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We may earn a commission from affiliate links. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is one of Europe's most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities. Set over a series of hills near the mouth of the River Tagus, it's a place inextricably linked with the sea. Intrepid navigators embarked from here in the 15th and 16th centuries to sail unknown waters and chart new lands, and the legacy of this golden Age of Discovery underpins much of the city's culture and heritage.
Lisbon is a colorful and vibrant destination. Renowned for its warm and sunny disposition, the city is blessed with a wealth of historic monuments, world-class museums, and a host of other fabulous things to do that can easily be worked into a single or multi-day itinerary.
You can explore the narrow streets of the old quarter, stroll the riverbank promenade, or wander through verdant parks and gardens. In fact, enjoy Lisbon like the locals do, at an easy and unhurried pace, and you'll quickly fall for its welcoming character and beguiling charm. For ideas on the best places to visit while you're here, see our list of the top tourist attractions in Lisbon. See also: Where to Stay in Lisbon. Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. The most recognized of Lisbon's major attractions, St. George's Castle commands a glorious position near Alfama on the crown of a hill overlooking the Portuguese capital.
This is one of Lisbon's most popular tourist destinations.
Its impressive battlements, engaging museum, and fascinating archaeological site combine to make the castle a rewarding experience for the whole family, and kids especially will love clambering over the sturdy walls and towers that encircle the grounds. There's been a stronghold on this site since the Iron Age, but it was a castle that the Moors defended against invading Christian forces before finally being overrun in by Afonso Henriques. The palace foundations form part of the excavations seen today.
For the most part, visitors are happy enough to admire the fabulous views from the observation terrace that affords an uninterrupted panorama of the city, the River Tagus, and the distant Atlantic Ocean. For a different perspective, there's a Camera Obscura periscope, housed in one of the towers, which provides viewers with an unusual degree projected view of the city below.
Castelo de Sao Jorge Map Historical. Vasco da Gama's tomb lies just inside the entrance to Santa Maria church. The Lisbon Oceanarium is one of Europe's finest aquariums, and one of the largest in the world. It's also arguably the most family-orientated of all the city's visitor attractions.
The ingenious layout represents four separate sea- and landscapes, effectively the habitats of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Antarctic oceans.
These surround an enormous central tank teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes including graceful rays, bulbous sunfish, and sleek sharks — kids' favorite denizens of the deep. The wraparound plexiglass allows a fantastic close-up view of this magical undersea world, but you should also seek out less obvious, but no less extraordinary species housed in smaller aquaria, such as the exquisitely delicate sea dragon and the comic clownfish. The different ecosystems are a delight to explore. The Antarctic habitat, for example, showcases playful penguins, while a pair of spirited sea otters steals the show in the Pacific tank.
But most of all, it's seriously good fun. Address: Esplanada D. Official site: www. A sparkling gem in Lisbon's cultural crown, the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is also one of the most celebrated museums in Europe. The facility, sited in a lush, verdant park in the north of the city, is named after Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkianan Armenian oil magnate born inwho bequeathed his vast private art collection to Portugal shortly before his death in Following the terms of this endowment a foundation was created, the centerpiece of which is this purpose-built arts complex. Gulbenkian's astonishing hoard features priceless artworks from around the world, which span years, from ancient Egyptian times to the late 20th century.
With so many pieces from so many different periods in history to absorb, you can easily spend half a day browsing the exhibition galleries, but your patience will be rewarded with a mesmerizing journey through one of the finest collections of art on the continent.
Outstanding highlights in the Classical and Oriental Art galleries include 11 Roman medallionspart of a hoard unearthed in Abu Qir, in Egypt, struck to commemorate the Olympic games held in Macedonia in AD The 17th-century Persian and Turkish carpets on display are some of the best preserved in the world and clear evidence of Gulbenkian's keen interest in Islamic art. Amazingly, the rare clocks and timepieces displayed in the French 18th-century Decorative Arts hall are all in perfect working order; arrive on the hour and Lisbon line east datings this afternoon them chime. While here, cast your eyes over the armchair that once belonged to Marie Antoinette.
More painting and sculpture from the 18th and 19th centuries, where Turner's vivid and dramatic The Wreck of a Transport Ship holds the eye, can be admired as you move through the building.
One room is dedicated to Francesco Guardi and his studies of Venice. Look out, too, for Houdan's graceful Dianasculpted in None of the brooches and necklaces were ever used, except for the startling and flamboyant Dragonfly woman corsage ornamentworn once onstage by actress Sarah Bernhardt The National Museum of Ancient Art is one of Lisbon's great cultural attractions, and a "must see" on any tourist itinerary.
This is Portugal's national gallery and houses the largest collection of Portuguese 15th- and 16th-century paintings in the country. An equally impressive display of European, Oriental, and African art adds to the allure. The museum is set west of the city center within a 17th-century palace, itself built over the remains of the Saint Albert Carmelite monasterywhich was virtually destroyed in the earthquake.
Fortunately, the chapel survived and is integrated into the building. Set over three levels, the extensive permanent collection requires a good two hours of your time. Begin by exploring the aforementioned St. Albert Chapel on Level 1 and then meander through rooms exhibiting Portuguese applied art: furniture, tapestries, and textiles, among other objects, many reflecting the influences of Portugal's colonial explorations.
Look out for the exquisite 17th-century casket from India crafted in silver gilt. Indeed, Level 1 houses some truly remarkable works. The astonishing fantasy that is The Temptations of St. Anthony c. Jewelry, ceramics, gold, silverware, and art from the Portuguese Discoveries all hold the gaze on Level 2, but make a point of studying the fascinating 16th-century Japanese Namban screens that illustrate the Portuguese trading in Japan.
