Travel Destinations
Stacy Cosme , CTA DS  
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Lisboa Region

Lisboa & Tagus River


LISBON ...Portugal's charming capital city offers a striking contrast of old and new.
Historic sights that span 20 centuries are balanced with all the modern amenities a visitor could want. Lisbon is a highly recommended starting point for visitors to Portugal, offering ample waterfront resorts and historic villages in the surrounding coastal region are easily accessible. You will find the black-and-white mosaic sidewalks have a refreshing charm. Lisbon's ancient quarter, the Alfama district, enchants travelers with its narrow, twisting alleys lined with whitewashed homes, each brightened by flower-laden balconies and red-tiled roofs. The area's St. George's Castle once housed Portugal's royalty and today its outer walls enclose the medieval village of Santa Cruz. This beautiful city lies on seven low hills at the estuary of the River Tagus, six miles from the Atlantic Ocean. It is on the west coast of Portugal with the Algarve to the south and Costa De Prata and Costa Verde to the north.

Somehow Lisbon has thus far avoided tourist traps and offers genuine sightseeing opportunities. Most churches do not ask for admission. Visit the 16th century Tower of Belem (in the middle of the river) where Vasco da Gama, Alvares Cabral and other famous explores launched their ships. St. George's Castle provides breathtaking views and Hieronymite Monastery is among the finest examples of Manueline architectures. Watch for the beautiful azulejos, the traditional blue and white tiles that adorn so many of the cities churches-provided the Arab influence in Portuguese history.

Not to be missed: ....
Mosteiro de Jeronimos - the most visited landmark in Lisbon, 15th century
Lisbon Cathedral - built in the 12th century
Museum dos Coaches - one of the most famous coach museums in the world housing
The jeweled carriages of Royalty
Museum Calouste Gulbenkian - a collection of 6,000 works of art, including
Pieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Gainsborough




Other Places of Interest

Alcobaca

Monumental Cistercian Abbey of Santa Maria, founded in 1152 (classified in UNESCO's International Heritage list). Inside in the church, beautiful Gothic tombs of King Pedro I

Batalha

The Monastery of Santa Maria 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.    Cascais was originally just a fishing village with good beaches, now  full of excellent restaurants, bars and nightclubs.  Tourism has been strong since "The Court" ( Government meetings) began in the summer of 1879.  There is a daily fish auction and regional open market every Wednesday.

Estoril

Cosmopolitan resort offers good beaches, palmed-treed avenues, the sumptuous villas of Kings, luxurious hotels, tennis courts, golf courses and the largest casino in Europe.


Fatima

One of the most important Marian centers of pilgrimage in the catholic world.  Each year the Pope visits on May 13 (special ceremonies take place the 13th of each month May-October).  Thousands of the faithful come from around the world to honor the 1917 appearance of the Virgin Mary.  Many find Fatima a spiritual journey, as they join the locals who have pledged their lives to pray for a miracle cures for the ill and injured.  The Basilica of Fatima is a huge neo-classical church capable of holding 300,000.


Leiria

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


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 colorful 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 de Obidos), Misericoa (15th-18th centuries) and SaoPedro (18th century). Nearby, Senhor da Pedra Sanctuary.

Palmela

Dominated by a magnificent castle, which houses the ancient Santiago Convent (currently a pousada).

Queluz

Summer palace of 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.

Sintra

(Classified in the UNESCO World Heritage list) In the center stands the National Palace, with its beautiful painted rooms and huge pair of conical chimneys, the village's ex-libris. Other palaces: Pena (royal palace, 19th century), Seteais (18th century and currently a luxurious hotel) 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 Anto 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 Conceio (Renaissance) and San Jose Baptista (Manueline); and a 15th century