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Lisbon, which is the capital city of Portugal, is situated in the western region of the country, has a land area of 33 square miles and within its administrative limits has a population of over 500,000 people. In fact it is the most populated urban area in the European Union and it is recognised as an Alpha World City as a result of its important position in the world of finance, commerce and media. As there are now frequent flights to Lisbon from many cities in Europe it has become something tourist hotspot.
Lisbon has a rich and vibrant history, first being inhabited by Iberians during the Neolithic period. As a result of this, many historic monuments from the era are scattered throughout the city. Indo-European Celts invaded Lisbon in the first millennium BC, which is also reflected in the history and architecture to be found in the area.
One of the most prominent moments in Lisbon's history was the 1755 earthquake, which destroyed the entire city and killed between 30,000 and 40,000 people. The city was rebuilt, thanks to orders from the then Prime Minister, in a more modern style. The locals describe their city as the epitome of authenticity, somewhere that hasn't been built to entertain tourists, but rather to accommodate its inhabitants. This is one of the things that make it a popular tourist destination, as visitors come to experience the historic atmosphere and buildings. Today, of course, the city also offers plenty for visitors who are looking to be entertained.
The most popular sights to behold in Lisbon are the many beautiful buildings, which depict architecture of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, |Traditional Portuguese, Modern and Post-modern eras. One such example is the Belem Tower, often thought to be to Lisbon what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or the Big Ben to London.
In addition to the architecture, there are a multitude of museums situated throughout the city. Some of the best are Calouste Gulbenkia, which contains a selection of fascinating artefacts from around the world; the MUDE is dedicated to modern art and the Paula Rego, which contains pieces by the famous Portuguese artist Paula Rego. The museums are well worth a visit, especially if you are an art or history enthusiast. Most museums in Lisbon are closed on Mondays and for those looking to save some money during their trip, it is worth noting that entry is free on Sunday's, until 2pm.
There are some wonderful beaches situated just under an hour's drive from Lisbon. Amongst the best are those at Guincho, where you have an excellent opportunity to escape from the city for a well-deserved rest by the sea. You should be aware that the beaches at Guincho tend to be very busy during the summer months, but with such spectacular hillside views they are definitely worth a visit.
Cristo Rei is also worth a visit; this majestic statue, which stands over 100m high, is located within Lisbon on the opposite bank of the Tejo River from the main part of the city. The view from the top of the statue is nothing short of breathtaking and can be easily reached via a short ferry ride from Cais do Sobre.
Flights to Lisbon arrive at Lisbon Portella airport from all the major international airports. You should have no problem moving around in the city, as there is an excellent public transport network. The metro is the most popular option for both locals and tourists alike and it connects all the districts of the city. Visitors can purchase a tourist card, which provides access to a range of public transport options, as well as discounts to many of Lisbon's top attractions. If you do not fancy using public transport, taxis in the city are some of the cheapest in Europe, so this is definitely an option to consider.
As far as weather is concerned, the climate is described as subtropical Mediterranean. Because it is influenced by the Gulf Stream it has one of the mildest climates in Europe, with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius during the winter months, though this rises considerably during the summer, especially July and August. If you are considering a trip to the city there really is no off-season when it comes to taking cheap flights to Lisbon.
All in all Lisbon provides plenty of entertainment for travellers and with its unique, romantic architecture and a number of spectacular destinations tailored to anyone interested in art and history, Lisbon will continue to score high on the wish list of travellers from across the globe.