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Lisbon is Portugal’s vibrant, colorful capital city, and the country’s cultural and commercial heart. There’s a lot to do in Lisbon, and lots of options for all tastes, at all times of year. Lisbon is famous for its cultural heritage, Baroque churches, Fado shows, delicious seafood, and brilliantly preserved architecture in the city’s many walkable neighborhoods. While there, ride the iconic Tram 28 from the city center up to Bairro Alto. Tour the Torre de Belem, a fortified tower built in the 16th century that watches over the city from the mouth of the River Tagus.
Cruises from Lisbon sail to the southern coastline of Spain, France, the Azores and Canaries, and more. These cruises capture the best of the western Mediterranean, Spanish Riviera, French Riviera, Portugal, and Atlantic islands. You’ll find beautiful beaches, well-preserved historic sights, and plenty of cultural experiences at every turn.
In Porto, a city named after its role as a harbor, waterfront living and a laid-back Portuguese lifestyle make this a rewarding destination for travelers. On the Cais de Ribeira you’ll find great local cafes, shopping, and brightly colored buildings with facades that gaze down on the busy river below. Visit the Church of São Francisco to marvel at the gilded woodwork, then watch a performance at the modern Casa de Musica concert hall. Make sure to try a glass of authentic Port wine, native to the city and region, and the perfect gift to box up and bring with you to take home.
From Flamenco shows to walks through sprawling promenades of regal Moorish and Gothic architecture, Seville ignites the senses. Visit the Princess Bath at the Alcazar Palace, a Castillian masterpiece built by King Peter on a site that still occasionally hosts Spain’s royal family to this day. Take a relaxing stroll to the Plaza de España where you can enjoy a boat tour through the canals, or a horse-drawn carriage ride. Book a meal with a Flamenco show and taste the famous Jamon de Iberico before heading back to your ship for your next destination.
In Malaga, you’ll find authentic Andalusian beach culture, incredible museums, and an average of 320 days of sunshine per year. Malaga is clean, pedestrian friendly, and small enough to pack a lot of activities into a day ashore. Don’t miss the Picasso Museum (the artist was born here), or the Carmen Thyssen Museum, where iconic art collections from the Renaissance era to the 20th century are showcased. Spend a beach day on La Malagueta, and dine on local salt-roasted sardines prepared at thatched-roof “Chiringuitos”, or small beach eateries located on the sand. Be sure to sample some local barrel-aged Vermouth before you go.
Valencia is known for its blend of traditional Spanish culture and modern focus on education, art, and science. Explore the unique bridges and landscaping of Turia Gardens, a 270-acre park that stretches around the north and east of Valencia. Stop at the City of Arts and Sciences, a modern architectural masterpiece that houses a science museum, planetarium, and the largest aquarium in Europe. Shop for local wines, cheeses, and cured ham at the bustling Mercado Central for gifts to take back home.
At the southern tip of Spain, in the maritime gateway to the Mediterranean, is the famous British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. This small city is framed by its iconic, towering limestone ridge and imposing seafront fortifications. While in Gibraltar, head to the Europa Point lighthouse to learn about the history of the city’s many maritime battles, and get unprecedented views of the rocky shore and ocean below. Visit the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, the only place in Europe where you can see Barbary macaques, a species of North African ape.
Spain’s Balearic archipelago is a popular destination for beach lovers, divers, and those looking for year-round nightlife and fabulous dining. Palma de Mallorca, capital of the archipelago, is a bustling city, crammed with art, impressive architecture and cool bars and restaurants. This port city sweeps around a glittering bay, thousands of yachts bobbing on the water, overlooked by Gothic and Moorish-style fortresses and castles. Browse through the abundant fresh fish and produce at the Mercat de l'Olivar. Tour through the towering Catedral de Mallorca. Learn about local sea life at the Palma Aquarium, where over 700 different species are housed and studied.
Celebrity offers industry-leading standards for luxury cruises, with destinations that span the globe, and amenities on board that rival any five-star hotel. On a cruise from Lisbon with Celebrity, you’ll visit world-class ports with excursions designed for every taste. From shopping to wine tasting, museums to thrilling outdoor adventures, Celebrity’s expertise means you’ll get to know each destination in depth.
On board a Celebrity cruise from Lisbon, you’ll have access to casual dining and al fresco drinks by the pool, as well as specialty gourmet restaurants. Spend a day in the soothing spa, or relax on a lounger in the sunshine. Each day in port offers endless options to enjoy activity-filled adventures, or just exploring on your own. Luxury, style, and impeccable service await on a Lisbon cruise with Celebrity.
Lisbon’s cruise terminal is located along the Rio Teja. It encompasses five different places where ships can dock, and how close you are to the city varies depending on which berth your ship is docked in. Regardless of where your ship docks, you can find fast and convenient public transportation into the city and a modern cruise terminal with standard amenities.
