The city has two UNESCO World Heritage Sites one of them being the Torre de Belém. The Mediaeval fortification (known also as the Tower of St Vincent) is, for sure, Lisbon’s landmark icon due to its significant role in the Portuguese maritime discoveries of the era of the Age of Discoveries.
Another monument commemorating that glorious period of Portugal is the imposing, modern, limestone Monument to the Discoveries also facing the river nearby. It is shaped like a caravel with the Portuguese explorers from that era setting of on their voyages of discovery.
Belém district also houses the second major historical building and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lisbon – Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (The Hieronymites Monastery). It is a 500-year old monastery whose intricate decoration is awe-inspiring.
Alfama is the oldest district of the Portuguese capital. The Old Town was known to be a traditional neighbourhood of poor people, fishermen and sailors in Lisbon and it resembled a medieval village. Its name has an Arabic origin “Al-hamma” meaning baths or fountains. According to some theories, actually, during the Muslim period the western side of the “bairro” was known as “Alfama do Alto” (or “High Alfama”) and was inhabited by nobility who somehow used it as an aristocratic spa-like retreat because of the local springs. Nowadays Alfama comprises a lot of important historical attractions, old houses and picturesque squares and is one of the most attractive places in Lisbon.
The Castle of São Jorge (The Castle of St. George) is one of the major tourist attractions offering breathtaking, bird’s-eye views of the city and the district of Alfama.
In contrast to the city’s old quarters and neighbourhoods, is the futuristic Parque das Nações (Park of Nations). It is a preferred place for recreation and strolls by visitors and locals alike. The park is home to a great number of attractions like: the state-of-the-art Oceanarium (renowned as the world’s most impressive aquarium); the administrative and residential twin towers São Gabriel and São Rafael with the form of giant sailboats and named after the two of Vasco da Gama’s ships; the viewing tower Torre Vasco da Gama; and of course, Vasco da Gama Bridge that is the longest one in Europe.