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Lisbon & Lisbon Coast

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Lisbon & Lisbon Coast

Lisbon, the name comes from "Olissipo", which has its origins in the Phoenician words "Allis Ubbo", meaning "enchanting port". Lisbon has, of course, strong Arabic influences; it was, after all, occupied by the Moors for 450 years. In the 12th century the Christians reconquered the city but it was not until the mid-13th century that Lisbon became the country's capital. During the 15th century, with the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries, Lisbon developed into a spice and jewellery trade centre. The breakthrough for Portuguese expansion came in 1498 when Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. This was indeed the beginning of a golden age, characterised by the Manueline architectural style, named after King Manuel I, with its typical decorative use of maritime motifs.


Over the centuries Lisbon naturally grew and changed. When the city centre was almost completely destroyed by the great earthquake of 1755, it was rebuilt by the Marquês de Pombal, who thus created the Baixa Pombalina, a commercial area that still retains much of its original character. But development did not stop there. The city has grown progressively to the north, and areas such as the Avenidas Novas and the site where Expo '98 took place are typical of this development. The Expo site is now known as the Parque das Nações.
These and a wealth of other attractions make Lisbon such a pleasant and hospitable city.
The town is divided in five parts with particular interest for tourists/visitors.

1) Avenida Liberdade+ Baixa/Chiado = City centre ( business and shopping areas)
This area starts at the Marquês de Pombal square and stretches down to the Commercial square ny the River Tagus, along the Avenida da Liberdade, The Restauradores square and the The Rossio square. This area has a mix of hotels, offices/banks/travel agencies and shopping areas, as well as restaurants. Not many people live in this area, so it the life is this area is lively during office and shops hours, (  apx 09.30-19.30).
This area was mainly rebuilt after the earthquake in 1755.

2) Alfama - the oldest part of Lisbon
Lisbon is situated on several hills and the Alfama Hill is the highest, with apx 120 m above sea-level. On the top of this hill is situated an old castle, with origins already from the Roman period.
The Alfama quarter didn’t get destroyed from the earthquake in 1755 and presents therefore the oldest buildings in Lisbon.
Beside the S. Jorge Castle, Alfama is well-know for it’s “flee-market” (Saturdays and Tuesdays), the tram 28 that is a perfect way to explore (some parts) of Alfama. This is a residential area and the lower part of Alfama has almost the character of a small village. It is very cozy to stroll around in this area.

3) Bairro Alto - another old part (also situated on a hill)
Bairro Alto is also a residential area of Lisbon, but it is most of all one of the parts of the city that is very popular for its night-life.
On a small space there is a high concentration of all kind of restaurants.
There are also many bars, fado restaurants and disco bars.

4) Belém - the monumental part of Lisbon. Is situated apx 6 km west of the centre of Lisbon. 
This area of Lisbon is strongly connected with the history of Portugal and in special its discoveries. It was from Belém that the Portuguese ships left and sailed on the seas to “discover the world” in the 15th and 16th century.
The king that reigned when Vasco da Gama discovered India, King Manuel I, built several monuments like the Jeronimus church and monastery, the Belém Tower and there is also more recent building of high interest: The monument for Henry the Navigator, the Cultural Centre (with the Design Museum). The whole Belém area is a mix of green areas with places with high cultural interest. Many museums are located in Belém: The Maritime museum, the Coach museum, the Planetarium etc.

5) Parque das Nações - the Nations Park (former Expo-98 area)
This is the most modern area of Lisbon and has a very modern and interesting architecture, a complete contrast to the rest of Lisbon.
The place of highest interest is the Oceanarium or the aquarium that is really worth a visit. On of Lisbon’s biggest and most modern shopping centers Vasco da Gama is also located in this area as well as several outdoor restaurants along the river Tagus and with view over the 17 km long Vasco da Gama bridge.


Estoril / Cascais - the seaside resort

Seaside resorts apx. 25 km west of Lisbon.Two villages/ small cities that has grown together to one unit that offers a lot for the visitor/tourist.

Estoril is famous for its International Casino that is one of the biggest in Europe and that also offers a very nice international dinner and show.

Cascais is a former fishing village that has growned in size but still has a very charming village centre with walking streets, small squares with esplanades ideal for lunch or coffee as well as a small fishing port and a marina.There are several small beaches in the Estoril/Cascais area and a nice sea-side walk between the two small cities. You will also find many nice restaurants in the area as well as good sport (golf) and shopping facilities.


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