Lisbon Portugal is an incredibly beautiful city on the Tagus River. Portugal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with a massive 350 mile southwestern Atlantic Coastline. Portugal is surrounded by 4 mountain chains: Caramulo, Bucaco, Nave and Estrela that protects some of the vineyards from cold Atlantic winds and continental storms.
There are over 250 indigenous grape varieties that produce wine with an impressive array of flavors! Portugal has the largest number of micro-climates per square kilometer in the world. There are a wealth of soil types: granite, schist, clay, limestone and sand.
Most Portuguese wine-makers are “Masters Blenders”; blending different grape varieties allows them to produce a desirable flavor profile. Wines from Portugal are influenced by the high precipitation, fog, moderate temperatures and high rainfall and cold and salty winds from the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea with hot and dry summers and mild winters and Continental amplitudes with low to moderate rainfall on the eastern Spanish border. The 3 largest wine producing regions are: Douro (23%), Alentejo (20%) and Lisboa (14%). After joining the EU in 1986, there was a huge infusion capital for technology and quality improvements in Portugal’s Wine Industry.
The Lisboa Card is a sightseeing pass that helps visitors see Lisbon’s attractions, saving them both time and money.
- Free entry in 26 monuments, museums and attractions
- Unlimited use of Lisbon’s public transport, including metro, bus, tram, funicular and commuter train to Sintra and Cascais
- 10 to 50% discount in several services, including hop-on hop-off buses, river cruises and fado performances
Portugal has a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
- Alto Douro Wine Region (2001)
- Central Zone of the Town of Angra do Heroismo in the Azores (1983)
- Convent of Christ in Tomar (1983)
- Cultural Landscape of Sintra (1995): the most popular day trip from Lisbon, Sintra’s UNESCO World Heritage status is well-deserved. While the most popular attraction is the Palácio de Pena, a former summer palace for the royal family. Commissioned by Ferdinand II in 1842, the brightly-painted buildings and mixture of architectural styles reflect the king’s love of the arts. Pena Park was created at the same time as Pena Palace. It houses over five hundred species of trees, ferns, and flowers from all over the world.
- Garrison Border Town of Elvas and its Fortifications (2012)
- Historic Centre of Évora (1986)
- Historic Centre of Guimarães (2001)
- Historic Centre of Oporto, Luiz I Bridge and Monastery of Serra do Pilar (1996)
- Landscape of the Pico Island Vineyard Culture (2004)
- Monastery of Alcobaça (1989)
- Monastery of Batalha (1983);
- Monastery of the Hieronymites and Tower of Belém in Lisbon (1983)
- Prehistoric Rock Art Sites in the Côa Valley and Siega Verde (1998,2010)
- Royal Building of Mafra – Palace, Basilica, Convent, Cerco Garden and Hunting Park (Tapada) (2019)
- Sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte in Braga (2019)
- University of Coimbra – Alta and Sofia (2013)
There are also many UNESCO side trips that are available from Lisbon.
I love the Cristo-Rei (Christ the King) monument overlooking Lisbon. It was inspired by Rio’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue, the Cristo Rei (about 360 feet high) was erected in 1959.
Cristo Rei is open daily. Opening times: 9.30 am–6 pm (21 Sep to 30 Jun),
9.30 am–6.45 pm (1-14 Jul and 1-20 Sep)
9.30 am–7.30 pm (15 Jul to 31 Aug)
On December 25th opens at 2.30 pm; on January 1st opens at 10 am.
When you visit Lisbon, schedule enough time in Portugal to explore central Portugal’s magnificent coast and charming villages. Visit the quaint streets of Sintra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for the captivating Pena Palace.
Sintra’s National Palace is the only medieval Portuguese palace to survive almost completely. The exact construction date is unknown, but it was mentioned in historic texts prior to the Christian reconquering of Sintra in 1147. It has been used continuously from the 15th century through the fall of the monarchy in 1910.
The palace’s most striking visual feature is the pair of unusual conical chimneys rising from the kitchen. The relatively austere exterior gives little hint of the elaborately-decorated rooms inside, the most famous of which is the ‘magpie room,’ meant to reflect the chattering and scheming of the royal court.
Ornate tapestries, a valuable copper celestial globe, and even a large model Chinese pagoda, are just a few of the other highlights of the palace’s collection of artworks on
Make time to visit the former fishing village of Cascais.
Then head to the coast where you can soak up the sun in the famous beach town of Cascais.
Take the wine road to the coastal Lisboa region north and northeast of Lisbon. These are the westernmost vineyards in Europe. Choose from the Rota dos Vinhos de Bucelas or The Rota da Vinha e do Vinho de Lisboa which has 3 options: Quintas de Alenquer, Linhas de Torres and Obidos. Check out this site for more information:
There are 2 Wines of Portugal Tasting Rooms that will allow you to taste wine from some of Portugal’s 14 wine regions and 31 Denomination of Origin areas. Taste some amazing blends from some of the 250 native grape varieties. Visit the Wines of Portugal Lisbon Tasting room in the Sala de Provas de Lisboa or the Porto Tasting Room in the Sala de Provas do Porto.
Schedule a day trip to Fátima, Nazaré and/or Óbidos from Lisbon.
3. Admire beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean from the Nazaré cliffs and explore the fishing town of Nazar. Nazaré’s crescent-shaped main beach (Praia da Nazaré) has been voted one of the best in the country.
Take the Funicular from the Beach to the Cliff. Have a magnificent Vino con Vista while you enjoy the specialties of the region. Barnacles, freshly harvested from the dangerous rocks nearby, and polvo à lagareiro, a whole octopus oven-roasted in garlic and olive oil. Have some wine from the nearby Obidos DOC in the Lisboa wine region. Try the refreshing Quinta Do Pinto Estate Collection 2017 White Wine made with Antao Vaz, Arinto, Semillon, Viosinho, Marsanne and Roussane grapes. Many Portuguese Wine options involve blending grapes to generate the most desirable flavor profile.
