Lisbon and its Region

 

 

Mainland Europe’s westernmost capital, Lisbon is a fascinating and inspiring place to spend a few days, thanks to its wonderful waterfront location, balmy climate and quirky range of attractions that combine a place-that-time-forgot feel with a modern vibrancy that few European cities can match.

 

A short way inland from Lisbon, the UNESCO heritage site of Sintra enjoys a cool mountainside location, which made it a favoured summer destination for Portugal’s Royals – their ornate and extravagant palaces make for a fascinating day-trip. It is also just a short hop from Lisbon to some fantastic Atlantic beaches: locals favour the southern coast, with miles of sands along the Costa da Caparica or the small cove beaches between the historic port of Setubal and the resort of Sesimbra. Easiest to reach, however, are the town beaches of bustling Estoril and the former fishing village of Cascais, both easily accessible by train.

 

Lisbon is Europe & Portugal’s new foreign investment “magnet”. The Lisbon property and tourist market are experiencing an expected and deserved exponential growth, with savvy investors and property owners experiencing annual occupancy rates exceeding 90 % including private tourist accommodation. Lisbon is currently Europe’s second most popular nightlife destination.

 

The huge amount of public and private investment in Lisbon tourist related infrastructures, which briefly slowed down during the recent crisis, together with new concepts and events that have emerged and run side-by-side with the traditional establishments, have made Lisbon much more colourful and desirable as a lifestyle destination. Today, Lisbon appeals to and has something to offer to each one of the millions of tourists that visit the City every year. The number of tourists will continue to grow for the foreseeable future, not only because Lisbon is an exciting and colorful destination, but mainly due to planned major infrastructures such as the new Lisbon International Airport and Cruise Ship Terminal.

 

Additionally, the government has recently put into place two strategic laws aimed at stimulating the local real estate market. These are the Golden Visa Lisbon and Non-Habitual Tax Resident. Those programs have played a major role in the overwhelming demand for properties in Lisbon (but not limited to), which we refer to as the “gold-rush”.

 

The Non-Habitual Tax Residency Portugal program grants citizens currently domiciled in any country with a dual taxation treaty with Portugal, who become fiscally resident in Portugal, a 10-year ZERO tax break on their worldwide income. This program has appealed to the French and Northern-European high net worth citizens in particular.

 

Top quality golf courses: Portugal is famous for its golf courses, and there are twelve highly rated examples in the Lisbon area. Elected Best European Golf Destination by the IAGTO organization, the Lisbon Golf Coast offers quality, service, diversity and a real Portuguese flair, out of the mass tourism.

 

Batalha
 



The Monastery of Santa Maria da Vitoria was built in answer to a vow made by King John I to the Virgin, if the Castillian’s invader were defeated in the Battle of Aljubarrota. Elected by UNESCO as World Heritage, it is a grand monument to the closing phase of Portuguese Gothic whose building began in 1388.


Cascais
 



Stylish summer resort. Amongst the numerous restaurants, bars and discotheques are the following historic places: Castro Guimaraes Museum and Sea Museum, the 18th century churches of Nossa Senhora da Assuncão and Nossa Senhora dos Navegantes; the chapels of Nossa Senhora da Guia (15th century) and São Sebastiao (16th and 17th-centuries) and the 17th century fortress. Just a few minutes away lies Guincho beach (a great place for those who enjoy surfing and windsurfing).


Estoril
 


Renowned worldwide as an important tourism spot (casino, golf course and racing track). The beautiful Santo Antonio Church stands out in this cosmopolitan resort, which also boasts an exciting nightlife.


Fatima
 



One of the most important Marian centres of pilgrimage in the catholic world. Basilica and Capelinha das Aparicoes, standing in the place where it is said that Our Lady appeared to the three shepherds.


Leiria
 



A striking medieval royal castle sits atop the graceful town of Leiria. Other important monuments: the Cathedral (16th-17th centuries, with an archaeology museum on its premises), São Pedro Church (Romanesque), Nossa Senhora da Pena Church (Gothic), Nossa Senhora da Encarnacão Sanctuary (16th century).


Lisbon
 


Spreading out along the right bank of the Tagus, its downtown, the ‘Baixa’, is at the 18th century area of Rossio. East of the arcades of Praca do Comercio, are the medieval quarters of Alfama and Mouraria, crowned by the magnificent St. George’s Castle. To the west lies Bairro Alto and Madragoa, with their typical streets, and on the western extreme lies Belem, with the Belem tower, the Jeronimos monastery (masterpieces of Manueline architecture and classified in UNESCO’s International Heritage list) and the Cultural Center of Belem.


Museums
 


Ancient Art, Chiado, Tile Museum, Archaeology, Design Museum, Ethnology Museum, Carriage Museum, Costume, Theatre, Maritime, Military, City, Gulbenkian Museum, Modern Art Centre, and the Ricardo Espirito Santo Silva Foundation.


Palaces
 


open to the public: Pena, Ajuda and Fronteira.


