Lisbon - The Forgotten Gem of Europe
For most centuries, Lisbon, the administrative centre of Portugal, was thought to be one of the very most magnificent cities in Europe. Using its long history, Moorish influences, stunning location and vast riches from India and Brazil, it was a trading hub for more than 100 years. But a devastating earthquake in 1755, accompanied by fire and a tidal wave, reduced it to ruins and obscurity.
Lately, however, Lisbon has begun to come back for some of its former glory. It had been the European City of Culture in 1994, hosted Expo 98, and was the major host city for the huge soccer event, Euro2004. More folks are uncovering its fascinating mixture of old and new. Better still, it still remains relatively affordable by European standards.
Situated on 7 hills next to the Rio Tejo (River Tagus), Lisbon is most beneficial explored by walking, as driving and parking are difficult, to state minimal. A number of the hills can be taxing to climb, however in most cases a funicular or tram can be found. A lot of the selling point of this town is usually to be found wandering along the streets. Types of both Moorish and art nouveau architecture are normal, as well as beautiful mosaic pavements.
Among the highlights of Lisbon is the Castelo de São Jorge, perched high above the town, yet quite near by. Originally built-in the 5th century, they have undergone many extensions, and modifications. It's been used as from a royal residence to a prison. The panoramic views are magnificent.
In case your tastes are a bit more upbeat, then your area to go to is Bairro Alto. This area has long had the reputation for containing the best restaurants and nightclubs in Lisbon. Alternatively, if you wish to move upmarket, then your shopping district for you is Chiado.
Lisbon also includes lots of excellent museums. The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian contains that which was actually an exclusive assortment of classical and oriental art. The generous benefactor left his collection to the folks of Portugal, plus a very generous charitable foundation. It is rather easy to invest every day strolling surrounding the gallery, even though no more than 25 % of the collection can be displayed at anybody time.
Based on your interests, you can also spend amount of time in the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga (National Museum of Ancient Art), or the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (azulejo will be the hand-painted tiles which adorn so a lot of Portugal's buildings). If you like something a bit more modern, there is also the Centro de Arte Moderna (Modern Art Centre).
Eventually, if you reach the main point where you're completely saturated with art, tiles and stunning buildings, you can always spend time in the Parque das Nações, or the Nations Park. It had been the website for Expo 98, and today contains gardens, various family attractions, restaurants and bars. It even contains Europe's major Oceanarium.
Lisbon is the sort of city that you can test to sample per day, but it requires much longer to seriously appreciate most of its many and varied delights. Allow yourself the required time to do that, and your stop by at Lisbon will stay amidst your most treasured memories.