Level 3 is devoted to Portuguese painting and sculpture. Afonso V. The gardens at the rear of the museum deserve a mention. The permanent exhibition is set over two levels and grouped around several core areas of oriental art, particularly Chinese. Displayed under subdued lighting, but with individual pieces showcased under pinpoint spotlight, the collection takes you on an incredible journey that traces the cultural and trade links forged between Portugal and India, Japan, Myanmar, Macau, and Timor.
An enormous 17th-century teak door from India embellished with iron and bronze greets you on Lisbon line east datings this afternoon First Floor, and opens the way into a hall that dazzles with artifacts such as the delicate Namban screen depicting Portuguese mariners disembarking from the Kurofune to be met by bemused Japanese locals. Macau, a former Portuguese colony, is well represented by eye-catching pieces like the suspended boat-shaped cradle c.
Elsewhere, an impressive display of Chinese Ming and Qing-dynasty terra-cotta figurines is placed near a set of forbidding 17th-century Samurai chainmail armor. But make a point of seeking out smaller pieces, items like the quirky collection of Chinese snuff boxes and the silver alloy bracelets from Timor. The Second Floor houses the extensive Kwok Collection comprising more than 13, examples of figures and mythological beings cut from cowhide and parchment and used by puppeteers in shadow theaters from Turkey to Thailand.
The Orient Museum will absorb a couple of hours of your attention, but if you time a visit for mid-morning, you can pause for lunch in the 5th floor restaurant and relive the experience. Built in as a fortress and originally sited in the middle of the river the watercourse has shifted over the yearsthe tower represents the highpoint of decorative Manueline architecture.
Set over various levels, the most interesting interior feature is the second-floor King's Chamberwhere the room opens onto a Renaissance loggia. The royal coat of arms of Manuel I is placed above the elegant arcades. Climb the impossibly steep spiral staircase to the top-floor tower terrace, and you're rewarded with a fine panorama of the waterfront esplanade and the river. Located somewhat off the tourist trail east of the city center, the National Tile Museum is worth seeking out for its unique collection of azulejos — decorative tiles — and the fabulously ornate Igreja Madre de Deus.
Housed within the church and cloisters of the Convento da Madre de Deusthis is the only museum in Portugal dedicated to this historic art form. The permanent exhibition traces the evolution of tile-making from Moorish days through Spanish influence and the emergence of Portugal's own style. Exhibited chronologically, some of the earliest examples date from the 15th century and are displayed as complete panels of intricate patterns in vivid colors. Portuguese tile work features the more familiar blue and white azulejoswith one outstanding piece, a meter tiled panorama of pre-earthquake Lisbon, one of the highlights of the collection.
Entry to the museum includes access to the 16th-century church of Madre de Deus. Here, visitors are treated to one of the most ebullient and decorative church interiors anywhere in Portugal, a sumptuous Baroque showcase of gilded woodwork, shimmering 17th-century azulejos, and a stunning Rococo altarpiece. Elevador de Santa Justa. Looming somewhat incongruously over the rooftops of Lisbon's Baixa downtown district is the odd-looking Santa Justa Lift, a neo-Gothic elevator and the most eccentric and novel means of public transport in the city.
It was built as a means of connecting the Baixa with the Largo do Carmo in the Bairro Alto neighborhood, a trendy area of the city peppered with expensive shops, Fado houses, and small restaurants. Today, it is curious tourists rather than the commuting public who make the meter jaunt to the top, traveling in wood-paneled cabins that still feature the original polished brass instruments.
The cabins creak their way to a platform set just below the top terrace. From here, passengers can either exit and walk across a bridge into Bairro Alto or opt to climb the spiral staircase that le to the upper terrace.
The views from the top are superb and take in a busy urban canvas of pedestrianized streets, picturesque squares, and the omnipresent castle and River Tagus. You can also enjoy a wonderful perspective of the nearby Igreja do Carmo. Expect large queues throughout the summer season. Another unique form of transport in Lisbon is the Elevador da Bicaa funicular railroad that was constructed by Raoul Mesnier de Ponsard and opened to the public in Today, it still rises above the steep Rua da Bica de Duarte Belo and whisks passengers up to a panoramic viewpoint.
The lower station of this funicular railroad is almost hidden behind a facade on the Rua de S. Paulo with the inscription "Ascensor da Bica" no. Only a few cars journey here due to its sloping topography, narrow streets, and densely packed buildings. A series of earthquakes culminating in the devastating tremor completely destroyed that which stood in the 12th century.
What you see today is a blend of architectural styles, the standout features being the twin castellated bell towers that embellish the downtown skyline — particularly evocative in the late afternoon when a setting sun burnishes the brickwork with a golden veneer. Inside, a resplendent rose window helps illuminate a rather gloomy interior, and you're likely to head straight for the treasury where the cathedral's most valuable artifacts are on display, items that include silverware made up of chalices and reliquaries, intricately embroidered vestments, statuary, and a of rare illustrated manuscripts.
It's also worth lingering in the Gothic cloisternot so much for Lisbon line east datings this afternoon series of chapels including one that retains its 13th-century wrought-iron gatebut for the fact that on-site excavations have revealed the foundations of Roman and Moorish dwellings the cathedral was built over the ruins of a mosque and the archaeological dig is a worthwhile visitor attraction in its own Lisbon line east datings this afternoon.
Lisbon Cathedral Map Historical. The de is deliberate. This landmark structure was built in to commemorate the th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. Henry himself stands at the fore, caravel in hand. After admiring those immortalized in stone, you can jump in an elevator and be whisked to the top of the monument for a seagull-eye's view of the riverfront and the surrounding vicinity.Lisbon line east datings this afternoon
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23 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lisbon