Portugal vacation Ideas
(Photo: Lisbon image by Victor Samoilovich from Fotolia.com )
There are many reasons to plan a vacation in or around Lisbon. First, it is the center of Portugal, in terms of geography and transport. Once a traveler is in Lisbon, getting anywhere else in Portugal or even western Spain is relatively simple. Second, it is Portugal's largest and most cosmopolitan city, full of nightlife and gastronomic delights. Third, it is one of Europe's loveliest cities and is blessed with a climate that is mild year-round. Finally, Lisbon routinely ranks at the top of Western Europe's cheapest cities. With all these reasons to visit, and so much to choose from, an overview of what the city has to offer is needed to start planning a vacation there.
As Portugal's capital and largest city, Lisbon is also the best place in the country for museums. Not to be missed are the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tilework Museum) and Museu Gulbenkian. The former is devoted to azulejos-the decorative tiles that can be seen almost everywhere in Portugal. The latter is the best art museum in the city, and is situated in one of Lisbon's lovelier parks. Museu Nacional do Azulejo Rua da Madre de Deus 4 1900-312 Lisboa Tel: mnazulejo-ipmuseus.pt/ Museu Gulbenkian Av. de Berna 45A 1067-001 Lisboa Tel: (+351) museu.gulbenkian.pt
Sintra and Caiscais
These two suburbs of Lisbon are popular day-trip destinations. Sintra is a green hilly place that was formerly the playground of both Lisbon's upper strata and their wealthy English counterparts living abroad. Every perch above the town center is filled with 18th- or 19th-century palaces, and the area boasts the greenest parks in central Portugal. Sintra is the place for walking, either for a lovely stroll or a strenuous hike to the top to see Pena Palace and the Moorish Castle. Caiscais, on the other hand, is home to the closest beach stops to Lisbon. That makes it popular with locals and visitors alike, and some of the beaches are good for surfing. Caiscais can be reached by commuter train from Cais do Sodre station, and Sintra by commuter train from Rossio station.
Located near the Tagus riverfront between Lisbon and Caiscais, Belem makes for a convenient stop on the way out to the beach, but is worthy of a visit in its own right. The biggest attraction is the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, a 16th-century monastery that survived the 1755 earthquake that obliterated so much of old Lisbon. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is the most striking example of Manueline architecture and houses a pair of museums within its cloisters. Nearby is the Tower of Belem, an impressive 16th-century riverfront fortification. Anyone stopping in the area should visit the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem for the ritual sampling of the famous Pasteis de Belem custard pastries. Mosteiro dos Jeronimos Praça do Império 1400-206 Lisboa Portugal Tel: (+351) 21 362 00 34 mosteirojeronimos.pt
Soccer fans will delight in Lisbon being home to two of Portugal's three major teams: Benfica and Sporting. Between the two teams, the odds are good that a visitor spending a week in Lisbon during the season will be able to catch a home game. Benfica Stadium Av. General Norton De Matos 1500 Lisboa slbenfica.pt/ Sporting Stadium Edifício Visconde de Alvalade Rua Professor Fernando da Fonseca 1600 - 616 Lisboa sporting.pt/
The Old Neighborhoods
The best way to start a tour of old Lisbon is to get on Tram No. 28, which loops the entire area. While hopping on and off the tram line will run up a substantial fare, it will take a lot of the work out of climbing up and down Lisbon's steep hills. For those who don't take the No. 28, plan a route around the funiculars and the iconic Elevador de Santa Justa to take some effort out of the legwork. They are there for a reason: even the Lisbonites don't like climbing those hills. The lower part of downtown is the Rossio and Baixa. The plazas and old streets here are pleasant during the day, but at night the area is non-residential and is vacant of all but lost tourists and drug addicts. Above this area are Chiado and Barrio Alto to the west, and Alfama and the Castle to the east. Chiado and Barrio Alto are the main nightlife areas of old Lisbon, with Barrio Alto in particular turning into a honeycombed labryinthe of partying crowds on the weekends. Alfama is the old Moorish quarter the city, home to the Se (Lisbon cathedral) and a honeycomb of narrow, picturesque streets. Above the Se is the Castelo de Sao Jorge (Castle of St. George), which offers the best views of the city. Castle of St. George 1100 – 129 Lisboa Tel: (+351) 218 800 620 castelosaojorge.egeac.pt
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I am planning a trip to Brazil. While I will be spending most of my time in Rio de Janeiro, I also want to visit Foz de Iguacu. What is the best way to get there from Rio? Where are some relatively inexpensive places to stay? - Quora
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