Built upon a series of seven hills overlooking the Tejo River, the historical city of Lisbon is one of the oldest in the world. Picturesque tree-lined streets and colourful architecture give the de facto Portuguese capital a distinct character, which is reflective of its rich cultural heritage. Ruined and restored cathedrals, monasteries, and the imposing castle of Sao Jorge sit alongside museums, quaint restaurants, stylish bars and upscale shopping zones, creating a network of distinct neighbourhoods. The elegant barrio of Baixa, for example, is an organised and relatively modern in juxtaposition to the narrow streets and small squares that can be found in the city’s oldest district, Alfama; this is because in 1755 Baixa was almost completely destroyed by the infamous Lisbon earthquake and rebuilt in a new style thereafter.
Like much of the rest of Portugal, Lisbon originally flourished thanks to the fishing industry. Today the city’s economy is based on service industries such as media, entertainment, the arts, tourism and education. Lisbon has also developed as a financial and technological centre, hosting a large number of multinational corporations; is world-renowned for its international conference facilities; and, as Portugal’s leading seaport, is a major contributor to the country’s international trade business.
Visitors to Lisbon have plenty of public transport options to choose from. The extensive metro system connects the city centre to the suburbs, while four high speed commuter trains provide links to other major Portuguese cities. Lisbon’s iconic bright yellow trams offer a more traditional way to travel and afford easy access around the winding central streets, although a Colinas card must be obtained before use. For those with access to a car, there are three motorways which circle the city and lead to the suburbs, the airport, and other areas of Portugal.
Libson Portela Airport is located to the north-west of the city centre and can be accessed via Line 91 of the Aerobus, which runs every 20 minutes from 7am to 9pm daily. Alternatively, taxis are available from the airport and inevitably alleviate the hassle of travelling with heavy luggage.