Lisbon is the largest city, and capital of Portugal. Thanks to its unique light, it has been known for hundreds of years as the ‘white city’, and it’s clear and warm climate allows for excellent morning and afternoon strolls all around the city.
Lisbon is the only capital in Europe that offers spectacular sandy beaches, and its natural beauty extends as far inland as you’re willing to explore. From cobbled streets and vibrant market salesmen to amazing food and even better hospitality, Lisbon really is the place to holiday this summer. Let’s take a look at some of the monuments and attractions that are often missed in this fantastic city.
The Luminous Fountain
This is one of the major tourist attractions in Lisbon, and located in the AvenidasNovas district it’s very easy to get to though excellent transport links. This fountain was built during the Second World War, 1940 to be exact, when Lisbon was a city that had been reduced to rubble.
At night time, the fountain would expel amazing beams of light, and it became a beacon of hope for much of the local population, thus receiving its name ‘fonteluminose – luminosa fountain. In 2011, the monument was shut down for renovation, but after some essential repairs it was back up and running in late 2012, with the water and light shows dazzling tourists and locals once again.
The Santana Windmills are one of Lisbon’s best kept secrets, and the chances are that many of the city’s population don’t actually know where they’re located. A well-informed tour guide will however, so if you’re booking a tour of Lisbon, make sure the Windmills are on your route!
The Santana Windmills can be found in the Ajuda district, and they date all the way back to the 18th century. Back then, the Ajuda district was all farmland, and many of the other mills were tore down to make way for improved accommodation. Thankfully however, the two Santana Windmills survived the countryside evolution, and they stand tall amongst a landscape of modern structures.
The Bemposta Palace Chapel
Catherine of Braganza, once the Queen of England, demanded a new home upon her return to Portugal in 1693. Over the next year or two, the spectacular Bemposta Palace Chapel was designed and built, standing proud at the top of one of the city’s biggest hills, looking down onto its people. Sadly however, the palace is no longer open to visitors, and it is now the home of the Military Academy. There is a small service held in a side room in the palace on Sundays though, allowing you to get a brief glimpse of the architecture inside.
This is one amazing structure that tourists are allowed to explore, and once you get inside, you realise that you’re actually standing in a part of Lisbon’s ancient history. Built in 1705, Pena Church was the city’s main architectural attraction at the time, and it was constructed using the latest materials and tools. Furthermore, it was also covered in gilt, another first for structures in Lisbon.