Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is built on seven hills at a place where the Tagus River meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is a port city with a very rich history and a vibrant modern culture. Some of the city's trademarks are its old squeaky trams, hilly narrow streets in the districts of Alfama and Bairro Alto, and numerous elegant squares.
Built in the 16 century, this fortified tower played an important role during the Age of Discovery in Portugal, having served as a part of the defense system. The tower sits on the bank of the Tagus River, and it is considered to be one of the Seven Wonders of Portugal.
Beige and white on the outside, the structure consists of two parts: the bastion and the four-story tower on the north side of the bastion. Tourists are welcome to visit the interior of the tower, and to enjoy truly breathtaking views of the river from one of the tower's terraces.
São Jorge Castle stands tall at the top of a hill just above the historic center of Lisbon. It dates from medieval times, and it was built as a fortification by the occupying Moorish forces (the Moors were a group of North African Arab people) in the 10th century. When it was renovated in the 14th century, the castle counted as many as 77 towers.
Over the years, it served as a royal palace, a soldier's hospital and, occasionally, as a theater. São Jorge Castle was severely damaged in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and has lost its strategic importance since.
The castle complex offers an impressive view of the historic part of the city. It is also very rich in sightseeing-worthy places itself, as it consists of the castle, the ruins of the royal palace, gardens, and a spacious square. The main square Praça d'Armas is beautifully decorated with bronze cannons and statues, and definitely one of the most visited attractions in Lisbon.
This 12.3 kilometers (7.6 miles) long bridge is a relatively new structure in Lisbon, having opened for traffic in 1998. It is the longest bridge in Europe, and is supported by additional 4.8 kilometers (3.0 miles) of access roads, which makes the overall experience of seeing the bridge from afar even more amazing.
On average, the bridge serves 52,000 cars and trucks each day. In order to be able to withstand such traffic, Lisbon's strong winds and unforeseeable weather conditions, the bridge was built to survive an earthquake up to 4.5 times stronger than the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
Crossing this bridge is a great way to realize how magnificent the Tagus River is, and move between northern and southern regions surrounding Lisbon.
Bairro Alto is Lisbon's most popular nightclub district. The streets of Bairro Alto are long, narrow and colorful, shaped by three to four-story buildings and asymmetric facades. The city of Lisbon has invested greatly in the remodeling of the district in recent years, so many new bars, shops and traditional Portuguese restaurants were open.
Bairro Alto is the youth neighborhood of Lisbon. The district gives a great insight into Lisbon's subcultures, and it is a perfect place to familiarize yourself with fado, Portuguese traditional music. Cars are restricted in Bairro Alto, which makes you feel isolated from city noises and traffic jams.
With very warm weather in the summer, and mild winters, Lisbon is a popular tourist destination all year round. Yet, as it often rains, it is advisable to always carry an umbrella or a raincoat with you.
If you are in the mood for a long, uphill walk, Bairro Alto can be reached on foot. Otherwise, you should go with funiculars (a railway going up and down a mountain), which promise some stunning views of the city.Cabo de Roca, the westernmost point of Continental Europe, is less than an hour away from downtown Lisbon, so it is a perfect destination for a half-day tour.
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