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Getting To Know Lisbon – Cruise Port Guide
Lisbon features on hundreds of cruise itineraries, especially no fly cruises sailing to the Mediterranean and Canary Islands, and we’re positive that our Lisbon cruise port guide will be the only tool you need in order to build your perfect visit to one of Portugal’s most fascinating destinations.
Lisbon is Portugal’s capital city and it is always a hive of activity – no mater what time of year you visit. There’s always something going on and things to see and do, but before you even step ashore and delve into the land based delights, you’ll have the good fortune of sailing along the Tagus River on a 15km journey that will give you a glimpse of what to expect ashore. Your ship will pass several prominent monuments: the Belem Tower which was constructed in 1520 as a city defence and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Monument to the Discoveries which is a dedication to Portuguese explorers and was built in 1960; and the hugely impressive Cristo Rei, a large figure of Christ which is similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro. You’ll also sail beneath the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge which is one of Lisbon’s most notable landmarks. It looks remarkably similar to San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge and remembers the Portuguese Carnation Revolution of April 25, 1974.
When your ship comes to her berth, you’ll find yourself at one of four busy cruise terminals and these are Alcantâra, Rocha Conde de Óbidos, Jardim do Tabaco and Santa Apolónia. All of the terminals are within walking distance of Praça do Comércio, Lisbon’s main square. From here, you’re right in the middle of the city and can explore numerous historical sites, shopping options, delicious food and more. This really is the beating heart of Lisbon and if you’re opting to explore independently, then this is a great place to start. Hop on hop off buses are readily available and there is also a shuttle service in operation if you decide you want to conserve your energy for your time in the city.
Lisbon’s main shopping street is Rua Augusta and you can’t miss it. When at Praca do Comércio, simply head for the archway – this will take you straight onto Rua Augusta. Here, you’ll find numerous shops from high end fashion to local boutique and even dedicated stores run by locals offering bottles of Lisbon’s famous port. This street is also lined with many cafes and restaurants and is a great choice of you want to stop for a refreshment and people watch for a while. The adjacent streets also offer something similar, so please do venture into other areas and see what’s on offer.
So, what else is there to see and do? Well, one thing you can’t miss in Lisbon is the city’s tram network. It has been in operation since 1873 and wherever it is you wish to go in the city, chances are the tram can take you on one of its six lines. It’s a cheap and fun way of getting around the city and we would highly recommend it.
If you’re exploring areas such as Baixa (the main shopping are in Lisbon) or the Barrio Alto (the upper city), then you’re going to need your energy! On that note, why not factor in some lunch during your time ashore? Barrio Alto has some superb dining options available. The small local restaurants are called Tascas and they offer traditional Portuguese cuisine. If you’re heading along the seafront, you’ll find an abundance of seafood restaurants on the waterside at Doca de Santa Amaro.
Of course, no visit to Lisbon would be complete without a Pastéis de Belém and this is where the important information comes in. Pastéis de Belém is the name given to this delicious custard tart that was first created in 1837 by the monks of Jerónimos Monastery. To this day, the recipe is a closely guarded secret and only Fábrica Pastéis de Belém (a family pastry shop that has been making these for more than 100 years) offers up the traditional and original Pastéis de Belém. The name was even patented, so it legally can’t be used by anyone else to describe these small treats from the Gods. Fábrica Pastéis de Belém can be found at Rua de Belem 84 to 92. Be warned, there are always large queues here, so if you do want to bag yourself a traditional treat, be prepared to factor the waiting time into your day. But, don’t panic! Across the city you’ll find restaurants, cafes and bakeries selling Pastel de Nata which is essentially the same thing, so you won’t miss out.
If you’ve visited Lisbon before and are looking for something new to enjoy, then we’d recommend a day trip to Sintra, a town in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains which are just 15-miles outside of Lisbon. Sintra is home to the Pena Palace of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Portugal’s Seven Wonders. To this day, the palace is often used for state occasions. Sintra also offers The Palácio Nacional de Sintra, Castelos dos Mouros and the Quinta de Regaleria – the latter of which being a truly fascinating experience! Quinta de Regaleria is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO within the ‘Cultural Landscapes of Sintra” and it is simply out of this world. The building itself is magnificent and the grounds feature a chapel, grottos, fountains, lakes, wells and more. The lavish mansion also features hidden tunnels and numerous secretive religious symbols.
Many of Lisbon’s streets are made from cobblestones which could prove problematic for wheelchair users
Some streets are incredibly steep
Pick pockets are in frequent operation in the city – leave all valuables such as jewellery onboard and only take with you the currency you think you’ll need
Public transport is relatively cheap
Key highlights of Lisbon
- Belem Tower
- 25th of April Bridge
- Christo Rei
- Monument of the Discoveries
- Restauradores Square
- Bairro Alto
- Lisbon Cathedral
- Alfama (Lisbon’s oldest city)
Regular cruise line visitors
- MSC Cruises
- P&O Cruises
- Saga Cruises
- Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
- Princess Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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