Churches
 


Cathedral (with treasury); Sao Vicente de Fora; Conceicao Velha (Manueline), Sao Roque (with a sacred art museum); Madre Deus; Santa Engracia Pantheon (Baroque), and Estrela Basilica.


Shopping
 


Downtown; Avenida de Roma, Praca de Londres, Avenida Guerra Junqueiro and shopping centers Amoreiras, Colombo and Vasco da Gama.


Nightlife
 


Bairro Alto and Avenida 24 de Julho, Alcantara and riverside discos and bars. The area where the last World’s Fair of last century (EXPO 98) was held is today called the Nations Park, and here are to be found the great Lisbon aquarium, restaurants, leisure activities as well as shows and exhibitions.


Mafra
 



Palace-Convent built in the 18th century, is the largest Portuguese religious monument. It consists of royal apartments, magnificent library, bell tower and basilica.


Obidos
 



Completely enclosed by lofty medieval walls, this is a small town with whitewashed houses brightened up by colourful bougainvilleas. The massively-towered castle has now been converted into an elegant Pousada. Churches: Nossa Senhora do Carmo (Romanesque-Gothic), Santa Maria (Renaissance, housing an art collection by the Portuguese painter Josefa d’Obidos), Misericordia (15th-18th centuries) and Sao Pedro (18th century). Nearby, Senhor da Pedra Sanctuary.


Palmela
 


Dominated by a magnificent castle, overlooking one of the most gorgeous views of the plains of the Lisbon area, the ocean, Setubal and Arrabida mountain range. The village of Palmela dates back to pre-Moorish times and it is a quaint little village with cobbled stone streets, great food and excellent wine. The castle houses the old Santiago convent where a Pousada is now featured.


Queluz
 



Located about 17km from downtown Lisbon. Queluz was the summer palace for the kings of Portugal in the 18th century, it encloses a series of rambling and beautiful gardens with lakes and sculptures, and houses an important collection of furniture, paintings, tiles, and decorative arts. Within the palace property stands the Pousada D. Maria.


Santarem
 


 

Castle of Roman origin overlooking Portas do Sol (Sun Gates) and opening on to a panoramic view of the Tagus river. Monuments: the Roman-Gothic Church of Sao Joao de Alporao (with an archaeology museum); the Gothic Convent of São Francisco and the Gothic churches of Graca and Santa Clara; the Renaissance Chapel of Nossa Senhora do Monte; from later periods, the churches of Santissimo Milagre and Seminario Patriarcal.


Sesimbra
 


Picturesque small fishing town, with a medieval castle atop a hill. While here, do not miss the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Cabo, at Cabo Espichel, and Lagoa de Albufeira, a favourite spot for windsurfers.


Setubal
 


 

Setubal is located in the Sado estuary. Opposite to it is the peninsula of Troia with 11 miles of beaches, new resorts and golf courses. Setubal itself is just south of some nice beaches as well as the Arrabida mountains natural reserve. Places of interest: museum, churches of Jesus and Sao Joao (Manueline), Sao Domingos, Boa Hora, Santa Maria da Graca and Sao Juliao. an abandoned fort sits atop a hill and is home to Pousada of S. Filipe.


Sintra
 


Sintra is a town classified by the UNESCO as World Heritage. At its centre stands the National Palace, with its beautiful painted rooms and huge pair of conical chimneys, the village’s ex-libris. Other palaces include: Pena royal palace (19th century), Seteais palace (18th century) and Monserrate, renowned for its gardens and water courses. The churches of Sao Martinho (Romanesque origin), Santa Maria (Romanesque-Gothic) and Sao Pedro de Penaferrim (15th-16th-centuries). Nearby are the church of Santo Antonio do Penedo (16th-century) and Peninha Chapel (Baroque tile works). The Toy Museum, over 20 000 pieces from the 16th to the 20th-century and the Berardo Collection of Modern Art. In the suburbs: the Capuchos Convent (16th-century) and Cabo da Roca (the westernmost point in continental Europe).


Tomar



Christ Convent, classified in UNESCO’s International Heritage list (12th-16th centuries). With its famous Manueline window, it is the town’s supreme landmark. Other places to visit: Templars’ Castle (12th century); churches of Santa Maria do Olival (Gothic), Nossa Senhora da Conceicão (Renaissance) and São João Baptista (Manueline); and a 15th century synagogue.


Other places of interest
 


Abrantes, Almeirim, Azeitão, Azenhas do Mar, Berlengas (islands), Caldas da Rainha, Cartaxo, Chamusca, Colares, Constancia, Ericeira, Ferreira do Zêzere, Golegã, Lourinhã, Macão, Minde, Peniche, Porto de Mos, Salvaterra de Magos, Sardoal, Seixal (ecomuseum), Serra da Arrabida (beach and convent), Torres Novas, Torres Vedras, Vila Nova da Barquinha, Vila de Rei, Vimeiro (spa).
 

 

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