Quick facts about Lisbon
- Name: Lisbon
- Founded: 1200 BC
- Population: 2.7 million
- Area: 958 km2 (370 sq mi)
- Known as: Capital of Portugal, ‘The City of Seven Hills’.
Lisbon is Portugal’s coastal capital, also known as ‘the city of seven hills’. This is actually inaccurate, as Lisbon is sitting on eight hills (the eighth one being the tallest – Graça). But, don’t worry, a discrepancy in a number of hills will definitely not affect your visit to this wonderful city.
Monumental São Jorge Castle is the highest point of the city, from where you can observe red rooftops and multicolored buildings and houses. Down in the city center, a cobblestoned maze of streets is easily navigated by curious visitors, from Moorish Alfama district, through Chiado and Bairro Alto, until the end of the day to finish with a buzzing nightlife.
Down by the waterfront, you can find 16th-century Jerónimos Monastery and Belém Tower, another two Lisbon landmarks. Nearby beaches such as Cascais and Estoril are just outside of Lisbon.
The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum complex is offering visits to vast art collections, while National Azulejo Museum has a unique display of five centuries of ceramic tiles.
Main attractions in Lisbon
Belém Tower. Also known as ‘Tower of St Vincent’, this landmark defensive tower, dates back from medieval times in Portugal’s ‘Age of Discoveries’. It is a UNESCO heritage site and offers great views from the top.
Jerónimos Monastery. Former monastery, now a world heritage site, hosting archaeology and maritime museums. Built during the 16th century, this magnificent example of late Gothic architecture is located in Lisbon municipality. Alfama. The oldest district in Lisbon is stretching downhill from São Jorge Castle to the Tejo river. Popular tourist area with restaurants and Fado performers.
São Jorge Castle. This hilltop Moorish castle and palace ruins dating back from the 11th century dominates the city’s view. Guided tours and visits to archeological museums offered. Bairro Alto. City’s central district, consisting of several neighborhoods, is full of life in the evening with authentic restaurants and Fado music performances.
Rossio Square. A Pedro IV Square, popularly known as Rossio Square. Large square with a statue of Pedro IV, a fountain, and several shops and restaurants. Popular meeting place. Praça do Comércio. A public square near Tagus River, dominated by arch and statue. Filled with cafes and shops.
Lisbon Oceanarium. A waterside aquarium with ocean ecosystems. Located in Parque das Nações, originally the exhibition grounds for the Expo ’98. Features sharks, rays, penguins, and tropical fish. Santa Justa Lift. Built early 20th century, this lift (also called Carmo Lift), located in a historical city, connects the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Largo do Carmo with Carmo Square.
Christ the King. Inspired by Rio de Janeiro’s Christ the Redeemer Monument, this shrine and monument is overlooking the city from Almada. Avenida da Liberdade. The main city avenue, refer to by locals simply as ‘Avenida’. Great for walking and shopping. 25 de Abril Bridge. More than 2 km long, this suspension bridge opened in 1966 and it is similar to the famous Golden Gate. It links Lisbon with the municipality of Almada.
Top things to do in Lisbon
Hop on famous Tram 28 to go around old Lisbon in this iconic transport, visit Alfama for authentic food and Fado experience, take a day out on Alentejo Wine Tour, take day trip to Fatima or Sintra, and, if you are travelling with kids, don’t miss Oceanarium (although adults can enjoy it very much as well). In between the tours, enjoy great food and wine in one of many authentic restaurants in central Lisbon.
Festivals and events in Lisbon
Lisbon is packed with festivals and events all year around. Here are some top recommendations.
Kings Day (January), Carnival (February), Lisbon Half Marathon and Lisbon Fashion Week (March), IndieLisboa, an independent film festival (April), Rock in Rio – Music festival (May), The Lisbon Book Fair (Open air book fair, also in May), Santo Antonio and several other festivals and celebrations (June), Almada Theatre Festival (July), Jazz em Agosto (August), Doclisboa (Documentary films festival, October) and several festivals and celebrations during Christmas time.
Read more: Festivals and events in Lisbon
Interesting facts about Lisbon
Here are few interesting facts about Lisbon:
- Lisbon has one of the smallest bookshops in the world – only 3.8 square meters (40 sq. ft.).
- Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond novels, was stationed in Lisbon during his British Naval Intelligence duties.
- Lisbon was the first city to import Guinness beer.
Read more: More interesting facts about Lisbon
Best time to fly to Lisbon
The peak season for flights to Lisbon is July, August and September. The low season for purchasing tickets is February, March and November.
Lisbon is served by Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS). Direct flights to Lisbon are offered by 27 airlines.