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Portugal, Lisboa – The Oldest City in Western Europe – VIDEO
Lisboa is righteously one of the most visited cities in Europe. Yellow trams, hills, cable cars... You can easily get lost in its colorful streets for hours. Washed laundry waves in the wind, you can drink coffee with locals at one of many great cafes and taste local sweet pastry. You can also just set off to the grandiose Ponte 25 de Abril, a red bridge which looks like Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Lisabon is one of the oldest cities in the world. Probably, it is the oldest city in western Europe. Thanks to this, there are many historical landmarks. Some date back to the period of the rule of the Roman Empire. Archeologists found evidence in the Lisboa cathedral and St George castle that the Phoenicians did trade there 1200 before Christ.
We need to slow down a bit and get some rest after long and tiresome journey. For this, a promenade along the Tagus river is great. There you can sit for a while and drink a glass of sangria while observing ships sailing into the port. Then go down a vast square of Praça do Comércio. Cafes and restaurants line this square. After this, continue through monumental Arco da Rua Augusta arch and go down Rua Augusta boulevard which leads you to the famous Rossio square.
Close to here, you must see beautiful historical elevator Elevador de Santa Justa. It gets you up to the Museum of Archeology inside what formerly was a cathedral. You can continue to Igreja de São Roque church and Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara garden. There you get beautiful vista over the opposite hill on the top of which stands the castle.
To get back down you can either go on your own or take a ride by the famous yellow cable car. Thus, you get down to another beauiful square Praça dos Restauradores. Many cafes and restaurants are situated around this square as well. You can get there finally some rest. All cable cars and elevators have their reason to be in Lisboa for the city lays on very hilly terrain.
You need to climb one such a steep hill when going up to the castle. Another option is to take a yellow tram. However, you need to buy a pre-paid car at a subway station and charge the card with money. Otherwise, a ticket bought in a tram is about 2 euros more expensive. The castle – Castelo de São Jorge – is a place where you get other beautiful vistas and you will see also the oldest traces of human settlement here. Also, make a stop at the grandiose Sé de Lisboa cathedral.
Now you can just wander about in the streets of Lisboa and enjoy easy-going Portugal. The most beautiful borough in downtown is Bairro Alto. It is here where you can find my most favorite café Copenhagen Coffee Lab. I can only recommend to stop there and buy something good. For dinner, go to the former market at Cais do Sodré station. There you can taste many things even outside Portuguese cuisine.
To make your trip in Lisboa complete, you need to visit the borrough of Belém and the famous red bridge. At Cais do Sodré take a tram (or train) and reach Belem station. There is also beautiful Mosteiro dos Jerónimost cloister, the memorial to naval discoveries, or guarding tower over the bay of the Tagus river.
You have passed the Ponte 25 de Abril bridge already. Now we return back there. You can either cross it on foot along the riverbank, or take a tram once again or a bus. The bridge seems to be even more beautiful up close than from distance. It is a marvel of engineering and human ingenuity. You can also make a trip to the statue of Christ on the other side. You would most probably start in downtown. There is LX Factory – former factory rebuilt to galleries, shops, restaurants, and cafes - right under the bridge. It is there where you can finish your day's trip with a glass of wine.
There is much more to Lisboa – parks, churches, palaces, beautiful streets, university and modern borroughs. Don't forget to accommodate to local slow tempo of life. Otherwise you can't enjoy the city to the fullest..
Just 45 minutes by train from the center of Lisbon there is the city of Sintra. It became famous for its castle, palaces, and many beautiful buildings. Moreover, there is a beautiful nature park Sintra-Cascais, unusual mountains which will lure you to make a trip. Let’s see Sintra together.
Everybody knows port wine. Perhaps you also link Porto the a high steel bridge and its majestic arch crossing the Douro river. Perhaps you would think of wooden boats carrying wine barrels from the inland wineyards. Porto is, however, a diverse city. There is great history, culture, cuisine, and beaches along the Atlantic coast. Every year, an increasing number of visitors visit this city.
Coimbra, a student town of 150 thousand is situated somewhere in the middle between Porto and Lisbon. There is one of the oldest unviersities in Europe sitting on the hill above the Mondego river. The university, which is the oldest in Portual, was founded in 1290 – 60 years before the famous Charles University in Prague was founded. Tens of thousands of students at this university make this town great including the nightlife there.
Isle of the Eternal Spring? In the middle of the Atlantic? This is the Azores archipelago. Nine notable volcanic islands protruding into the Atlantic Ocean. Towards the west is the island of Flores and the island of Corvo, in the middle of the islands of Graciosa, Terceira, Sao Jorge, Pico and Faial and east of Sao Miguel, Santa Maria and Formigas. All islands except Santa Maria are volcanic. It is on three lithospheric plates: Eurasian, African and North American.
Wine, coffee, cliffs, waves. The western-most country of continental Europe is of the sort everybody likes. It belongs to the top 20 most visited countries in the world. There are beautiful beaches including the best surf beaches of all Europe. Nature in the inland is magnificent as wel. Culture is rich and cities are lively and busy. Let's visit Portugal!
It is an archipelago and also an island which is located in the Macaronesia region. Only two islands are inhabited as the whole archipelago is a natural reserve. These islands are Madeira and Porto Santo.
Travel to Madeira by plane only. There is probably no other way to travel almost 1000 kilometers from Portugal and 600 kilometers from North Africa. Moreover, sailing on a ship might not be comfortable for everybody.
Apart from famous Madeira wine (Japan is its largest importer), poncho (a liquor with lemon flavor) is another traditional beverage. You can replace lemon juice with orange or maracuja juice. It is served cold for refreshments. Or it is served also warm as prevention from getting cold. The wine festival takes place end August beginning September.
Another stop to the west of the island is Porto Moniz. From Sao Vincente you travel through tunnels. Make a stop at Ribeira da Janela town. It is a place of dark volcanic rock. The lovers’ rock rises from the sea there.
Today, we take a look at the eastern part of the island in the direction from Funchal to the easternmost part where are droughts. It seems as if it was not Madeira there. The landscape is vastly different and there grows almost no vegetation at all. It is only after rains when it gets bit of green there. No levada leads to this area. You can find them only in the mountains. The area is inhabited, however. Therefore, some vegetation is actually there.
A 5 thousand meters high massif of lava was created after huge explosion in the Atlantic. Today we can see only a glimpse of it and this glimpse is Madeira. The island is self-reliant. There are couple of power plants (water, wind), fertile soil and sea rich on fish.
Fátima - Mecca of all Catholics, and one of the most visited pilgrimage sites around the world. It is located in central Portugal, about 120 km from Lisbon. There is a place, where the Virgin Mary appeared to three children, and prophesied many later events.