Archive for February, 2008

Lisbon’s Rossio Station once again the gateway to Sintra

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

It is now easier to visit Sintra, the must-see World Heritage town just outside Lisbon, now that the Portuguese capital’s most central station, Rossio Station, has reopened. Sintra's Pena Palace It had been closed for about three years, but this month’s reopening brought a more modern interior and a cleaner Neo-Manueline façade reminiscent of the style during the Age of Discovery. Built at the end of the 19th century, it is the terminal for suburban trains and used mostly for travel to Sintra.

Located between the central Rossio and Restauradores squares, it can easily be reached on foot from anywhere in the center of the city, or by metro, using the blue line (to Restauradores station) or the green line (to the Rossio station).

The striking horseshoe entrance of the station is therefore now once again your gateway to the fairytale world of Sintra, with its storybook palaces and magical vegetation. And as the weather gets warmer in the city, Sintra becomes even more inviting, as its hills always provide shelter from the heat. Spring also means an even greener Sintra, and an even more welcoming atmosphere.

It’s just one more reason why you can not miss Sintra in your tour of Portugal or even on a quick visit to Lisbon.

Summer in Algarve

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Algarve beachIt is now time to begin making summer vacation plans and that usually means a warm sunny place by the sea, plenty of leisure facilities, and nightlife fun. With the weak dollar, that also means a relatively inexpensive place for most Americans, although that also applies to pretty much everyone else in these uncertain economic times. All that essentially summarizes one destination: Algarve.Portugal’s southernmost coast was once known as the end of the world and remains quite a mystical place today. The coast of Sagres (known as the retreat of Prince Henry the Navigator) is just as breathtaking and stunning as in the 15th century, and whitewashed towns such as lovely Tavira remain as charming and timeless as ever.

The rock formations and blue-green waters around Lagos and Ponta da Piedade will remind you of Cabo San Lucas in the Mexican Riviera, but step into the old center of Lagos or Albufeira and you’ll find typically Mediterranean towns (although facing the Atlantic), and a laid-back European atmosphere mixing an exotic Moorish or North African flavor.

Those looking for a more luxurious experience should look for the upscale resorts of Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo, and Vilamoura, which offer world-class golf and just the right amount of pampering to guarantee that you’ll return home feeling refreshed and recharged.

Complete detailed information about all of Algarve is found on the special Portugal section of the Go Lisbon website. It ranks the area’s top 10 beaches and destinations, as well as offer plenty of accommodation options. Algarve has all that you need for the perfect holiday, and has all you need to plan it.

Lisbon’s most romantic viewpoint reopens

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

Miradouro Sao Pedro Alcantara After more than two years closed to the public, the garden-viewpoint São Pedro de Alcântara at the doorstep of Bairro Alto has reopened again. It is now less of a garden and quite frankly a little more soulless (especially with the loss of the colorful bougainvillea that characterized much of the space before), but overall, it is much cleaner and as inviting as always.The fountain and busts of historical figures look as new (and some of those busts are in fact new), the traditional pavement has been expanded, and the lawn refreshed. What remains the same is the fantastic view over Lisbon, crowned by the Castle of Saint George.

This continues to be one of the city’s most romantic spots, especially in the evening. It is also a meeting point for Lisbon’s youth at night.
When in Lisbon, we suggest you end your day here before going for dinner at a Bairro Alto restaurant.  If you pass by in the afternoon, lay on one of its benches and take a few photos.  This is a pleasant stop at any time of the day.

Lisbon for Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Overlooking Lisbon and its castle We are now in February which means one thing to those travelling this month: a romantic Valentine’s Day getaway. Those wishing to experience the romance of a European city without the cold and dark skies typical of the old continent at this time of the year only have one choice –- Lisbon.

Sculptures by famous artist Robert Indiana spelling “Love” and “Amor” are scattered around the city in places like Rossio Square and Avenida da Liberdade (they were previously displayed by New York’s MoMA museum), dimly-lit restaurants in Bairro Alto are awaiting bookings for a table for two, and the special Hermitage Museum exhibition is still showing regal splendour in Ajuda Palace until the 17th of February. All that combined with a horse-drawn tour of Sintra and its fairytale palaces make Lisbon the ideal place for a special getaway for two.

GoLisbon further recommends Chapitô restaurant for dinner overlooking the illuminated city and river, or Viagem de Sabores by the medieval cathedral in the charming Alfama quarter.
For a place to stay, choose from the cosiness of York House, Janelas Verdes, Solar do Castelo, or Palacio Belmonte.

Those with more time wishing to go beyond the city should consider Obidos, the perfect medieval village historically linked to romance, as it was a wedding present given to a Portuguese queen. Check to see if the pousada hotel in the ancient castle is available.

For more ideas, see the GoLisbon itineraries or sightseeing page.
You won’t find many other destinations in Europe as perfect as Lisbon for this special day.