Discovering Lisbon, the City of the Explorers
Second oldest capital in Europe, Lisbon is a fascinating city. Portugal’s capital is indeed one of the top European destinations after Barcelona, Amsterdam and Venice. Every traveller will find their slice of paradise in the homeland of the world’s greatest explorers. Anyone who steps there will want to go back.
From a voyage launch pad to a holiday destination
Home to Vasco da Gama and Magellan, Lisbon was once the starting point of the fleets that sailed across the Atlantic to India back in the 15th century. Set by the Atlantic Ocean and crossed by the Tagus River, the city has indeed become home to harbours and the base of Portugal’s maritime expansion. Led by Vasco da Gama, the expeditions were meant for finding new trade routes – which they did. However, as they navigated, they discovered Africa. They established colonies in the now known as Angola, Mozambique, Guinea, and the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe and Cape Verde. Wealth from these countries were used to fund more voyages that reached Brazil. Expanding the colonies has turned out to be wise because. In 1755, a terrible earthquake hit and destroyed a large part of Lisbon. It could have been rebuilt again thanks to the wealth poured from Brazil. During the World War II, the city of Explorer became a haven for war refugees. They would sail away to the United States from there. Nowadays, Lisbon has become more of a vacation destination – welcoming 4.5 million tourists every year. Many come to enjoy the beaches but most land in the city to visit one of the world’s great historic cities.
A paradisiac yet cheap place for a vacation
Lisbon is a 5-starred destination for history buffs and art aficionados. The city is home to many museums where you will find horses-drawn carriages, contemporary art, artefacts from the Paleolithic era to the Middle Ages. Monuments such as Belem Tower, the Padrão dos Descobrimentos or the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos still stand firm as an ode to the glorious days of Portugal, during the Discovery Era. Other landmarks such as the Saõ Jorge Castle tell about Lisbon’s lesser known past. The fortress has indeed been there since the fifth century. Situated up on the highest hill of the city, it offers a magnificent view of it and is also a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. There are many other places that reward visitors with great views and serves drinks and local food. To reach them, just follow the signs saying “Miradouro”. Lisbon is also a place for the idlers and the watersports enthusiasts. There is a wide range of choices of white sandy beaches. Another thing not to miss when in Lisbon is the second largest aquarium of Europe – the Oceanário de Lisboa. It is housing about 15,000 creatures. Portugal’s capital has so many to offer and despite being top pick of European destination, it’s relatively cheap. A flight there costs less than $100 and you can get a decent accommodation for $30!