Nazaré’s biggest claim to fame in recent years is the size of its waves. The presence of the nearby Nazaré underwater canyon—the largest such canyon in Europe creates huge breakers at certain times of the year. During stormy weather or king tides in winter, waves 100 feet high can form just offshore, attracting big-name surfers from all over the world.
and the romantic medieval village of Óbidos
In Lisbon, there are so many beautiful sites. Stroll through Lisbon’s historic cobblestone streets. Walk through the city’s oldest quarter, the Moorish Alfama neighborhood and head over to the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte viewpoint, one of the best vantage points in the city. Visit Sé de Lisboa cathedral, Eden Theatre, and the famed Chiado neighborhood. See the scenic coast of Belém and a UNESCO-recognized monastery.
I love the Vasco de Gama Bridge and the monument to Christ the King. The Cristo Rei monument stands on the southern bank of the Tagus River, in Almada where Christ stands with open arms. This statue was inspired by the Corcovado Christ the Redeemer monument in Rio de Janeiro.
I also love the Monument to the Discoveries representing the the maritime Portuguese Explorers during the 15th and 16th centuries. Expeditions started in 1419 along West Africa’s coast under Prince Henry the Navigator. Bartolomeu Dias got to the Cape of Good Hope and entered the Indian Ocean in 1488. In 1588, Vasco da Gama led the first fleet around Africa to India. Methodical Portuguese expeditions started in 1419.
“Padrão dos Descobrimentos” (Monument to the Discoveries) is located on the northern bank of the Tagus River estuary; where ships departed to explore and trade with India and the Orient. This magnificent sculpture was conceived in 1939 by Portuguese architect José Ângelo Cottinelli Telmo, and sculptor Leopoldo de Almeida.
The Tower of Belem was designed to protect the Tagus Estuary from pirates, but it isn’t the only castle in Lisbon.
When I was in Lisbon, I had an opportunity to attend a Fado concert at ST. GEORGE’S CASTLE. From the millennium-old walls of the castle of Sao Jorge, I had a panoramic Vino con Vista view of this historic city.
I basically won the Fado lottery on this Vino con Vista adventure because I was introduced to Fado by listening to Carlos do Carmo. He belted out some incredible tunes. Most of the members of his Portuguese audience in Lisbon were singing along. He is like the Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley of Fado.
The Castle of Sao Jorge was an outstanding concert venue. taking hilltop venue overlooking the city of Lisbon and the Tagus River.
This was my first exposure to Fado. Many Fado lyrics are drawn from poetry. I liked the mournful music so much, that I bought a Carlos do Carmo CD at the concert. Watch this video to see him in concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66wB4aomvI&feature=related
Historians concur that Fado is a “multicultural blending of melodies by Portuguese sailors, African slave songs and ancient Moorish ballads.” Fado songs are usually performed by a solo singer, male or female. The solo singer is traditionally accompanied by a wire-strung acoustic guitar and the Portuguese guitarra (a pear-shaped lute with twelve wire strings).
Portugal has numerous Fado venues where you can hear the soulful music. There is a Fado Museum in Lisbon.
Fado is Lisbon’s traditional music genre. This “distinctive melancholic form of traditional singing, accompanied by classical and Portuguese guitars has themes associated with passion, fate and regret.”
On November 27, 2011, Fado was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. UNESCO is interested in protecting cultural traditions; Intangible Cultural Heritage includes “traditions and skills passed on within cultures.”
UNESCO describes Fado as the “urban popular song of Portugal”:
“Fado is a performance genre incorporating music and poetry widely practiced by various communities in Lisbon. It represents a Portuguese multicultural synthesis of Afro-Brazilian sung dances, local traditional genres of song and dance, musical traditions from rural areas of the country brought by successive waves of internal immigration, and the cosmopolitan urban song patterns of the early nineteenth century.” (UNESCO) For more information visit UNESCO’s website here
Furthermore, Lisbon won The Academy of Urbanism’s “European City of the Year 2012.” The organization was impressed with “Lisbon’s development of the River Tagus waterfront (now home to the annual Festival dos Oceanos) and the revival of Mouraria, one of the city’s typical historic quarters. Lisbon has successfully managed to sustain its classical and modern architecture. There was a tremendous amount of rebuilding after the great earthquake of 1755.”
The Academy of Urbanism is “an autonomous, politically independent organisation whose goals are the recognition, learning and promoting of best practices in urbanism.”
Here’s a great video to watch before you plan your trip to Portugal: http://youtu.be/qt-T6Zbry98
When I was in Lisbon, I also did some side trips. I went to see Portugal’s natural and architectural wonders of Sintra and Cascais from Lisbon.
I visited Sintra; an old pedestrian village that was founded a thousand years ago. The Greeks named Sintra the “Mountain of the Moon” and today is still a true fairy tale village. It has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1995.
We drove along the Atlantic Coast to Cascais; a former fishing village that gained fame as a resort for Portugal’s royal family in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Cascais was the summer retreat of the Portuguese nobility, and today the town is an elegant fusion of decorative 19th-century architecture and modern tourist facilities.
Grapes are thought to have been grown in the land that is now Portugal for at least 4,000 years. The Phoenicians probably introduced wine-making to the south, and the Romans spread vine cultivation and wine-making further north as they drove out the northern Celts. Christianity arrived in the second century AD, incorporating wine into Portugal’s ceremonies.
A lot of wine is made in the Lisboa region in a wide variety of styles, much of it in co-operatives like:
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides @ www.vino-con-vista.com