Lisbon, the capital of Portugal and its biggest city, lies on the western end of continental Europe, stretching out for about 20 km on the mouth of river Tejo. From here you can breathe the chilly Atlantic breeze.
As modern Salgari we figure ourselves walking in the streets, terraces and squares of this city, which look so familiar to us thanks to the numerous writers and film makers who chose it as setting for their stories. Its multiform humanity, its suggestive urban and river sceneries and its incredible light make it a singular European metropolis, which strike the visitor's eye with its brightness.
The city was almost entirely destroyed by the terrible earthquake of 1755. Since then many of its districts have been rebuilt, and the city development has been relentless, turning Lisbon into one of the most modern European capitals, although preserving its historic, artistic and architectural testimonies untouched. The city offers a very wide choice of cultural attractions, parks and green area , along with restaurants (or, better, the little tascas), numerous interesting museums and a maze of tortuous lanes swarming with a genuine and lively humanity, accompanied by the melancholic melodies of fado . Lisbon is built on seven hills, each of them overlooking the river, and this peculiar position is emphasized by the numerous observation points, the so called miradourous, panoramic terraces from where the eyes can rove all around, and by the two spectacular bridges: the Ponte 25 Abril and the Vasco de Gama Bridge, a 16 km long bridge which seems to fade away on the horizon.
The visit of Lisbon includes four districts: the Baixa ( the city commercial heart), Chiado, Bairro Alto and Alfama, the most ancient one, with the walls of the ancient São Jorge Castle towering over.
Following the course of the river we meet the district of Belém, one of the main cultural centres of the city, whereas on the eastern side lies the Parque das Nações, the beating heart of 21st century’s Lisbon. A mammoth project of restoration and the recovery of the most damaged monuments has been started a few years ago, but the view of the numerous building sites doesn't spoil the urban look of the city, maybe because they are conscientiously raised, and transmit a positive feeling of work in progress.
A very comfortable and efficient system of integrated public transports allows to reach every corner of the city, and due to a limited extension, it is possible to visit the main interesting sites in just 3 or 4 days. But after a few hours spent in this delightful city, the remaining time will look so short in comparison. Ideally one week would be necessary to fully appreciate its attractions, enjoying a break in between the panoramic or cultural itineraries, or simply wandering around aimlessly, observing Lisbon in its everyday life from the privileged point of view of a café or a square. Lisbon joins the efficiency and modernity of a North European capital, with the friendliness and sweetness of southern countries, a little decadent sometimes, but always dignified.