The old lady of the Atlantic
Residents and visitors to the Portuguese capital will enjoy spring-like temperatures for much of the winter and five hours of sunshine every day. Here, on the western edge of Europe, time appears to pass more slowly. Lisbon has a rich history, a quaint old town on a hillside and historical street cars and elevators. Surfers and golfers will enjoy the city’s immediate surroundings.
Back to the overview
Miradouros, Fado and discoverers
Lisbon stands on seven hills and numerous look-out points or miradouros within the city limits offer spectacular views over the rooftops and the Tagus river. If you’d like to see Lisbon from another angle (namely from the water) you can book one of various river trips.
River trips on the Tagus: www.mrfriend.pt., www.lvt.pt (English and Portuguese), or www.transtejo.pt (Portuguese)
The famous Portuguese fado is very much alive and still a lot more than just another example of touristy folklore. Countless musicians continue to cultivate and develop this mournful musical form, and its influence can even be heard in some pop music (including that of Canadian singer Nelly Furtado, whose roots are Portuguese). Many bars in Lisbon feature fado performances.
Clube de Fado: Rua S. João da Praça, 94, Tel.: +351-218 852 704. Open daily from 8pm. http://www.clube-de-fado.com (English and Portuguese). Café Luso: Travessa da Queimada, 10, Tel.: +351-213 422 281. Open daily 7.30pm-2am. http://www.cafeluso.pt (English and Portuguese). Genius y Meios, Fado in Chiado: Rua da Misericórdia, Tel.: +351-213 239 202. Open Mon-Sat from 7pm. http://www.geniusymeios.pt (English, German and Portuguese, among others)
Once upon a time the world lay at its feet. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan led expeditions deep into the unknown reaches of the globe. The conquered colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia made it possible for the small sea-faring nation to amass vast amounts of wealth and become a world power. The maritime museum Museu de Marinha and explorers’ memorial Padrão dos Descobrimentos recall this period of Portuguese history.
Museu de Marinha: Praça do Império, Tel.: +351-213 620 019. Open Tue-Sun 10am-5pm,Apr-Sep -6pm, Admission: €4. http://museu.marinha.pt (Portuguese)
Narrow and winding passages, magical parks and a surfer’s paradise
Romantic but serviceable in the 21st century: The city’s ancient Eléctricos still rumble through the winding streets of Lisbon’s old town. Some of these electric trains are 60 or 70 years old. For the most spectacular route - which is naturally the most popular among tourists - take the legendary Nr. 28.
Bus and tramway operator Carris: http://www.carris.pt
Quinta Regaleira is a breathtaking ensemble of palace and park - and a UNESCO world heritage site - just outside the city gates. Visitors will be spellbound by this magical, metaphysical phenomenon. Nothing here is at it seems. Even the smallest detail is a symbol or metaphor for something else - and has a deeper, more mysterious and more transcendent meaning.
Quinta da Regaleira: Open: 10am-5pm (latest admission Nov-Jan), 10am-6pm (latest admission, Feb, Mar, Oct), 10am-7pm (latest admission, Apr-Sep). www.cultursintra.pt (English and Portuguese)
If you’re tough enough to brave the wild Atlantic, you’ll be rewarded by some spectacular waves. The little town of Peniche, north of Lisbon, has some of the best surfing anywhere in Europe. In a wetsuit you should easily be able to stand even winterly water temperatures that can fall to 14° C. A number of surf camps are open all year round and charge very low prices during the off season.
Maximum Surfcamp, Rua do Gualdino, 7, Peniche, Tel.: +49-(0)22 34-430 67 82, www.maximumsurfcamp.com
pictures: Agentur Look (2); Corbis (2); Agentur Huber; Mauritius (2)