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Costa de Lisboa


Situation

situation

Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, stretches out along the Tagus estuary. To the north, the Costa de Lisboa includes the Sintra hills and the fishing village of Ericeira. To the south, the Costa de Lisboa stretches as far as Sines.

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Access

access

By Air Portela - Lisbon's international airport. There are aerodromes in Cascais and Sines.
By Rail The rail network spreads throughout the country from Lisbon's three stations -Santa Apolonia serving the north, Rossio for the western area and Cais do Sodre for the Estoril Coast and Cascais.
By Road From Lisbon, the IP1 runs from north to south. To the north and as far as Braga the motorways are the A1 and the A3. To the south, accessed over the 25th of April Bridge, the motorway is the A2, while the A5 serves the area between Lisbon and Cascais.

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Average temperatures

temperatures

The average temperatures in this area are 14C/57F in winter and 21C/67Fin summer.

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Tourist offer

tourist

Built on seven hills, Lisbon is a city rich in historical monuments. Overlooking the Tagus estuary, the city is bathed in a luminous light, reflecting the white or the light colours of the houses, prettily topped by ochre-coloured roofs. The coastline stretches along to Estoril, covering some 30 km with pretty villas and beaches.
The Natural Park of Sintra-Cascais lies in this area. It is here you can visit the westernmost point of Europe - Cabo da Roca. There is a Natural Reserve along the Tagus estuary, while to the south lies the Sado estuary, near the Arrabida National Park, both ecological reserves where many diverse species of flora and marine life can be found.
In Lisbon, the medieval network of narrow streets and alleys lies shoulder to shoulder with a network of regularly planned streets, rebuilt in the 18th century. Overlooking the river, its history stretches back beyond time. Lisbon became the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal in 1255 (it had been conquered .from the Moors in 1147).
Today, archeological remains from Roman times are still being discovered. From medieval times subsist narrow streets in the old, typical quarters, some of which cling to the hill where St. George's Castle sits overlooking the city and the river. The downtown area was rebuilt under the direction of the Kingdom's Minister Marquis of Pombal in the 18th century, after an earthquake had destroyed part of the city in 1755. The historic area of Belem, associated with the Portuguese Discoveries, boasts two of the finest monuments in the city - the Tower of Belem and the Jeronimos Monastery, unique in their Manueline architectural style and classified by UNESCO.
In Lisbon, the buildings dating back over the 18th and 19th centuries contrast with the modern style of the Tombo Tower and the Belem Cultural Centre. As a matter of fact, the cultural life in the city has not diminished over the centuries, and in 1998 Lisbon will stage the last World Exhibition of the 20th century. The whole Costa de Lisboa area is ideal for all kinds of water sports and boasts excellent beaches and lagoons. Sports, such as fishing, sailing, underwater fishing, water skiing, surfing and windsurfing, are practised throughout the region. There are eleven excellent golf courses and many facilities for tennis, horse riding and hunting. Formula I Grand Prix motor racing takes place in Estoril every year.
Entertainment throughout the region is excellent and varied, from the smallest typical restaurant where you can hear the fado to the famous International Casino in Estoril. In the Avenida 24 de Julho, discoteques are in full swing, while the Bairro Alto is known for its bars.
Pretty terraces overlooking the river or the sea are ideal places for sampling tasty fish and shellfish dishes. Typical are grilled sardines, so popular for their unforgettable taste in the atmosphere of local festivities which take place throughout the summer in Lisbon and the picturesque fishing vilages in the surrounding areas. The custard tarts (pasteis de Belem), the little cheese cakes from Sintra and the Azeitao cheeses are but a few of the gastronomic delights in this area. In Lisbon you can shop for typical products from all over the country as well as antiques and the most up-to-date fashions. Ready-to-wear clothing, footwear and high class leather goods are some of the excellent products on sale in Lisbon, while not forgetting the beautiful glazed tiles , painted by hand.

