Lisbon boasts two Unesco World Heritage Sites. The Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery both played a significant role in the the Portuguese “Age of Discovery” during the 17th century. Portugal pioneered exploration for alternative trade routes to South East Asia and eventually established colonies as far off as Brazil, Mozambique and Goa, India. The iconic Belem Tower fortress was pivotal in defending the Tagus River from French invasion in 1807.
Today’s Lisbon is a city of more than three million inhabitants. Europe’s westernmost capitol city, Lisbon is an economic powerhouse that brings in nearly 2 million tourists each year. Captured by the Moors in the 8th Century, the city was retaken in 1147 and has been at the forefront of European commerce ever since. With a brilliant climate, fresh tasty seafood at every turn and world class shopping, Lisbon has blossomed into a must see European destination. A 7.5-hour flight from Washington DC, Lisbon is quickly gaining popularity as a Cruise Ship stop along the scenic Iberian Peninsula and is the most convenient jump off point to reach the famous village of Sintra (only forty five minutes by train).
Seeing the coastline from the Tagus River is a wonderful way to truly appreciate the city. We saw as much as we could and quite enjoyed the local cuisine. The Paellador offered tasty Paella dishes in an open-air setting. Cassandra enjoyed a traditional dish while I rolled the dice on a “Black Ink” Paella made with Fresh Squid juice. Not going to recommend that one for the faint of heart, but I’m glad I gave it a go. Super Bock Sabor Autentico was the local’s beer of choice and really hit the spot. We loved the shoppes and brought home some of the fine leather products they are renowned for. This was a phenomenal city that we truly wish we had more time to explore – you’ll need at least two full days to get an accurate flavor and 3-4 would be ideal. Obrigado Lisbon, for leaving us wanting more!
– Sean Rox