HistoryThe strategic location of Lisbon at the mouth of the Tagus River has contributed to the city’s importance as a centre of trade between the Mediterranean Sea and northern Europe. It was originally settled by the Celts and subsequently captured by the Carthaginians, Romans, Suebi, Visigoths, and Moors. Christian crusaders later captured the city, forming the long-term Portuguese Royal Family.
Lisbon flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries during the Portuguese Age of Discovery, which lead to the accumulation of great wealth and power. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake destroyed much of Lisbon and further disaster fell in 1807 when Napoleon’s forces occupied Lisbon. However, the city slowly rebuilt over the 19th Century.
In 1910, the Republicans established the Portuguese Republic with the Estado Novo regime, the longest-living dictatorship in Western Europe ruled by Salazar. It was deposed by the 1974 by the Carnation Revolution and Portugal joined the European Community in 1986. Recent improvements to the metro system and the revival of older buildings in the city have transformed Lisbon into one of the trendiest cities in Europe.
LandmarksLisbon and nearby Sintra have three sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, in Lisbon and Palácio da Pena in Sintra.
Belém was where Portuguese explorers set off from on their voyages of discovery. Belém Tower is a fortified lighthouse, which stands on a little island on the right hand side of the Tagus. It was originally intended to guard the entrance to the port against invasion or pirate raids, but today it offers incredible views over the city.
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos is a monastery with amazing stonework and burial place of the greatest Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama. Sintra is a beautiful dreamy town dotted with tourist hotspots and historic attractions, such as the grand Palácio da Pena: a fairytale-like castle that sits atop a mighty hill, offering incredible views over the town below.
The heart of the city of Lisbon is Baixa. This historic district was constructed after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. Its most notable feature is the Rua Augusta Arch, a triumphal arch designed as a gateway to the city. An elevator, located inside the arch, takes you to a vantage point that offers beautiful views over downtown, the Praça do Comércio and the Tagus River.
Lisbon's castle, Castelo de São Jorge, is an incredible piece of architecture that stands on top of the city's highest hill. Not only does it offer cultural and historical significance, but also provides beautiful views of the city and river, making it a fun trip for history-buffs and lay folk alike.
If you’re a fan of modern architecture, pay a visit to Parque das Nações: the newest district in Lisbon. Check out the Orient Railway Station, a truly eye-catching building and one of the main transportation centres of Lisbon. Here you can also find one of the world's longest bridges, the stunning Vasco da Gama Bridge.
Shopping, Restaurants and NighlifeIf it’s shopping you crave then pay Chiado a visit, Lisbon’s traditional shopping area. Here you can buy clothes from trendy designer boutiques, as well as books, crafts and pottery. You will also find plenty of coffee shops and restaurants serving traditional cakes such as ‘Pastéis de Nata’ and typical cod fish dishes called ’Bacalhau’.
As you can probably see, there’s never a dull moment in Lisbon.
museum, historicalBuilding and monument
This medieval fortress offers insight into Lisbon’s long history as well as stunning views of the city and river below.
Enjoy an underwater adventure at one of the world’s largest and most diverse aquariums right on Lisbon’s beautiful waterfront.
See the people-packed central square whose swirling wave-patterned cobbles are thought to have inspired copycat pavements across the rest of Portugal and beyond.
Belém Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the northern bank of the Tagus River in the Belém district of Lisbon.
See where monks once worshipped at this beautifully decorated monastery and where Lisbon’s famous custard-filled pastry is said to have been invented.
This medieval cathedral is the oldest church in the city and combines a wide range of architectural styles, including gothic, Roman and neoclassical.
The Lisbon Card gives you the freedom to explore the city at your own leisure for 24, 48, or 72 hours. Enjoy unlimited travel on Lisbon's public transportation systems, and take advantage of included admission to some of the city's top museums and attractions.
The natural and historical beauty of Portugal is lined up for you on this full-day tour covering Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril. Discover the coastal playground of Lisbon, understand why Queen Maria II loved Pena Park, and visit the famous Pena National Palace.
The romantic charm of Sintra and Cascais is on full display as you get to know these idyllic towns. Your guide shows you the lush forests, gardens, and grand palaces that combine with the coastal beauty of Cabo da Roca to form some of the most beautiful scenery in Portugal.
Embark on a lively night of tasty Portuguese food, drinks, and traditional music on this sunset walking tour with a local guide. Hear the soulful sounds of Fado music in local taverns, explore the oldest quarter in the city, and finish with a live Fado performance while indulging in a dinner of traditional Portuguese tapas and wine.
Spend a day discovering the romantic village of Sintra, a UNESCO-listed town full of Portuguese history and magical castles. After lunch, travel along the coast to Cabo da Roca—Europe's westernmost point—make a stop at the fishing village of Cascais, and pass the coastal town of Estoril.
Become immersed in the rich history of Portugal, and discover its vibrant culture and age-old traditions on a full day tour in a small group. Discover 4 amazing Portuguese cities— Fátima, Batalha, Nazaré, and Óbidos—with insightful commentary provided by a friendly and knowledgeable guide.