Accommodation & places to visit in Lisbon

Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal, is a thriving metropolis with more than 500,000 residents. Founded in 1256, Lisbon mixes centuries of history with a vibrant art scene and delicious food. Portugal is also the home of most of the world's sherry producers and this distilled wine is consumed heartily in Lisbon with after-work snacks and dinner. Portuguese is the official language in Lisbon. However, English and Spanish are also widely spoken.

  • When to visit
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    There's really not a bad time to visit Lisbon. The middle of the summer (June-August) can get a little crowded with tour buses and school groups. That's also when you'll send the most for airfare and hotel accommodations. Less crowded and less expensive, while still delightful, are the spring and fall months. Although winter can be stark and beautiful in its own right, and the holiday season is festive, winter is also the rainy season.
  • Weather
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    Lisbon's weather never reaches the extremes that some of her European neighbors do. Cooled by the Gulf Stream, Lisbon's summer temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees and its winter lows are usually well about freezing. Below is a sampling of the average temperatures in the city:
    Average high temperature (F/C), Average low temperature (F/C), average monthly rainfall:

    • January -- 58/14, 47/8, 4.31 in.

    • March -- 64/18 50/10, 2.71 in.

    • May -- 71/22, 55/13, 1.52 in.

    • June -- 77/25, 60/16, .083 in.

    • August -- 82/28, 64/18, .022 in.

    • October -- 72/22, 58/14, 3.16 in.

    • December -- 59/14, 48/9, 4.24 in.

  • To Do
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    You won't run out of things to do in Lisbon. Channel the inner explorer in you by touring the many monuments at Belem just outside of the city. This was the departure point for many 15th century explorers, including Christopher Columbus and Vasco de Gama. You'll also want to take a funicular (rail car) up one of Lisbon's seven hills and savor the sweeping view.
    Make sure to stop in a Lisbon nightclub to hear Fado music performed. This uniquely Portuguese style of music is part blues, part ballad and all passion.
    If you have more than a day to explore Lisbon, you'll want to take a day trip out to one of the seaside resorts, such as Sintra or Cascais. Both are less than an hour's train ride from downtown Lisbon.
  • To See
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    There is a myriad of things to see in Lisbon. The most popular attractions include Jeronimos Monastery, built in the 16th century and the final resting place of explorer Vasco de Gama; Belem Tower, another example of 16th century architecture and the symbol of the city; the Oceanarium and St. George's Castle, the remnants of a Moorish fortress that offers dramatic views of the city.
    Of course, Lisbon has its share of excellent museums, too. Among the "must-see's" are the National Tile Museum wth its elaborate mosaics, Gulbenkian Museum with its extensive collection of modern art, and the National Museum of Art and Antiques with its collection of paintings by Old Masters.
  • Tips & Recommendations
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    • Food in Lisbon favors the bountiful fish and seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. Specialties include salt cod made a variety of different ways, regional goat cheeses, pork slow cooked with clams, caldo verde (a soup made with cabbages, onions and potatoes) and, of course, sherry.

    • Mealtimes in Lisbon tend to be later than in the United States, Canada and the UK. Lunch, the main meal of the day, is typically eaten between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM with a light dinner taken around 9:00 or 10:00 PM.

    • Stores in Lisbon are generally open between 9:30 AM and 10:00 PM with a lunch break between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Many independent retailers are closed on Sundays.

    • In the event of an emergency, dial 112 in Lisbon. The call center has English-speaking operators available 24/7.

    • Lisbon's public transportation system makes getting around the city easy. You can also purchase a Lisboa card, which gives you unlimited access to the system for 24, 48 or 72 hours as well as free or discounted admission to a variety of area museums and attractions.

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