Lisbon—A Meld of Modern Life and Old-World Charm

Porta da Frente is the Exclusive Affiliate in the greater Lisbon area, Portugal

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ESSENTIALS

Population: 547,631 (city), 3,051,000 (metro area)
Language: Portugese
Currency: Euro

DOWNTIME

Set on the banks of the Tagus River, Lisbon is a lively yet nostalgic city, a meld of modern life and Old-World charm with an illustrious past dating to prehistoric times.


The city of seven hills, the launching place for many of the voyages of discovery, Europe’s westernmost capital city has become one of its most cosmopolitan. Set on the banks of the Tagus River—known as the "Sea of Straw" because of the golden reflections of the ever-present sun—Lisbon is a lively yet nostalgic city, a meld of modern life and Old-World charm.

Lisbon's many quaint and time-worn districts—such as Alfama with its labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and whitewashed houses—are strikingly contrasted by such ultra-modern areas as the Parque das Nações. Here, one of Europe’s largest regeneration projects saw Lisbon’s derelict docklands transformed to host Expo ’98, and today the area overflows with ultra-modern architecture, cafés, boutiques, and maritime attractions including Portugal’s most popular tourist destination, the Oceanarium.

With more than 300 days of sunshine each year and a pleasantly temperate climate, Lisbon’s beautiful nearby beaches beckon year-round. Europe’s largest beach—the 30-kilometer-long Costa de Caparica beach—is on Lisbon’s doorstep and delights visitors with its azure water, charming cafés, and lively bars that stay open late in the summer season with music and dancing.

An established favorite with the international DJ set, Lisbon is fast gaining a reputation as one of Europe's trendiest cities. When the sun sets, such areas as the bohemian Bairro Alto and the waterfront 24 de Julho spring to life with a wide array of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs where visitors can embrace the Portuguese spirit of celebration and party until dawn.

Just outside the city, the seaside towns of Estoril and Cascais have been dubbed the “Portuguese Riviera,” in honor of their palm trees, golden silky-sand beaches, and palatial manors once occupied by nobility. Shoppers and diners are delighted by the alluring montage of cafés and boutiques. Cascais Marina and numerous five-star hotels make this cosmopolitan region a true jewel.

Nearby awaits the spellbinding beauty of Sintra. Defined by the intricate and romantic castles that rise amid its misty mountainous setting and praised as a “glorious Eden” by the poet Lord Byron, this appealing town is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of particular interest are the Quinta da Regaleria estate and the protected Sintra-Cascais Natural Park.

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