Built upon rolling hills overlooking the mighty Tagus River at the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is Portugal’s capital city and easily one of Europe’s most popular destinations. It’s also one of Europe’s oldest cities: it predates other European capitals such as London, Paris and even Rome by centuries, and this is reflected through its eclectic mix of Moorish castles, Gothic cathedrals and medieval monasteries.
A charming city with vintage trams and village-like neighborhoods, a wander around the historic Alfama district may just make you think you’ve stumbled back in time. But Lisbon is also a progressive city, and its status as Portugal’s economic, political, and, most importantly, cultural hub, means that you’ll be able to find world-class museums, quality fine-dining restaurants, and dynamic clubs and bars aplenty throughout its sundrenched avenues and alleyways.
Cruise ships dock at one of two terminals, depending on their size.
The Alcantara terminal is located in Lisbon’s commercial port (2.5 kilometres west of the city centre) and caters to large cruise ships. Shuttle services are usually provided to take passengers into town (usually the Baixa district).
The modern Santa Apalonia terminal is 800 metres east of the city centre and caters to small to mid-size cruise ships. The walk into town should take roughly 10 minutes. Alternatively, passengers can use the adjacent metro stop to get into town.
Both cruise terminals are equipped with facilities to make your arrival into Lisbon as smooth as possible.
- Public toilets
- Wi-Fi and Internet access
- Restaurants, bars and cafés
- ATMs and Foreign Exchange services
- Shopping options
- Tourist information office.
How To Get Around
As a large metropolis, there are several public transport options available in Lisbon, including trains, trams, buses, the Aerobus service (travels between city centre and airport), and the city’s Metro subway system. There is also an abundance of taxis available, should you want to visit an attraction situated outside the city.
Travel times from the Alcantara terminal:
- It is a 12 minute journey to the Jerónimos Monastery
- It is a 10 minute journey to Sao Jorge Castle
- It is a 15 minute journey to the Gulbenkian Museum.
Travel times from the Santa Apalonia terminal:
- It is an 18 minutes journey to the Gulbenkian Museum
- It is a 17 minute journey to the Jerónimos Monastery
- It is a 10 minute journey to Sao Jorge Castle.
Currency – The local currency in Lisbon is the Euro (EUR). Coins come in 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2 denominations, while notes come in €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 denominations.
Time Zone – Lisbon is on Western European Time (WET), which is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – Lisbon has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with long, warm summers and short, mild winters. July is the hottest month of the year with temperatures averaging 25 degrees Celsius during the day. In January – the city’s coldest month – daytime temperatures average 15 degrees Celsius, while overnight temperatures can dip to between 4 and 10 degrees Celsius. Lisbon receives 774mm of rainfall on average each year, with most of it falling between November and January.
Jerónimos Monastery – This grand UNESCO-listed monastery is an absolute must-see whilst in Lisbon. Visually spectacular both inside and out, it dates back to the 16th century and is one of the best examples of late Gothic architecture in Portugal. It’s also the burial place of that legendary Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. The Jerónimos Monastery is open daily (except Mondays) from 10am to 6:30pm. Shorter opening hours apply on Sunday (until 2pm) when it is also free to enter. Tickets cost €10 per adult and €5 per child.
Sao Jorge Castle – Built by the Moors in the 11th century, and turned into a royal palace over the next 300-500 years after capture by the Christians, Sao Jorge Castle is Lisbon’s iconic landmark. Perched on a hilltop in the historic Alfama district, this 10-towered castle complex offers commanding views over the entire city and Tagus River. The castle is open daily from 9am to 9pm (March till October) and 9am to 6pm (November till February). Tickets cost €8.50 per adult and €5 per child.
Gulbenkian Museum – Spend a few hours at one of Portugal’s best museums and marvel at its impressive range of Eastern and Western art: everything from Egyptian mummy masks and Qing dynasty porcelain to masterpieces by Rembrandt, Van Dyck and Rubens. Organised in both chronological and geographical order, the galleries offer guests two independent circuits of the museum. The museum is open daily (except Monday) from 10am to 6pm.