Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top 10 in Lisbon

I spent another few hours last night at Barnes & Noble supervising my Girl Scout troop doing their gift-wrapping fundraiser.  This time I cracked open the books on Portugal.  Ahhhh . . . this country looks absolutely gorgeous and wonderful. I think I’ve nailed down the next Euro trip:  Portugal and the south of Spain.  My parents love Lisbon.  We also have a very well-traveled friend who says Portugal is his favorite place in the whole world.  That's quite an endorsement.  Remember my fear of visiting the more “exotic” European countries with children?  Well, my kids will be 16 and 13 years old next trip, so I think they’re ready.  Of course, there’s always another challenge level:  are they ready for Africa?  How can you be in the south of Spain and not cross over the Strait to Morocco for the day?  It’d be a shame not to.  (Anyone with advice on this, please comment!)

Lisbon is a hilly place, so there’s not much bicycle riding, but walking, walking, walking is the activity of choice in this city.  There are trams and funiculars around town, too, for tired feet, and children under 5 ride them for free. 

Top 10 Lisbon Travel Guide by Tomas Tranaeus lists the following sites as the top 10 to see:

Castelo de São Jorge – a medieval castle with great views
Torre de Belém
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos – a historic monastery
Sé Catedral – a fortress-like cathedral
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga – national gallery housed in a palace
Parque das Nações – expansive park with many activities
Torre de Belém – a defensive tower and city landmark
Museu Nacional do Azulejo – museum featuring Portuguese and Moorish tiles
Palácio de Queluz – a Rococo palace
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian – a small art history museum
Sintra – a must-see, unique village on the outskirts of Lisbon.

Looks like Parque das Nações is the most child-friendly destination, for the younger ones at least.  It’s an expansive park on the riverfront with playgrounds, water gardens, cable car rides, a food court (big plus!) and a toy train that travels to all the park’s main attractions.  There’s also the Oceanarium, apparently one of the world’s most impressive aquariums.

For my teens and a little relaxation, there are beautiful beaches in Lisbon. According to the same book by Tranaeus, some of the best beaches are Portinho de Arrábida, Tróia, or along the Estoril coast.

And this is only Lisbon!  There's so much more of Portugal to learn about!


  1. This is one of the best destination place for travelling,where you can also go with your children or doing a great fun...I like your post or also the way that you used to share this superb post..!!

  2. Hey I never knew Travel to Portugal was that exciting! I feel Lucky to have applied for a Portugal Schengen Visa!


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