Our favourite contributor, Peter Horrocks, has been exploring Lisbon, which remains Portugal’s number one attraction ahead of Funchal, Porto, Albufiera, Portimao and Lagos. He points out that the city has grown in popularity in recent years, due to its reputation as both a gourmet centre and trendy place to be.
We’ve been to Lisbon countless times, but bow to Peter’s expertise as he lists what he says are the city’s top five attractions for visitors. Here goes:
1. The Gulbenkian Museum. Generally viewed as the best museum in Lisbon, this relatively small museum houses a unique collection gathered by the oil magnate Calouste Gulbenkian in the 1930/40s. There is an eclectic range of ancient and modern art pieces, from old Egyptian to Renoir and Monet. A series of concerts is held in the grounds during the summer.
2. The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is a major landmark in Lisbon. Built in 1502, it is a masterpiece of Gothic and Manueline architecture. The monastery itself is spectacular and well worth the 10€ entrance fee and the park in front is very pleasant too. Visits to the church are free.
3. The Oceanario de Lisboa aquarium was built as the centrepiece of the World Fair in 1998. It houses an amazing collection of fish from all over the planet, including the tropics and the arctic. As aquariums go it is a ten out of ten attraction, ideal for family visits.
4. Another aquarium, the Aquario Vasco de Gama, is also high in the ranking of places to visit in Lisbon, a reflection of the city’s place by the sea. The collection was put together by King Dom Carlos I. It is another place where families can enjoy discovering the treasures of the sea.
5. The National Tile Museum gives a fascinating insight into the place of ceramic tiles in Portuguese culture. Lisbon is well known for its tiles and this interesting museum, set in an old convent and a richly decorated church, offers the chance to discover more about this heritage which features in buildings throughout the city and beyond. There is a even a workshop area where you can see tiles being produced.
There are many more sights to see in Lisbon, some of which are iconic such as the Torre de Belem and the Vasco da Gama suspension bridge. The Praco do Comercia is both photogenic and a cool place to hang out in one of the attractive bars. Or you may like to take the children along to Lisbon zoo or even sample the atmosphere of the famous Estadio da Luz, home of Portuguese football and Benfica FC.
To the north and south of the city there are vast sandy beaches and areas of great natural beauty as well as some excellent golf clubs.
Peter Horrocks (and we) recommend staying in a self-catering holiday villa in Lisbon or the surrounding area. For a full range of what is available, visit www.villasdumonde.com.