Portugal’s capital city is spread out over an undulating landscape that borders the Tagus River and halts at the Atlantic. From its web of colorful back alleys to the alabaster limestone buildings that scale the hillsides, the city balances the pulse of a modern hub with the charm of a medieval city. Since the time of the Romans, Lisbon was an important port and is now host to a wealth of maritime history. The Age of Discovery saw a myriad of expeditions embark from its shores, including Vasco da Gama’s 15th century voyage to India, and ushered in an era of prosperity thanks to the establishment of several trade routes.
Lisbon today is a cosmopolitan city with a network of barrios that serve as a timeline for the region. Historic Alfama – whose name refers to the Arabic word for fountains or baths – connects to the Tagus River at the base of its hill. Belém is famous for its tower, the Torre de Belém, and as being the starting point for so many navigators’ journeys to distant points unknown. Bairro Alto’s buzzing nightlife and bar scene is a contrast to the elegant, quiet plazas of Baixa and Chiado. Altogether Lisbon is city not unlike the ports of the world: it’s as diverse as it is historic.