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Lisbon Maps & Attractions Guide




Lisbon maps & Attractions - Things to do in Lisbon


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Lisbon Attractions - Things to do

1. Castelo de Sao Jorge

What is it? The walls of Saint George's Castle, sitting atop a hill guarding the Tagus, date from the Moorish occupation in the 10th century, but the site has been a fortress for centuries, possibly since the 5th century. The castle is regarded as the cradle of Lisbon, and today it provides a panoramic view of the River Tagus and the Alfama medieval district, which is spread out below it. Visitors can walk the esplanades and climb the ramparts. A multimedia show is available during the day which brings alive the history of Lisbon. The castle grounds are planted with olive, pine and cork trees and provide a pleasant spot to relax. Hours of Operation: Daily 9am to 9pm (April to September), and 9am to 6pm (October to March) Phone:21 887 7244
2. Alfama

What is it? The oldest part of Lisbon, the Alfama quarter sprawls down the hillside from below the Castelo de Sao Jorge, retaining much of the traditional colour and atmosphere from the days when it was the ancient seat of the Saracens. Along the narrow cobblestone alleyways are taverns and street markets, interspersed with close-packed houses still occupied by stevedores, fishmongers and sailors. At the edge of the Alfama, Lisbon's renowned flea market, the Feira da Ladra, is held in the Campo de Santa Clara every Tuesday and Saturday. The Alfama is also full of historic buildings and churches, which are well worth exploring. Some of the buildings display fading coats of arms, which bear testimony to the fact that the Alfama was once home to aristocrats. At night the Alfama takes on a more mysterious aspect with street lanterns throwing shadows on the medieval walls, and it is advisable to avoid the area after dark in favour of the Bairro Alto café and nightclub district. Hours of Operation: Phone:
3. Sé (Cathedral)

What is it? Although this cathedral in Largo da Se in the Alfama district is not outwardly appealing, it was the first church in Lisbon, built on the site of a Saracen mosque after the city was captured by the Crusaders in the 12th century. Inside, this ancient church features some treasures, like the font where St Anthony of Padua was baptised in 1195, and numerous notable relics, images and icons. Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 7pm, Sunday and Monday 9am to 5pm Phone:21 886 6752
4. Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Museum
Avenue de Berna 45A
What is it? Gulbenkian was an Armenian oil magnate who died in 1955 having put together one of the world's finest private art collections. The collection is now housed in a modern centre where the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation sponsors a host of cultural and performing arts projects, and hosts a rotating exhibition of works by Portuguese and foreign artists. The Gulbenkian collection itself covers Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, Islamic ceramics and textiles, Syrian treasures, Chinese ceramics, Japanese prints and lacquerware and European medieval illuminated manuscripts. The collection is so vast and varied as to be breathtaking. Among the paintings are two Rembrandts, a Rubens and a Renoir. Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5.45pm Phone:21 782 3000
5. The Bairro Alto

What is it? The Bairro Alto district (literally the Upper City) is, like the Alfama, an historic enclave dating from 1513, which is reached in a novel way via the Santa Justa Elevator (a structure reminiscent of the Eiffel tower in Paris) from the lower city. The colourful district resounds to the calls of vendors and fishmongers, and the windows and balconies are festooned with laundry and bird cages. At night the area comes alive with some of the finest fado cafes in the city, along streets lit by Victorian lanterns. Fado is the famous brand of music and dance brought to Portugal by African slaves in the 19th century, characterised by songs of sadness and despair, and there is no better place in Portugal to experience this musical genre than in the Bairro Alto of Lisbon. Hours of Operation: Phone:
6. Monument to the Discoveries

What is it? One of the most famous sights in Lisbon is the imposing monument, situated on the riverbank in the Avenida de Brasilia in the district of Belem, designed to commemorate the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Belem, where the Tagus meets the sea, is the point from which the maritime explorers of yore set forth in their sailing ships to discover the world. The monument was unveiled in 1960 on the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1460, the monarch who was largely responsible for Portugal's role in world exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries. The massive monument takes the form of a caravel with Prince Henry at the prow, backed by images of renowned mariners, royal patrons and others who participated in the golden age of discovery. Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am to 5pm (September to June), 9.30am to 9pm (July and August) Phone:21 303 1950
7. Tower of Belem
Avenida de Brasilia
What is it? The famous Tower of Belem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of Lisbon's most photographed landmarks because of the decoration on its exterior. The outer walls are adorned with a stone-carved rope and beautiful openwork balconies, along with Moorish watchtowers and battlements shaped like shields. The tower was built in the 16th century to serve as a fortress in the middle of the River Tagus. Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm (October to April), 10am to 6.30pm (May to September) Phone:21 362 0034
8. Parque das Nacoes
Avenue D. João II, Lote
What is it? Lisbon's exhibition park was upgraded and renamed for the Expo '98 world exposition, which revitalised the city and brought international tourists and interest flooding in. The site is now worthy of a full day's sightseeing, featuring several attractions, not least of which is the Lisbon Oceanarium with its 15,000 living examples of marine life. The main tank holds enough water to fill four Olympic-sized swimming pools, and is viewed from two floors through curved glass panels that provide a 180-degree view. Another popular diversion is the Virtual Reality Pavilion, which showcases the Portuguese age of discovery. Other attractions include a science centre, cable car, the Vasco da Gama Tower and numerous bars and restaurants offering Portuguese cuisine. Hours of Operation: Oceanarium: daily 10am to 8pm (until 7pm in winter) Phone:21 891 9333 or 21 891 9898
9. Fatima

What is it? In 1917 the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared above an oak tree and spoke to three peasant children in the valley of Cova da Iria, 88 miles (142km) north of Lisbon. The children claimed to have seen the apparition on five different occasions, and the spot has now become one of the great pilgrimage shrines of the world, known as Fatima. Between May and October the 13th day of every month is pilgrimage day, when hundreds of the faithful gather in a square twice the size of St Peter's in Rome before the Chapel of the Apparitions. The original oak tree is gone, but has been replaced by a simple white column inside a basilica, which is flanked by statues of the saints. Hours of Operation: Phone:
10. Setubal

What is it? A popular touring destination 25 miles (40km) south of Lisbon is Setubal, one of Portugal's oldest cities, renowned for producing the most delicious muscadel wine in the world. The city is also the centre of Portugal's sardine industry, and has been a fish-salting centre since the 1st century. White mounds of sea salt drying in the sun are a familiar part of the local landscape. There are some outstanding beaches near the city and some pretty countryside dotted with orange groves, orchards and vineyards. Hours of Operation: Phone:265 539 120 (Setubal Tourist Office)

Lisbon Holidays guide


Transport -Public transport is inexpensive and useful for negotiating the hills between attractions.


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