Lisbon Portugal, 4 day layover

Authors experiences History News Portal Spain Travel

We thoroughly enjoyed our brief sojourn in Lisbon, Portugal, as we made our way back from our snowbird retreat in Costa del Sol, Spain. Lisbon shares similarities with Spain, yet it possesses its own distinct character. While Spain boasts consistent beauty throughout, Lisbon captivates with its grandiose monuments. The Manueline architectural style in Portugal stands out – a gothic variation that pays homage to nature and the ocean, favoring smooth curves over sharp edges.

A highlight of our visit was the Pena Summer Palace in Sintra. (many photos below). This enchanting creation, reminiscent of a colorful Disneyland, was built in 1838 by Portuguese King Consort Ferdinand II for Queen Maria II of Portugal. Tragically, Queen Maria passed away before its completion. The palace’s foundation was laid upon the ruins of an abandoned monastery, blending an eclectic mix of styles, including Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic, and Neo-Renaissance.

The city of Lisbon is fun to explore, being located on the slopes of 7 hills, with many narrow winding streets and alleyways. Old fashioned electric trolley trains offer an unique way to explore the hills. For tourists purchasing the “Lisbo Card” gives them free access to all public transit, and many museums. We enjoyed the underground subway since our hotel was not located in the waterfront tourist district.

Belem Tower (Torre de Belém) is an architectural gem on the waterfront promenade.

The OLD “Glória Funicular” which has two trolly cars that go up and down a steep hill. They are use a weight counter balance system with a long cable / pulley, so one goes up, when then other goes down 🙂 We took the famous #28, which is always crowded with tourists (and locals) because it give a great 1 hour tour of the city in a unique transport form. Notice that the Gloria uses a “staircase” design because of the slope of the hill, as opposed to the original jacked up at one end design.

These Belem Custard pastries, (Pastreis de Belem) are world famous, using a secret recipe the monks created, based around egg yolks. Big line up for take out service, but they also serve them in their cafeteria.

St. George Castle

This very old castle, with the oldest fortifications on the site dating from the 2nd century BC. The prominent hill on which Saint George’s Castle stands has played an important part in the history of Lisbon, having served as the location of fortifications occupied successively by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Moors, before its conquest by the Portuguese in the 1147 Siege of Lisbon. 

(Three page Photo Gallery with Slide Show)

Streetscape and promenade

(Three page Photo Gallery with Slide Show)

Pena Palace in Cintra

(Four page Photo Gallery with Slide Show)


More information in Wikipedia: Pena Palace and Lisbon


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