10 Interesting Things to do in Lisbon CheapOair Staff April 26, 2011 Interests 1 Comment So much to do in Lisbon! Situated atop the hills of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal has always been known as the country adjacent to Spain. In recent years though, the country has begun to make a name for itself. With renovated castles, churches and grand fortresses, Portugal definitely now shines on its own. Known as the city on seven hills, the capital city of Lisbon mixes Spanish flavor with old charm Europe. Find yourself lost in these narrow streets and discover why this Mediterranean melting pot is the place to be. Cristo Rei: Overlooking the city of Lisbon and inspired by the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, the Cristo-Rei statue is a symbol that has taken ten years to complete. It was founded and supported by religious figures and the national government. The statue was built as a plea to God to release Portugal from entering World War II. Feira de Ladra: Flea markets are a fantastic way to find cheap souvenirs and unique items to bring home. With the name “Market of Thieves” you might just steal some great bargains. You’ll be able to negotiate prices with local sellers who know it is part of the game to find a good value. Jeronimos Monastery: Picturesque architecture can easily attract tourists, especially when it is a UNESCO world heritage monument. Built during the era of World Discovery, it was built and used as a place where Vasco Da Gama spent their last night in prayer before leaving for India. It is the final resting place of the navigator as well. It’s a spiritual place with the elegance of European Gothic design. The Calouste Gulbenkian Museum: Imagine being an art collector and stating in your will that you want your own personal display to be put in a museum named after you. Calouste Gulbenkian did exactly this to accommodate and display his fine works of art. The permanent exhibit features art from the Orient, Persians, Armenian, Egyptian and Greco-roman periods. There is also a section covering European art and sculptures. Parque das Nacoes: When preparing for a bid for the Expo ’98 World Exhibition, the city of Lisbon decided to renovate an old industrial area into a leisure park. One can stroll along the marina, shop at the Vaso da Gama shopping mall or visit one of the world’s biggest aquariums. Lisbon Botanical Gardens: At one point, this botanical oasis was one of the best gardens in Southern Europe. It has a large collection of subtropical vegetation in Europe. There are nearly 20,000 species of plants from all over the world. One can find species that range from New Zealand, China, Japan and South America. Tram 28: The best way to live the local experience is to ride the local transportation units. Lisbon’s Tram 28 is the perfect route for sightseeing. The old locomotives twist and turn down narrow streets while you pass famous sites such as the Market and unique neighborhood districts. Castelo de Sao Jorge: Overlooking the city of Lisbon and facing the Tagus River, the gorgeous citadel which dates to medieval times is one of the most historical sites in the city. Historians say the area has been occupied as early as the sixth century BC by Celtic tribes, Phoenicians and Greeks. The castle became an important weapon against the Moors after the Crusades. Since then, it was used to house archives of the Kingdom; to serve as sort of a royal palace. In modern time, it is a popular tourist attraction because of its fascinating history and overhead views of the city. Ponte Vasco de Gama: In celebration of Vasco da Gama’s 500th anniversary of his sea route from Europe to India, the bridge which is name after him was designed to commemorate this establishment. Not only is it the longest bridge in Europe, but it is in the top 10 of longest bridges in the world. It also alleviates congestion on the 25 de Abril Bridge. Apparently, it has a life expectancy of 120 years; designed to withstand winds up to 155mph and strong earthquakes. Reserva Natural do Estuário do Tejo: Known as the largest estuary in Western Europe, the Nature Reserve is a sanctuary for fish, birds and other wetland creatures. It is a great way to have direct contact with nature in their true habitats. Surrounded by turquoise crystalline waters, it is common for tourists to enjoy a motor boat trip to hidden caves. Be sure to enter the Pick Your Portugal Prize with CheapOair contest for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Lisbon!