Draped across seven hills, Lisbon was once the center of a vast maritime empire that stretched from the west coast of Africa to the Spice Islands of the East Indies. Then, on November 1, 1755, a violent earthquake destroyed two-thirds of the city in the space of 10 minutes. Only the Alfama, the old Moorish quarter, survived. Today, Lisbon is a stately city of Neoclassical buildings and wide plazas. Eternally linked to the sea, Lisbon's magnificent harbor is spanned by the longest suspension bridge in Europe.
The unique four-story Belem Tower fortress sits directly on the banks of the Tagus, and was built in the 16th century to defend the harbor. Originally a lighthouse, it was also used as a prison.
The breathtaking 16th-century Jeronimos Monastery was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983, and is considered to be Lisbon's finest landmark. It boasts two-story cloisters and ornate arches.
Situated on the banks of the Tagus, the modern Monument to the Discoveries is shaped like the prow of a sailing ship. It commemorates Portugal's great seafarers, including Vasco de Gama.
The Alfama Quarter, the oldest part of Lisbon, survived the devastating earthquake of 1755 and features narrow streets, stunning Moorish architecture, and many cafes and restaurants.
Located in a building at the Jeronimos Monastery, the museum focuses on Portugal's pioneering role in sea exploration. It features original maps, models and nautical instruments from the Middle Ages.
The city's central buisness district.
Set in the Bay of Cascais, this delightful fishing village, is a popular beach resort boasting stunning, ocean views plus a fascinating mix of early 20th-century homes, and modern buildings. One of Portugal's oldest cities, charming Sintra is home to an 8th-century Moorish fortress, Pena Palace, and many imposing manor houses and castles that once belonged to feudal lords and monarchs.
The Our Lady of Fátima Basilica marks the site where the Virgin miraculously appeared to three shepherds in May 1917. To this day, the faithful continue to visit to pray and seek miraculous cures.