Summer is coming to an end. From now daylight is fading away sooner every evening. We all muse about the good times behind us when the sun was shining, the rain was nowhere to be seen and the beach was the perfect place to be. But there is a way to extend that summer feeling. For many countries in Europe a short trip to the South could bring the summer back. How about a citytrip to Lisbon in Portugal.
This small country on the Iberian peninsula has been a world power of great significance. It has a rich history. The Azores – in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – and Madeira – consisting of five islands – belong to Portugal.
Lisbon – the city of Odysseus
Sitting on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon is the most western capital city of the European continent. Some legends tell us that the city was founded by Odysseus during his long trip home. It is a perfect city to visit during spring and autumn when the temperatures are just right.
8 must see sights in Lisbon:
1. Torre de Belem
The Belem Tower was built as a defence tower sitting at the banks of the River Tagus. It was also a representation of the grandeur of the Portuguese power and honoured the explorer Vasco da Gama. The decorations on the facade are from Diogo de Boitaca, who was one of the main architects of the Jeronimos Monastery.
2. Jeronimos Monastery
This richly decorated monastery (Mosteiro dos Jerónimos) is located in the Belèm district. The monastery is believed to honour the explorer Vasco da Gama for his successful trip to the east where he discovered the route across the Indian Ocean. This discovery of this sea route brought vast richness to Portugal and the decorations inside and outside the monastery depict in their own way this abundance.
3. Berardo Museum
If you are an art lover with a taste for modern art then do visit this museum. As the two sigths mentioned before, this museum is also located in Belèm. The museum opened in 2007 and has a collection more than 1000 works of art, ranging from expressionism to minimal art and from cubism to pop art. The management tends to change the art on display on a regular basis.
Alfama is the oldest part of the city. It is located higher up the slopes under the castle of Sao Jorge and the River Tagus. This is also the district were the fado has its roots. This music genre has the reputation of being full of melancholia, sentiment and longing. Take a stroll through the narrow streets and enjoy a drink on the terrace of one of the many bars and cafés.
5. Church of Saint Roch
The Church of Saint Roch – or in Portuguese Igreja de São Roque – is on the the first Jesuit churches in the world. It might not look spectacular from the outside, but don not let that fool you. The real beauty is inside. The ceiling, the pillars inside, the chapels, the organ. Everything is richly decorated. Money was obviously not an issue.
6. Santa Justa Elevator
This 45 meter high elevator in the centre of Lisbon connects the Santa Justa street with the Carmo Square on the higher grounds. Construction started in 1900 and was finished in 1902. The structure is completely built in iron and is now one of the main tourist attractions of the city.
7. Tram 28
Tram 28 is a classic in Lisbon. If you did not ride this am, your visit was to the city was not complete. Trams have always been an important means of transportation in Lisbon, starting with horse drawn carriages. Tram 28 offers one of the longest rides in the city. And is runs through the districts Graça in the east to Estrela Basilica in the west. Most tourist prefer the eastern route as this runs them through the narrow alleys in this old district of Alfmama. It certainly is worth your time and the discomfort of the wooden benches.
8. Castle of Sao Jorge
This castle sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. The views are magnificent. The oldest parts of this castle date back to the 6th century. The strcuture has been thoroughly renovated in the later forties of last century. If you are up to it then visit the castleb y walking through the narrow streets up to the top off the hill.
For more information, please visit the website of the city of Lisbon.