A devastating earthquake struck Lisbon in 1755, killing 40,000 people and destroying much of the city. Up until then, Lisbon had been one of the most active ports in Europe, and many important buildings and landmarks were damaged.
More recently Lisbon has been the subject of much development, having hosted the World Expo in 1998, and been named the European City of Culture in 1994. Tourism is now the country’s main source of income, and as such there is plenty to see and do.
The centre of Lisbon is dominated by the Praca do Commercio and the surrounding shops. The central park, Parque Eduardo VII provides some respite after a heavy day’s shopping.
The Alfama district, to the east of the centre, suffered the least damage from the earthquake; therefore many medieval buildings can still be seen here. The Castelo de Sao Jorge has some impressive views over the city. Belem, located in the western part of Lisbon, contains a 16th century monastery called Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, and the Torre de Belem (Belem Tower). These are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Parque das Nacoes is where the Expo 98 took place, and is now a large entertainment complex complete with one of the largest aquariums in the world. The Torre Vasco da Gama (Vasco da Gama Tower) is Lisbon’s highest building and has an observatory.
To see what Lisbon’s nightlife has to offer, take the Elevador da Gloria funicular railway to Praca dos Restauradores. The Barrio Alto district is where you’ll find the bars and nightclubs.