Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Guide4U - a new guide to visit Lisbon

A new application is now available to help you to know Lisbon. It is called Guide4U and it will help you to discover 18 of the most visited Lisbon sites.

The narrative is available in five different languages: English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese and the concept is very simple.

The App offers 18 georeferenced spots to know or rediscover, places such as the S. Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint, the Castle of S. Jorge or the Praça do Município. Each site has two sound files, which describe what the user can observe, with a brief explanation, as well as the history related to it and which can be traced back to the time of the Discoveries or the Implantation of the Republic.

This is “the” guide for those who visit or live in the city, and it guarantees an increase of knowledge about Lisbon, taking you to places you have never “seen”, and although it only covers Lisbon, the platform will soon expand to other Portuguese cities.

The app costs 1.99€, and is available for IOS and Android, the Apple Store or Play Store, and offers special discounts on selected partners.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

What to Visit in Lisbon - Praça do Comércio

"Praça do Comércio”, also known as “Terreiro do Paço”, situated in the city center, by the “Tejo” river, is one of the most important squares in Lisbon and where major events take place.

The square itself is in the area where for nearly two centuries were the palace of the kings of Portugal and is one of the largest squares in Europe, with about 36,000 m².

In 1511, “Rei Manuel I” moved his residence from the “Castelo de São Jorge” to this location by the river.

The “Paço da Ribeira”, as well as its library of 70,000 volumes, was destroyed by the earthquake of 1755. In the reconstruction, the square became the key element of the plan of the “Marquês de Pombal”.

After the Revolution of 1910 the buildings were painted in the color pink. However, recently returned to its original color, yellow. This was always the noble entry of Lisbon and in the marble steps of the “Cais das Colunas” from the river, landed heads of state and other prominent figures. Nowadays, it is still possible to experience this amazing entry into Lisbon on ferries that connect the city with Cacilhas.

For a long time the square was nearly forgotten as a Cultural and Historical landmark. The buildings, with arcades surrounding the square, were home, in a few cases still are, to some departments of various ministries of the Portuguese Government and the center of the square was used a parking lot. Only the famous cafe “Martinho da Arcada”, the oldest in Lisbon, and a favorite of Fernando Pessoa, resisted.
But now after a complete renovation that took place in 2010, just in time to host a mass celebrated by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, for 80.000 pilgrims, a new “hot spot” emerged in Lisbon.

The Pateo da Galé, with the signature of the architect Tiago Silva Dias, is a project which sought to combine modernity with tradition, while maintaining the flavor of this ancient place of great historical significance, intended to be a space where you can experience the very best in Portugal: gastronomy, art and culture.

This brand new space contains several surprises that make the “Pateo da Galé” a trendy place and at the same time, historical. In the restaurant area there are two spaces where visitors can savor the delights of the Portuguese cuisine: the “Terreiro do Paço” and Aura, who works as a restaurant and lounge.
A shop can also be found, where it’s possible to buy typical Portuguese items such as jams, soaps, wines, olive oil or crafts.

To host large events there is an ample room called “Risco”, a space reserved for exhibitions. Finally, the Tourist Office and the headquarters of the Turismo de Lisboa.

Since 2013 the Praça do Comércio features a new reason to visit it, the  Augusta Street Arch Viewpoint . After seven months of renovations, this viewpoint offers one of the most unique panoramic views of Lisbon. The entrance is made through Augusta Street and the ticket, which costs 2, 5€, grants you access to the elevator that takes you to the upper level. There and after 30 steps you can visit the clock room a

Need any more reasons to visit one of Lisbon’s most important landmarks? I don’t think so.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Top 5 – Palácio de Queluz

Today we will write about one of the most beautiful Palaces in Portugal, the Palácio de Queluz in Sintra, just about 15 minutes from Lisbon.
Palácio de Queluz (Parques de Sintra/Emigus)

The Palácio Nacional de Queluz is an eighteenth century palace, located in Queluz and is one of the
last great Rococo buildings in Europe. The palace was built as a summer retreat for D. Pedro de Bragança, between 1747 and 1752.

It is known as a mini Versailles due to its exquisite Rococo palace and formal gardens and we’ll give you 5 features not to be missed when visiting this magnificent piece of history.

1 – Throne Room
Competing in splendor with the Ambassadors’ Room, and with a splendid oval, domed ceiling, the Throne Room also serves as ballroom, church and theatre.

2 – Gardens
Two formal gardens, the Neptune Garden and the Malta Garden, fill the space between the palace’s two asymmetric wings.
Palácio de Queluz (Parques de Sintra/Carlos Pombo)

3 – Dom Quixote Chamber
The inlaid circular-pattern floor and domed ceiling make this square room look round. It was named after the painted scenes from Dom Quixote that it contains.

4 – Robillion Staircase
This beautifully flowing staircase links the lower parkland area to the palace and formal gardens. It is flanked by an arcade with a water cascade flowing into a tiled canal where in the past, the royal family went boating.

