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Totally Spain has organized several 7 day tours within Spain and Portugal for groups of 24-30 people that I’ve put together for friends and myself. All three were executed perfectly and Ken and his team were a pleasure to work with. They are ve...

Sue Denison, New York, USA
2023-04-12

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Lisbon is the vibrant capital city of Portugal, located on the western coast of Europe overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its charming old neighborhoods, colorful architecture, old-fashioned trams, delicious food, and rich history. Decadent and enchanting, Lisbon is a city that’s easy to love. The London Telegraph enjoys its "simple charm and maritime magic of a vintage-era Southern European capital." But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a stuffy old town. Lisbon effortlessly combines the modern and new, and we love it for its ability to do this.

One of the most iconic features of Lisbon is its hilly landscape, which means there are stunning views around every corner. For this reason too, the trams are a major part of Lisbon's identity and charm. Lisbon´s historic trams have been in operation since the early 1900s and are a beloved symbol of the city. They are a popular way for locals and tourists alike to get around the city, especially in the hilly areas where it can be a bit of a challenge to walk uphill. We love how they rattle down from the hilltop neighborhoods to the elegant squares and on to the port. 

The historic center of the city is a must-see, with its winding streets and alleys lined with pastel-colored buildings, traditional shops, and cafes. The most famous of these neighborhoods is Alfama, where you can explore the ancient castle and the Gothic cathedral. And delve into the Alfama for fado, great architecture, and that amazing combination of the old with the new you find everywhere in Lisbon. Another great area to explore is the Baixa district, which is the heart of the city and home to many important landmarks such as the Praça do Comércio and the Rossio Square. Nearby, you'll find the chic Chiado neighborhood, filled with designer shops, elegant cafes, and theaters.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which stands as a testament to Portugal's maritime heritage. And yes, you really should visit the Jeronimos Monastery and taste the famous Belem pastries in one of Lisbon's great neighborhoods. The São Jorge Castle, perched on a hilltop, offers panoramic views and a glimpse into Lisbon's medieval past. LX Factory, located in the Alcântara neighborhood, provides a vibrant atmosphere with trendy shops, art galleries, and a lively nightlife. For a taste of royal opulence, explore the Ajuda National Palace and admire its lavish interiors and beautiful gardens. The National Museum of Ancient Art showcases a remarkable collection of European art, including Portuguese, Dutch, and Flemish masterpieces.

Foodies will love Lisbon's cuisine, which is influenced by Mediterranean flavors and seafood. The city's most famous dishes include bacalhau (salted codfish), grilled sardines, and pastéis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts). Its coffee is amazing, and the abundant pastry shops are unforgettable. 

Be sure too to head up the hills to one of the many excellent viewing points of the city such as the Miradouro da Graca at sunset. The sun always shines in Lisbon, adding to its glow. "Lisbon wore a set of jewels that other cities didn't bother to," according to the New York Times.

One of Lisbon's biggest fans, John Malkovich, calls the city "a feast for the eyes." He's been traveling here since the early 1990s and adores the architecture, culture, and food.

Lisbon's attractions extend beyond its historical and cultural offerings. The Estrela Basilica impresses visitors with its stunning Baroque and Neoclassical architecture, while the Lisbon Oceanarium in Parque das Nações invites you to explore diverse marine ecosystems. And the amazing National Tile Museum is a must-visit to understand how Lisbon embraces its history and traditions. This city truly captures the essence of a vintage-era Southern European capital while embracing the allure of the modern world.

 

 

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