Lisbon – Sunshine Capital of Portugal

/Lisbon – Sunshine Capital of Portugal


Lisbon is Europe’s westernmost and sunniest capital of Portugal. The city of Lisbon has over the centuries seen a number of different far off cultures. Belem in Lisbon attracts the tourists with all its monumental World Heritage Sites. Lisbon has it all within itself. History, art and lovely beaches along the coastline with sprawling villas, beach resorts and golf courses. There are world-renowned surfing beaches in Lisbon.

Lisbon is a global city, and the tourists on a visit to Portugal cannot miss coming to Lisbon. The heart of Lisbon is Baixa the city center. Belem is famous for its voyages of discoveries, and it is a district in Lisbon that is most visited by tourists.

In Portugal, the Lisbon region is the wealthiest. The transport system in Lisbon is well placed and structured with buses, trams, trains and bridges. Lisbon is a rich architectural city. Lisbon is surely not far from sports and has hosted many matches and championships. Soon the city will host the 2014 UEFA Championship league Final. Sports such as football, handball, rugby, roller hockey are popular in Lisbon.

Lisbon highlights the unique beauty of Portugal. The tourists enjoy the calm natural serene surroundings of Lisbon. It throws open to its visitors a wide array of different experiences.

Top Ten Lisbon Sights

Castle of St. George

Castle of St. George revolves around cultural diversity, changes and adaptations. Lisbon is the place where at this castle the Portuguese Knight Martin Moni sacrificed his life to enable Christians to enter the castle. Lisbon was first in the hands of the Moors. They erected many castles and left a mark on Portugal. The Castle of St. George was abandoned by the royal family as they shifted to the Ribeira Palace. The castle now has a restaurant and a museum.

The castle is on a hill in Lisbon. You get marvelous views over the city and the Tagus River. You may be surprised to see open areas with peacocks, stalls with artistic works and handmade souvenirs. You enter the main structure crossing a drawbridge. The royal treasure is in the tower of Ulysses. From the castle, using Leonardo da Vinci’s camera, you can get a fantastic 360 degree view of Lisbon city. The tourists visit the Palace Tower moving ahead to find the Tower of St. Lawrence and the Tower of Cistern used for collecting rain water. Do visit within the walled area of the citadel the famous Moniz Gate.

Santa Justa Lift

This is an elevator made of iron. It was built in the 19th century. It is in the center of Lisbon and has a Gothic look. The lift is a tourist attraction in Lisbon. Climbing steep hills prior to the lift was a problem for the people of Lisbon.

Santa Justa Lift was the work of a Portuguese engineer who designed the elevator beautifully. The towering Landmark is 148 feet tall and is close to the Rossio Square. It has arched windows with geometric tracery work done with iron. The lift can carry 25 people in each of its cabin. There is an open bridge and a closed viaduct at the top which connects to Carmo Square. Santa Justa Lift lends historic significance to Lisbon city.

Belem Tower

Belem Tower was built to guard the Lisbon harbor way back in 1515. Many voyages started from here. The sailors returning to Lisbon knew they were reaching their homeland on seeing the Belem Tower. It is a World Heritage Monument.

Belem Tower is built in the Manueline style with motifs in stonework. At the Tower, the tourists see sculptured figure of St. Vincent and exotic rhinoceros. A statue to protect the sailors when on voyages is that of Our lady of Safe Homecoming.

This is a jewel monument in Lisbon. The tower has balconies overlooking the River. It has rectangular courtyard with Gothic arches. You will see cannon holes, which were used as a defense for Lisbon. As you go up the tower, you get a view of the Tagus estuary.


You will get to see one of the world’s largest aquariums in Lisbon. It is like diving into a sea and see the bed full of sharks, fishes, seabirds and mammals. Yes, you are viewing 25,000 sea creatures in an aquarium designed by Peter Chermeyeff an American architect. This aquarium is reached by a footbridge as it rises from the river. This underwater world is stylishly designed and attracts a lot of tourists. It has different tanks and houses world ocean habitats by recreating various ocean ecosystems. Each tank is separated by an invisible acrylic wall from the main tank. The tourists thus see and understand about ocean life with creatures swimming in the same space. Winter timings are from 10am to 6pm, and in summer the time goes up to 7 pm. The tourists can travel to Lisbon Oceanrium by metro, bus or tram.