5 – Ambassadors’ Room
The magnificent Ambassadors’ Room was used for diplomatic audiences, and it is opulently decorated with stucco work and painted and glided carved woodwork.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

MONSTRA 2017 – Lisbon Animation Film Festival

Going for its 16th edition, MONSTRA, Lisbon Animated Film Festival will be held between March 16th and 26th.

According to the organization this will be a festival filled with new gazes, due to the international, European and national premieres which will be presented through different competitions, retrospectives and special programs.

Italy is the guest at the 2017 edition, with different programs dedicated to the country’s filmmaking. All in all, about 600 films between competition entries, retrospectives and premieres.

The presentation of ‘Ma vie de Courgette’ (‘My Life as a Courgette’), a Swiss-French production and prize winner at Annecy also nominated for a Golden Globe, is one of the highlights.

One of the newest additions this year is the Animation and Virtual Reality panel, taking place at the Cinema de São Jorge, on the morning of the 18th. Also from the archives, the prize-winning film “Persepolis” by Marjane Sátrapa and Vincent Paronnaud will be among those to be shown.

Click here for more information about MONSTRA 2017.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

What to do in Alfama

Alfama is the oldest and most typical neighborhood of Lisbon. Its name derives from Arabic al-Hamma (الحمة), which means baths or fountains.

Alfama is a very peculiar neighborhood, resembling an old village, not only for its architecture but mostly for being a small and closed community. Although, in recent times the neighborhood community changed a bit, mostly due to the phenomenon Airbnb.

This new event brought new residents to the district, and “forces” owners to restore their properties, renewing this secular neighborhood and giving it a new life.

Visited daily by Portuguese and by foreign tourists, Alfama is famous among other things for its Fado houses and for the viewpoint Santa Luzia. The neighborhood has its highlight during the Santos Populares celebration, especially on the night of Santo António, from the 12th to the 13th of June.

We have gathered a list of places not to be missed in Alfama:

Sé Catedral
Built in the second half of the twelfth century, the Sé Catedral (Lisbon’s Cathedral), is one of the most important landmarks of Lisbon.
Constructed after Dom Afonso Henriques had taken Lisbon from the Moors, it stands on the site once occupied by the city’s main mosque. The Romanesque building that we see today is a mix of various architectural styles due to the several renovations that occur after the earthquakes.

São Jorge Castle
This is a hilltop castle from the Moorish era, captured by Portugal’s first king, Dom Afonso Henriques, in 1147. Restored in 1938 the castle offers some of the most attractive viewpoints of Lisbon.

Museum Teatro Romano
A Roman amphitheater from the 1st century BC lurks beneath the buildings just above Lisbon’s Cathedral. Not a lot has yet been excavated, but it seems to have been large, holding up to around 5,000 spectators.

Santa Luzia Viewpoint
One of the most well-known Lisbon’s viewpoints, near the Largo das Portas do Sol, has all the proper trappings, including a pergola with tiled pillars, walls, and benches forming a veranda for the view.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Top 5 - Castelo de São Jorge

Lisbon has much to see, a lot of cultural and historic richness that we’ll try to surmise. Today we’ll talk about what is traditionally regarded as the site of Lisbon’s founding settlement, the Castelo de São Jorge.

Every monument or museum has much to offer and it is impossible to write about all here, so we will give some pointers that will help you discover the best Lisbon’s has to offer.

Castelo São Jorge, is a hilltop castle from the Moorish era, captured by Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, in 1147. 

Restored in 1938, the castle offers some of the most attractive viewpoints of Lisbon, and these are the 5 top features not to be missed:

1 – Porta de São Jorge
This grand gate gives onto the final steep climb up the castle grounds. In a wall niche to the left is a figure of St. George.

2 – Statue of Afonso Henriques
This bronze statue of Portugal’s first king was added to the esplanade in 1947 and it is a copy of the original located in Guimarães.

3 – Castle Museum
On the site of the historic Alcáçovas palace, this museum contains a collection of artifacts excavated from the hilltop.

4 – Torre de Ulisses
In one of the inner battlement towers, a camera obscure attached to the periscope projects images of the city.

5 – Inner Battlements
The reconstruction of the inner castle is one of the great achievements of the 1938 restoration. With ten towers and a dividing inner wall, the restored castle matches, as far as possible, the original’s layout and size.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Portugal, a safe country for tourists

The world is changing and for that tourists are starting to add another requisite when choosing a destination, security.

The word terrorism is part of the daily talks in Europe like never before. With the attacks in different central European countries, the sense of security plays a major role when choosing destinations, even if it means to choose a less known country.
The tourist flow is changing and there are countries growing beyond what is considered normal, when comparing with recent years. Among those countries is Portugal. According to the Thomas Cook Group, the world oldest tourism companies, the growth in the number of bookings for countries like Portugal, Bulgaria, Croatia and Cyprus is impressive.

Initially, tourism operators found in Spain and Italy a solution to the impact of the terrorist attacks, but the lack of rooms forced new alternatives, particularly in less saturated markets.

Now, if we join security to the warm climate, the unique cuisine, the historic landmarks and the rising cultural buzz, do you really need any more reasons to visit us?