Lisbon Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Lisbon

Planning a short break to Lisbon? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Lisbon. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Lisbon. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Torre De Belem (Tower of Belem)

Completed in 1515, this is one of Lisbon's most famous sights. Built into the terrace of the bastion, the tower has a famous 18th-century statue of Virgin and Child, and sentry posts on each corner.

Highlights of this sight include: the Manueline exterior with its detailed stone carvings, the Moorish-style domes, beautiful balconies and a drawbridge that leads to a terrace, which offers superb views across the river.

This sight is closed on a Monday. Admission fees: € 3 (adult), € 1.5 (student), children under 12 are free. Located Avenida de Brasilia 1400-206. Tel: 21/362-00-34.

For more information visit - www.mosteirojeronimos.pt

Castelo De Sao Jorge (Castle of St George)

Situated on the highest of Lisbon's seven hills, the Castle was the royal residence until the late 15th century. It was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1755 and declared a National Monument in 1910. Rebuilding started in 1940, to restore the Castle to its former state. The Castle offers magnificent views of Lisbon, as well as lovely gardens full of olive, cork and pine trees. You will be able to watch flamingoes, peacock and swans in these gardens. There is a giant periscope in the Torre de Ulisses, where visitors can see live images of Lisbon (reflected onto a large screen). Admission fees: Castle and Gardens, free. Tower of Ulysses € 2 (adults), € .75 (child 6-14), free (children under 5). Located Edificio das Antigas Prisoes 1100-129. Tel: 21/887-72-44.

www.ebahl.pt/castelo/index.htm contains extra information

Bairro Alto

Famous for its nightlife, there is no shortage of bars and clubs in this area. During the day you can explore Lisbon life by strolling down the picturesque streets and stair cased alleys (becos). Make contact with Lisbon's finest in the up market Chiado shopping district or have a drink at the elegant Cafe A Brasileira. Keep an eye open for the ruins of the Convento do Carmo and view the city from the top of Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara.

Sintra

A worthwhile attraction in its own right. Sintra's lush vegetation and glorious mountaintop views attracts tourists from all over the world, and have done so since the times of the early Iberians. In 1997 an art museum opened in Sintra's neoclassical former casino (in Estefania). This museum has the world's best postwar art, including a particularly strong selection of pop art. The 350 pieces displayed include works by Warhol, Lichtenstein, Pollock and Kossoff. Make sure to visit the top-floor cafe with its open-air terrace and good views.

The region is also getting increasingly popular for mountain biking and hiking. A favourite walking trail is the relatively easy 50-minute hike from Sintra-Vila to Castelo dos Mouros. Sintra is located 28km northwest of Lisbon and should receive top priority.

Ajuda Botanical Gardens

The oldest botanical garden in Portugal, built in 1768. This garden was used by the princesses of the Ajuda Palace and later as a gathering point for all the species brought from other countries by Portuguese discoverers. The garden has trees that is more than a century old and a spectacular view of the Tagus river. Ajuda's Botanical Gardens houses four hothouses (one is actually being used as a restaurant), three lakes, porcelain flower pots from the 19th century, an 18th-century fountain, and many plants and flowers. Open daily between 9am and 8pm. The garden is located in Ajuda.

Praia do Guincho

One of the best spots in Portugal for surfing and wind surfing. Frequent national and international competitions are held at this location. July and August are the best time for these sports, but the wind begins to blow in May and goes on until October. The south side of the beach are chosen for surfing and the north side has much better conditions for wind surfers. The beach offers plenty of summertime entertainment, bars and restaurants situated along the coast and plenty of sunny weather. Located directly after Cascais when heading out from Lisbon.

Oceanarium

Inhabited by 16,000 animals and plants, representing over 450 different species, this Oceanarium is Europe's largest aquarium. Four biotypes, each recreating one of the world's coastal habitats, are located in the four corner towers which encircle the central aquarium. The Global Ocean tank, one of the world's largest aquariums (4 million liters), can be seen throughout a visit to the Oceanarium. The tank habitat is that of the high seas, and it houses a good percentage of large inhabitants. The best known are the sharks, rays and barracudas. The Oceanarium offers visitors a unique and enchanting experience.

Expo Park

The Park offers numerous attractions both during the day and at night. You can run, walk or just sit on the promenade by the river, enjoying the view of Vasco da Gama Bridge. Visit the Oceanarium, the Virtual Reality Pavilion, the Knowledge Pavilion, or attend live concerts in the Atlantic Pavilion. There is also cable car rides to enjoy. Across the street, you can go shopping in the Vasco da Gama Shopping Center or have an unforgettable meal at some of the finest restaurants in town. There is a choice of activities for everyone and a visit to this Park is sure to be remembered. Located on the former grounds of the 'Expo 98', Lisbon.

Martinho da Arcada

Lisbon's oldest cafe. It experienced the big revolutions of the last two centuries and took clients like Bocage, Fernando Pessoa and Amalia. It opened its door with oil burning lamps and today it is still the best place to enjoy a good drink and some local cuisine. Very little have changed since it opened for the first time and the welcoming ambience of the spot is still apparent as you walk through the door. You can expect good food at a good price, and the service is very friendly. Situated on the Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), Downtown Lisbon.

Avenida da Liberdade

The Avenue of Liberty is like a living vein, connecting Pombal Marquis and downtown Lisbon. You will find everything here, but it is the shopping area that needs special mention.

Being a good place to walk, make sure not to miss the ancient tailor shops, followed by internationally known brands like Calvin Klein, Timberland, Massimo Dutti, Armani and others. You will be able to strike some good bargains at most of these shops.

When tired from shopping, just sit at one of the local esplanades and have a drink. Located in Downtown Lisbon.

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