What does Lisbon have in common with Rome, Seattle, Bath and Amman? The capital of Portugal is built on seven hills by the edge of the Atlantic Ocean which makes it a popular year round destination.
There are ways to minimize cost here. For example, instead of paying for a tour, use public transit. Line 28 takes you by many famous sites for only €1.40 per trip. Obtain tickets from on-board vending machines, but have the correct change. Here's a quick menu of what to see:
Lisbon offers reasonable cafes and restaurants, so try some Portuguese cuisine.
The Chiado area offers traditional food at its best, and Baixa caters to the tourists. In Doca de Santo Amaro and Parque das Nações, familiar chains abound. Try to dine where they play traditional fado music.
Alfama: neighborhood reflects the Muslim presence, with buildings close to each other, and irregular streets.
- Belém: a monument-packed area, featuring Belém Tower (€3), the Jerónimos Monastery, Padrão dos Descobrimentos (€2.5) and the modern Belém Cultural Center with works from Picasso, Dalí, Duchamp, Magritte and Andy Warhol. Stroll through the gardens and enjoy the view of the river. Visit the world's largest collection of coaches and royal vehicles at the Coach Museum (Museu dos Coches).
- Castelo de São Jorge (St. George's Castle), (Walk up hill from Alfama or take bus 37), 9 am - 9 pm (March - October) and 9 am - 6 pm (Nov.-Feb.). A great view of the city and the river. (€5 and student discount available).
- Chiado: an elegant shopping district; view the statue of Fernando Pessoa, Portugal's great modern poet. Walk uphill to Bairro Alto for great city views.
- Downtown (Baixa). Completely rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake.
- Fundação Arpad Szenes / Vieira da Silva, Praça das Amoreiras. Mon-Sat 11 am-7 pm, Sun 10 am - 6 pm. A museum in the restored 18th-century former Royal Silk Factory. (Adults €2.50, students €1.25, under 14 free.
- Gulbenkian Museum, Avenida de Berna, (Metro to Sao Sebastiao or Praca de Espanha Sations), 10 am - 5:45 pm - Closed Mondays. The gardens are worth a visit in themselves. (Entry free for students with ID.) Collection includes paintings by masters, Rembrandt, Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Cassat and the personal collection of Calouste Gulbenkian.
- Hieronymites Monastery: Cristo Rei, (Take ferry to Cacihas from Cais do Sobre & take bus 101). 9 am - 6 pm. This statue stands 100 m tall on the opposite bank of the Tejo River from downtown Lisbon, similar to the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro. (Great views for €4)
- Jardim Zoológico, Estrada De Benfiea (Metro: take Blue Line to the Jardim Zooligico. Buses: 16, 31, 54, 58, 701 and 755. 10 am - 8 pm (March 21 - Sept. 30) and 10 am - 6 pm (Oct. 1 - March 20). Expensive at €15.
- Lisbon metro: a free art gallery with contemporary art reflecting each area.
- Lisbon Botanical Garden, Rua da Escola Politecnia (Metro: Rato Sation). Daily 9 am - 8 pm (Summer) 9 am - 6 pm (Winter). One of the oldest in Europe and first in Portugal. After the 1755 earthquake, the royal family built a new residence at Ajuda plus the lush gardens around it, 10 full acres.
- Parque das Nações, On Ave. Dom Joao II (Metro: Oriente Station. Train: Gare Do Oriente Station.). Built for the 1998 World Expo; has one of the world's largest aquariums (€11.00).
- Ponte 25 de Abril: a sister bridge of San Francisco's Golden Gate, formerly called the Salazar Bridge, and renamed after the "Carnation Revolution," (April 25, 1974) ending a dictatorship.
- Praça do Comércio, (Metro to Terreiro do Paço Station). A wonderful plaza, facing the river known as "Terreiro do Paço," or "Grounds of the Palace."
- Santa Justa's Elevator: located downtown, this elevator was designed by a follower of French engineer Gustav Eiffel. Connects downtown to Trindade. Great views of the city.
Lisbon's refurbished metro is quick and efficient. Single trip tickets within Zone 1 (covers most of the city) cost €0.80; you can purchase a 10 trip card for 6.50 Euros or the all-day (until 1 AM) pass which costs 4.00 Euros. There is an extensive bus and electrico (tram) network; purchase 7 Colinas card, also valid on the metro. (€0.50). A car in the city means hours in traffic jams. Use public transit. Because it's close to the ocean, weather changes quickly, so bring a jacket or an umbrella.
The Lisboa Ask Me Centre (9 AM - 8 PM daily) help you find accommodation. Smaller kiosks are in the Rossio district and airport with multilingual staff who also provide maps and brochures. The Lisboa Card, purchased from tourist information outlets, offers free use of all public transport in the city and free or reduced price tickets to many museums, galleries and tourist attractions. They can be purchased in 24 hour (adult / child: €14.85 / €7.50), 48 hour (€25.50 / €12.75) and 72 hour (€31.00 / €15.50) denominations. Unless you visit a lot of museums, think twice.
Portugal's airport, Aeroporto da Portela, is located between Loures and Lisbon and linked to city center by an Aerobus (line 91; €3.50) every 20 minutes from 7 AM - 9 PM and bus lines 5, 8, 22, 44, 45, 83 (board fare €1,35 or 7 Colinas) Taxis cost about €10 from the airport to the city center.
Adam Southwood writes for Canadian, U.S. and European magazines and newspapers. He is a graduate of both McMaster University in Hamilton and UWO in London with an interest in culture and history. He has produced several educational programs for TV.
Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/
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