Archive for November, 2007

Lisbon followed by Porto (Oporto)

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Porto (Oporto), Portugal -- has established itself as the most complete online source for information about Lisbon. And now we’re going to do the same with Portugal’s second city, Porto (or Oporto in the English world).These two cities have as much in common as they have in unique differences and should be the two main stops in the country for those looking to experience the culture and soul of Portugal (the beaches of Algarve can be saved for the end of the trip…)

Porto is growing as a favorite tourist destination (especially for short city breaks among Europeans), and while it’s cleaned up to better welcome this larger number of guests, it still maintains an Old World atmosphere that unquestionably makes it one of Europe’s most charismatic cities.

Overlooking the centuries-old boats that carry its world-famous port wine down the Douro River are magnificent turn-of-the-century bridges and monuments surrounded my colourful medieval houses… In between it all are new world-class cultural attractions by Pritzker Award-winning architects –- the Serralves Museum and Casa da Musica.

If you haven’t yet heard much about Porto or its attractions, we invite you to look at the new (and still partially under construction) website. You’ll have plenty of ideas on what to see before or after a visit to Lisbon…

Click here:
Porto (Oporto), Portugal — Tourist Sites and Hotels Guide

Lisbon on a rainy day

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Inside the Oceanarium Most winter travellers to Lisbon choose it for its milder and sunnier climate during those colder and darker months. But sun is not always guaranteed in Lisbon either. In fact, when it does rain, it can pour, and it may continue for a few consecutive days. In terms of temperature however, it will rarely reach the freezing point, so those who wish to walk around the city in a particularly dark winter day only need to worry about carrying an umbrella.
Still, the typical Lisbon cobblestones can be quite slippery when wet and rain is never pleasant to walk around under. So what to do if you’re unlucky enough to be in Lisbon on a stormy winter day? Get on the metro, and head to Parque das Nações to visit the Oceanarium. You’ll have plenty of water there too, but at least it won’t get you wet… It is also one of the city’s top attractions (as recommended on GoLisbon’s Best of Lisbon page), and one of its most memorable sights.

Such days are also perfect for a museum visit. The three best museums in the city are the Gulbenkian, Berardo, and Ancient Art Museum, which can all be reached by public transportation, although on a rainy day, a taxi really is the most sensible option (they’re very inexpensive, especially if you are travelling with others and can split the cost)… If you are not a big fan of modern or ancient art, there are other museums focusing on other themes, from royal coaches, to marionettes… GoLisbon’s museums section lists the city’s most noteworthy collections.

Yet another option is to step into one of the city’s many cafes and just enjoy a warm drink and several of the traditional Portuguese pastries (a “pastel de nata” or “pastel de Belem” is a must). The obvious destination is “Antiga Confeitaria de Belem” (just a short walk away – or quick run under the rain – from the city’s most iconic monuments and several of the most popular museums), but you may also consider “Cultura do Chá” if you’re closer to the center in the Chiado and Bairro Alto areas. It’s officially a tea house, but there is much more than tea of course, and the space is one of the cosiest in the city – not to mention with some of the most appetizing, mouth-watering cakes in Lisbon.
And if you happen to be in the Alfama area when a dark cloud suddenly appears above you, there is also “Pois, Café” (already recommended on this blog and at GoLisbon’s cafes section), where you can also take some time to catch up on the latest world events with its international, multi-language periodicals available.

Rain or shine, a visit to Lisbon can always be pleasant! 😉