaurants and a walkway along the River Tagus. The Torre Vasco da Gama (the site’s landmark tower and Lisbon’s tallest building) has an observation platform and restaurant, two-thirds of the way up. The Oceanário (one of Europe’s largest aquariums) has huge pools that are home to manta rays, penguins and sharks, as well as adorable otters floating around on their backs. Designed for all manner of public events, the Pavilhão Atlântico (Atlantic Pavilion) is a highly successful venue for concerts, fairs and other functions, which hosted the 2005 MTV Europe Music Awards. The waterside cable car, connecting the tower and oceanarium, offers excellent views over the site. Summer weekends are best avoided for visits, however, as every family in Portugal seems to descend on the site. A three-day cartão do parque (park card), entitles visitors to discounted admission to many of the park’s attractions, as well as discounts in shops, restaurants and car parks.

Parque das Nações
Tel: (21) 891 9333.
Opening hours: Daily 24 hours.
Free admission.

Pavilhão Atlântico (Atlantic Pavilion)
Rossio dos Olivais
Tel: (21) 891 8409.
Opening hours: Daily 1300-1900 (ticket office).
Free admission; event prices vary.

Cable Car
Between Torre Vasco da Gama and the Marina locks
Tel: (21) 895 6143.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 1100-1900, Sat-Sun 1000-2000 (Oct-May); Mon-Fri 1100-2000, Sat-Sun 1000-2100 (Jun-Sep).
Admission charge.

Esplanada D Carlos I-Doca dos Olivais
Tel: (21) 891 7002/6.
Opening hours: Daily 1000-2000 (summer), 1000-1900 (winter).
Admission charge.

Torre Vasco da Gama
Cais das Naus
Tel: (21) 891 8000.
Opening hours: Daily 1000-2000.
Admission charge.

Museu Calouste Gulbenkian (Calouste Gulbenkian Museum)
This treasure house of art, covering almost every significant epoch, benefited greatly from a major revamp at the start of the new millennium. Egyptian, Greco-Roman, Islamic and Oriental art comprise half the exhibition rooms and the remainder is devoted to European art from medieval times to the early 20th century. The sequence continues with the foundation’s Centro de Arte Moderna, which is part of the same complex.

Avenida de Berna 45
Tel: (21) 782 3461/3450.
Opening hours: Tues-Sun 1000-1800.
Admission charge.

Centro Cultural de Belém (Belém Cultural Centre)
This modern complex is home to the Museu do Design (Museum of Design) as well as performance and exhibition spaces. The museum features 20th-century design (divided into ‘luxury’, ‘pop’ and ‘cool’ themes) supplemented by temporary exhibitions. The courtyards and rooftop gardens make a great place to relax in between sightseeing.

Praça do Império
Tel: (21) 361 2400.
Opening hours: Daily 0800-2130 (Cultural Centre); Tues-Sun 1000-1900 (Museum of Design).
Admission charge.

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art)
Essentially Portugal’s national gallery, this museum’s collections of painting and sculpture date from the 12th century and include a wide range of works by Portuguese and international artists.

Rua das Janelas Verdes 9
Tel: (21) 391 2800.
Opening hours: Tues 1400-1800, Wed-Sun 1000-1300 and 1400-1800.
Admission charge.

Sé (Cathedral)
Built by Dom Alfonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king, in the 12th century, Lisbon’s cathedral is primarily Romanesque in style, although later styles were incorporated when earthquake damage was repaired. The cloister dates from the 13th century, while the Baroque sacristy houses the remains of St Anthony (Lisbon’s patron saint) and other treasures. The cathedral also houses a small museum.

Largo da Sé
Tel: (21) 886 6752.
Opening hours: Tues-Sat 1000-1700.
Free admission; charge for cloister and treasury.

Aqueduto Das Águas Livres (Águas Livres Aqueduct)
The impressive Aqueduto das Águas Livres achieved the much-deserved status of a national monument in February 2002. The aqueduct’s startling Baroque stone arches were erected by architects Manuel da Maia and Custodio José Vieira in 1748; they survived the 1755 earthquake, which rocked and all but crumbled the city. The 18km (11-mile) journey makes this an attraction only for those with a keen interest in architecture.

Largo do Rato
Free admission.
View Our Airport Guides for Lisbon:
Lisbon Portela Airport

  • The dramatic setting of Lisbon on a series of steep hills at the estuary of the River Tagus (Tio Tejo) ensures that any visit to the city will have a sense of excitement. Ascend the highest of the seven hills surrounding the city and discover the magnificent 12th-century Castle of St George with its 10 towers. Back in town, check out the fabulous Lisbon Cathedral built at the same time as the castle. The exhibition grounds of 'Expo '98', known as the Park of Nations, are still worth exploring. So is the riverside suburb of Belém where the ships of Vasco da Gama and other famous explorers were launched in the 15th and 16th centuries. The attractions here include the strikingly beautiful Torre de Belém and the architectural wonder that is the Monastery of the Hieronymites at the entrance to the harbour, both of which are World Heritage Sites.

  • Experience the magic of Sintra (also a World Heritage Site), a mountain town full of palaces 25km (15 miles) from Lisbon. A site for lunar cults in ancient times, it boasts the former summer residence of the Portuguese royal family and the beautiful Monserrate gardens.

  • Go further inland and discover Évora, a virtual museum of a town that reached its golden age in the 15th century, when it became the residence of the Portuguese kings. Its monuments had a profound influence on Portuguese architecture in Brazil.

  • Head north for the Monastery of Batalha (Mosteiro de Santa Maria), another UNESCO World Heritage Site and a breathtaking example of Portuguese Gothic and Manueline architecture, built to commemorate the victory of King João I over a Castilian army in 1385.

  • Not far away is the Monastery of Santa Maria d'Alcobaça, which was founded in the 12th century by King Alfonso I. This is a masterpiece of Cistercian Gothic art.

  • Explore medieval history at its most intriguing at the Knights Templar castle and town of Tomar built in the 12th century.

  • Porto is the second-largest city in Portugal. It was nominated European City of Culture for 2001 and the historical centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are several attractions to explore; the Stock Exchange Palace, the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral, the church of Cedofeita (Romanesque), the Clérigos tower (Porto's ex-libris of Baroque architecture). The old waterfront, known as the Cais da Ribeira, caters for tourists with cafes, restaurants and an open-air market.

  • Take the trip north-east from Porto to Guimarães, Portugal's medieval capital. An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a Medieval settlement into a modern town, it boasts a fine castle, the former palace of the Dukes of Bragança, as well as some attractive squares and churches.

  • Vila Nova de Foz Côa is the place to go for visits to Côa Archaeological Park where along the Côa River an exceptional concentration of rock carvings from the Upper Palaeolithic period (22,000–10,000 B.C.) constitutes what UNESCO has called the most outstanding example of early human artistic activity in this form anywhere in the world.

  • Coimbra in the Beiras region is one of Europe’s oldest university towns. Here students can be heard singing the soulful tones of the 'fado de Coimbra' (traditional song sung to the sound of guitars) in between visits to the university’s sumptuous Baroque library. In the adjacent quarters stand the Old Cathedral (Romanesque) and the Machado de Castro Museum, built over a Roman cryptoportico. 10 miles to the south lies Conímbriga, the most important Roman remains in Portugal.

Tourist Information
Portuguese Trade and Tourism Office in the UK (ICEP)
Portuguese Embassy, 11 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PP, UK
Tel: (0845) 355 1212 (brochure request and information service; local call rate).

Portuguese Trade and Tourism Office (ICEP)
590 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10036, USA
Tel: (212) 723 0200/99.

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