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Suggested trips

trips

1. Lisbon

Start with the oldest monument in the city - St. George's Castle, dating from the 12th century - situated in the Alfama quarter with its narrow alleys and medieval atmosphere. From the castle you can enjoy one of the finest views of the city, with the Tagus in the background. Nearby are to be found the Romanesque Cathedral, also from the 12th century, the Renaissance Sao Vicente de Fora Monastery and the Baroque Santa Engracia Church-Pantheon. Down by the river, the statue of King Jose on horseback stands in the Terreiro do Paco Square, while the Triumphal Arch crowns the beginning of the Rua Augusta. Near the Rossio square is the Santa Justa lift, designed in the style of Eiffel. This lift will take you up to the Chiado quarter, known for its cafes and fashionable shops, where stand the lyric theatre of Sao Carlos, the Contemporary Art Museum and Sao Roque Church, famous for its St. John the Baptist's Chapel, inlaid with semi-precious stones.
The National Museum of Ancient Art is worth a visit. It exhibits a collection of paintings from the Portuguese and Flemish schools, sculpture, jewellery and both Portuguese and Oriental ceramics.
In Belem, the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery are two jewels of Manueline architecture classified by UNESCO on their World Heritage list. In the Belem Cultural Centre, there are see temporary exhibitions of plastic arts and a regular programme of concerts and operas. Nearby, the Monument to the Discoveries simbolizes the great Portuguese maritime achievements of the 15th and 16th centuries. Also worth viewing are the exquisite exhibits in the Coach Museum (Museu dos Coches), and the Marine Museum while not far away is the Ajuda Palace, one of the prettiest in the city and where the original romantic decoration is still preserved.
To the east of Lisbon, where in 1998 the last World Exhibition of the 20th century will be staged, is the National Tile Museum (Museu Nacional do Azulejo), which is truly unique.
Also the Gulbenkian Museum, with its important collections of Egyptian, Oriental and European art, is worth a visit, while those interested in modern art should visit the Gulbenkian Centre of Modern Art and the Chiado Museum, both with collections of Portuguese contemporary art. Also of interest is the Estufa Fria (Green House), unique in Europe, where banquets, receptions, meetings and conferences are also held.
Not to be missed is a fado session held in a typical restaurant in Alfama or the Bairro Alto. Meaning "fate", fado is a musical and singing expression of the Portuguese soul.

2. Sintra/ Cabo da Roca/ Cascais/ Estoril

Sintra is a small romantic town situated in the Sintra hills, called "a glorious Eden" by Lord Byron. The Sintra Palace was the summer residence of the Portuguese Royal Family for centuries and the Pena Palace is one of the most important examples of Romantic style in Portugal. The ruins of a Moorish castle stand on top of one of the highest hills. Surrounded by the Monserrate Park, is a fine example of Neo-Arab architecture, while the Seteais Palace is now an elegant hotel. Driving from Sintra to Cascais along the coast road is a delightful journey, and on the way a visit should be made to Cabo da Roca, the westermost point of Europe, where you will be given a certificate to prove you have been there.
Cascais is an old fishing village and holiday resort of world fame. Near Cascais lies Guincho beach, famous for the international windsurf championships held there.
An alternative route takes you to Mafra, renowned for its magnificent Baroque convent with an extensive library and majestic basilica. On the way back to Lisbon, you may visit the Queluz Palace, built in the Rococo style of the 18th century. It is an old royal residence and today is just as famous for its restaurant housed in the old kitchens and for the banquets and receptions it hosts.

3. Palmela/ Setubal/ Arrabida/ Sesimbra

From Lisbon to Palmela, cross over the Tagus on the 25th April Bridge, from where there is a fantastic view of the city and the river. Taken from the Moors in the 12th century, Palmela Castle became a convent in the 15th century and today is a delightful pousada. Its cloisters are an ideal place to hold a gala dinner, and the view from the battlements should not be missed.
In Setubal, contemplate the Sado estuary from the top of the Sao Filipe castle-fortress, built in 1590 and now also a pousada. Still in Setubal, the Convent and Church of Jesus, both Manueline, are well worth a visit. The convent houses the City Museum.
The Arrabida Natural Park stretches down to the Atlantic. It is an area of exceptional beauty, with enchanting coves and beaches, such as Portinho da Arrabida, with its calm, green waters. Surrounded by a landscape of typical Mediterranean vegetation, lies the Arrabida Convent which may host meetings in a unique atmosphere. Sesimbra is a picturesque fishing village with a small Moorish castle offering a wonderful view over the bay. Delicious dishes of fish and shellfish can be sampled here.
On the way back to Lisbon visit Azeitao, a pretty small town with famous wine cellars where dinners and receptions can be held.

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Accommodation

accommodation

In this area, there are fourteen 5-star hotels, three "Hoteis de Charme" (typical hotels in the Portuguese tradition), thirty-two 4-star hotels and eleven manor houses offering accommodation (casas de Turismo de Habitacao).
The Jer6nimos Monastery, the Coach Museum and Queluz Palace are examples of local historic monuments which open their doors for social events. There are also six pousadas in the area, three of which are sited in national monuments.

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