Lisbon is the largest city and the capital of Portugal. It has an approximate population of 547,631 and is sprawled over an area of 84.8 square kilometers. Lisbon is considered to be the second oldest capital of Europe, after Athens. Formerly, it was home to some great explorers including Prince Henry and Vasco da Gama. The city is also known as a global city chiefly due to its significance in commerce, finance, entertainment, media, arts, tourism, education, and international trade.
Located on the right-hand side of the River Tagus, Lisbon is centrally located in Portugal. It is located in the southwestern region of Europe and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and south and Spain on the east and north. It lies approximately 400 km from Spain’s northern border and 300 km from the southern region, the Algarve.
How to reach (transport) :
Flights are the most convenient way to reach Lisbon, though you can also avail of overnight trains from Madrid. However, by train, you may take as long as 10 hours to reach the city. Most of the prominent European airlines fly to this city including Lufthansa, Air France, and British Airways. The national Portuguese airline connects the city to other European cities and to the United States. You can avail of regular flights from New York (Newark Liberty International Airport) as well as from Miami. Lisbon Airport is approximately 9 km from the city center. Hence, you can avail of the metro, taxi, or bus from the airport to reach your desired destination in the city.
By Metro :
To reach the city center quickly from the airport, there can be no better option than the airport. The airport is well connected to the Metro Red Line and through the same, you can reach the Saldanha station within 15 minutes.
By Taxi :
Outside the arrivals exit, you can stand in queue and catch a cab. But then, you may have to wait for quite some time, particularly if a busy flight has landed or in case too many flights have arrived at the same time. You can collect a Taxi voucher from the Tourist Information Desk in exchange for a small fee.
By Bus :
There are special airport buses that run to and fro from the city center. These buses also have racks where you can keep your luggage with ease. The aerobus 1 usually departs from the Arrivals Hall exit and halts at several spots like the Avenida da Liberdade, Entrecampos , Marques de Pombal, Saldanha, Rossio and Cais do Sodre. Aerobus 2 runs at a regular interval of 30 minutes and covers destinations like Sete Rios, Avenida Jose Malhoa and the Praca de Espanha.
When to visit :
The best time to plan for a Lisbon tour is either from September to October or from March to May. The weather conditions during these months are warm and pleasant. Moreover, you will also find fewer crowds and affordable stay options during these months.
Culture (fairs and festivals) and traditions :
Lisbon is home to various fairs and festivals including :
- The Alkantara Festival is celebrated every two years in the month of May. This festival showcases the performing arts of the city and also welcomes global artists so as to help the locals get an idea about the unitary image of sundry cultures. On this day, the streets are full of life with gleaming parks and squares, lively music and not to mention dance shows.
- Celebrated in July, Delta Tejo houses three days of live music from Brazilian groves to fado and reggae.
- Held at Eduardo VII Park, The Lisbon Book Fair is perhaps the oldest cultural festival in Portugal. It is organized in the month of May and was first initiated in the 1930s. Since then, there has been no change in the location of the book fair. Here you can get hold of rare and old volumes and that too at a generous discount.
- Celebrated in June, the Lisbon Village Festival is a well-known cultural event that houses various attractions like art exhibitions, musical performances, and an international digital cinema festival.
Lisbon has the perfect combination of heritage, culture, and nightlife. The chief points of interest here include:
- Belem is the historic hub of the city and houses the Discovery Monument, Jeronimos Monastery, and Torre de Belem.
- Located at the central hub of Alfama, the Castelo Sao Jorge (Castle of St. George) will take you back to the glorious Moorish reign. Everything about this castle is fascinating, starting from the towers to the ambiance. Moreover, if you climb the towers, you will also get an excellent view of the complete city with its red-tile roofed constructions.
- Your trip to Lisbon is incomplete without a night spent at any of the local fado clubs. After all, nothing can be more reminiscent than enjoying a fancy dinner with live Fado music being played in the background.
- To get some remarkable views of the Portuguese coast, ensure to make your way to the Cabo da Roca.
For your vacation to end in perfection, you should try out some of the best stay options in Lisbon. If you are not budget constrained, then hotels like Olissippo Lapa Palace, Hotel Avenida Palace, Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisboa, Altis Belem, Pestana Palace Hotel & National Monument, and Tiara Park Atlantic Lisboa work well. On the other hand, if you don’t want to spend too much on a lavish stay but then at the same time are eyeing some decent options, then hotels like Pensao Residencial Portuense, Hotel Ibis Lisboa Jose Malhoa, Pensao Praca da Figueira, and Pensao Londres seem most suitable.