Vasco da Gama Tower

Vasco da Gama Tower is the tallest building in Lisbon. After visiting the Oceanarium, the vacationers take a cable car and come over to the tower. Vasco da Gama was the greatest Portuguese explorer and thus the tower is named after him.

The tower is 575 feet high, and its shape is like a sail. There is a viewing gallery at the top where you reach by glass elevators. The views are lovely. In 2012, the tower was turned into a luxury hotel known as Myriad Hotel.

25 de Abril bridge

This bridge is a suspension bridge connecting Lisbon to Almada on the left bank of the river Tejo. It is the oldest bridge in Lisbon. The bridge is 7,473 feet long. You will find 70 meters above the water level the bridge deck. The design of this bridge was inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It is suspended by cables supported by tall towers about 625 feet above the water. Train tracks were built on the lower deck, and two more car lanes were added to the upper deck in 1990’s.

Lisbon Zoo

The zoo has a beautiful garden setting with animals of almost 300 species. The children are all excited seeing live creatures and meandering on the children’s farm. The tourists can picnic in the shaded gardens and then proceed to see the Animax amusement park just outside the Lisbon Zoo. Check the entrance fee and timings before you go to the Zoo.

National Museum of Ancient Art

This ancient museum is Lisbon’s art world. The museum is a collector’s gallery, and it contains 14th to 20th century European works by renowned artists. The tourists especially art lovers and historians minutely observe the Portuguese paintings of the 16th century depicting the arrival of Portuguese in Japan. The different themes in the museum showcase the links of Japan, China, India and Africa with Portugal. When Vasco da Gama brought the first shipment of gold the decorative artwork of the Monstrance of Belem was made and kept in the National Museum of Ancient Art.

Igreja de Sao Roque

Ingreja de Sao Roque was a Jesuit church and the first one in Portugal. This church is a classic work done in Baroque art. It is the world’s most expensive chapel. Its designer used materials like agate, gold, silver, ivory, lapis, porphyry and lazuli. The chapel of this church was made in Rome and then shipped to Lisbon. It is a European masterpiece.

A museum of Sacred Art is seen adjoining the church. It houses paintings of the 16th century, a collection of displays of baroque silver. The torch holders made of bronze-and-silver add to the museum’s attractions. The museum has a gift shop and a cafeteria catering to the vast number of visitors to the church and the museum.

Miradoura De Sao De Alcantara

This beautiful park is a nearby attraction from the church. The tourists get a wonderful view of central Lisbon. You will see a number of busts of heroes and gods from Greco-Roman mythology in the lower geometric garden. A map of all the distinctive buildings is also seen at this park. The map is made of tiles.

Adjacent to the garden you can visit the Gloria Elevator which takes the people up and down from the city center square to Bairro Alto. Walk across the street and see the Port Wine Institute where you can sample the different Ports. There is a sitting room where you can enjoy sipping the drink.

Lisbon has many other tourist attraction places and if time permits you will love to explore them and enhance your knowledge about Lisbon. Accommodation is easily available in Lisbon, Portugal. The city center has a good number of hotels. Stay in a friendly guest house or opt for a snugly apartment. If you wish then check into a luxury hotel. Some visitors like a spa hotel and still others prefer being close to nature.

Shop for something unique in Lisbon like Portuguese handicrafts with great styles and versatility.

Downtown Lisbon gives a great shopping experience. Pick up jewelry with unusual designs yet eye-catching. Visit some antique stores. You can also pick up Portuguese sweaters and Portuguese baskets. You can go street shopping, and you will love the experience.

Visit restaurants and try the flavors you like. Portuguese both traditional and modern, Italian, Mediterranean, Tapas, Fusion foods, Indian or seafood. In Lisbon, you will find variety and choice in every restaurant. Enjoy the Lisbon nightlife sing, dance and drink, for the night here is young.

Travel to Lisbon and touch down at the Lisbon Portela Airport. It is 9 km from Lisbon city center. You can reach the city from the airport by bus, taxi or reach the Lisbon’s Gare Do Oriente railway station a mile away from the airport. From the station, you can hail a taxi. All transport takes the tourists from the airport to Lisbon city and vice-versa.

Lisbon is a place for tourists to visit year around. Spring though is the preferred time to visit Lisbon.


About the Author:

Ravish Khapra has a passion for, and extensive experience with, travel writing. His engaging posts provide detailed information on destinations around the world, including how to reach these locales, ways to make the most of your trip, and tips on budgeting for maximum return on your travel investment.