The historic district of Alfama in Lisbon is one of the most popular places to stroll through while visiting the city. It has narrow alleys and streets crisscrossing around whitewashed buildings. The little streets are often topped with colorful streamers hung overhead that add delightful bursts of color to the pale shades of the town. Alfama has a distinctly artisan vibe with a big focus on cuisine and music. Alfama is also home to some of Portugal’s most iconic sites including Se Cathedral, St. George’s Castle, Saint Anthony’s Church, and the National Pantheon.
The site of St. George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge) consists of the remains of this medieval-era castle that was mostly destroyed in the 1755 earthquake that devastated Lisbon. Though the castle is in ruins, it is still incredible to walk around, as you explore the rampart and towers, with fabulous views down over the terracotta roofs of Lisbon to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean beyond.
For those who love castles and palaces—especially those that look like they are straight out of a romantic fairytale—a visit to Sintra is a must. Sintra is located about 18 miles from Lisbon and is famous for its 19th-century Romanticist architecture, which extends to the breathtakingly lovely Pena Palace. This hilltop palace has an exterior that charms in shades of yellow and red with princess-worthy towers and elaborate stone carvings throughout the palace. Also in Sintra, you’ll find the medieval Castle of the Moors and the Portuguese Renaissance Sintra National Palace.
If you want to find some authentic Portuguese music, attending a Fado show should be at the top of your list of things to do during your Lisbon cruise stop. Fado is known for its hauntingly beautiful sound and melancholy lyrics, and its origin dates back to the 1820s. The soulful melodies can often be found performed at bars and restaurants in the Alfama District.
Portugal’s location right at the western shoreline of Europe, with nearly one-half of its circumference bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, has made it a prime location for maritime comings and goings over the centuries. This history is on display at the Maritime Museum (also referred to as the Navy Museum), which houses over 17,000 items that relate to the seas, ships, and voyages across the ocean.
This peaceful palace is located near Lisbon’s Monsanto Forest Park. It was built in 1671 to serve as a hunting pavilion for the first Marquis of Fronteira, hence its name. The palace ground consists of a stately mansion in a bold shade of red and is surrounded by gardens. A standout part of the grounds is the large wall covered in elaborately decorated glazed tiles.
Lisbon has a thriving gastronomic scene and it’s rewarding to take some time to feast on Portugal’s eclectic cuisine while you’re here. Start your day with pastéis de nata, a creamy egg custard served up inside a crisp pastry that has been sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. For lunch, you can get quick food like piri piri chicken, a popular fast food available all over Lisbon that is a local favorite for lunch on the fly. From formal dining to street food, you’ll have plenty to choose from during your time in port.
There are many fine dining and casual dining seafood restaurants that draw a lot of attention within the restaurant scene in Lisbon, due to both culture and location. If seafood is not what you’re craving, try traditional roast pork Bifana sandwiches, or a hearty Cozido stew, made with spiced sausages and vegetables. If you want to try a traditional Portuguese liqueur, make sure to order a shot of Ginja at the famous Ginjinha Bar. Ginja is made from sour cherries, alcohol, and sugar.
The history of Lisbon is a vastly rich and varied one that includes seafaring, exploration, earthquakes, and festivals; all of which have impacted the city you see today.
Lisbon is the westernmost capital city in continental Europe and has a thriving commercial and tourism center. Its natural harbor helped the city grow and become a European powerhouse, starting centuries ago. Its harbor was the center of operations for many of the Portuguese explorations that took place, particularly during the 15th century. Another phenomenon that had a lasting effect on Lisbon was the earthquake that occurred there in 1755. Most of the city center was destroyed and it took a long time for it all to be rebuilt, with many of the repairs happening under the command of the Marquês de Pombal. Further revitalization occurred a couple of centuries later when Lisbon hosted the World’s Fair in 1998.
While Lisbon continues to see modern advancements in terms of its transportation, technology, and architecture, the vibe of the city still has an Old Town flair thanks to gorgeously designed buildings, the melancholy vibe that find a pinnacle in the Fado music, and a bustling commercial area with shops and businesses.
Head to Amar Lisboa for artisan ware or Bababodo for jewelry and fashionable clothing. To really get an iconic shopping experience while in Lisbon, head farther away from the port to Avenida Liberdade, one of the most expensive streets in Lisbon, lined by a variety of upscale and luxury stores and boutiques.
The trams of Lisbon aren’t only a great way to get around the city, they’re also one of the top things to do in Lisbon. Take a ride on one of the vintage trams, particularly on Tram 28, which will take you to many of Lisbon’s top sights. Lisbon has an extensive bus system that covers over 140 different routes as well as a metro that is quick and clean and services many areas. Taxis are also available in Lisbon, and you can usually find some waiting outside the Lisbon cruise terminal.
A unique way to get from one of Lisbon’s most popular neighborhoods to the next is the Santa Justa Lift, which is an elevator that connects the central Baixa neighborhood to the historic Bairro Alto district. It was a much-needed addition to Lisbon’s public transportation since it makes it much faster to travel between upper and lower Lisbon. Walking in Lisbon is also an option, but be aware that much of the city is hilly, so bring comfortable shoes if you choose to do so.
The local currency is the Euro and you’ll find ATMs all over the city dispensing Euro notes. Most places in Lisbon take credit cards, but not all do, so it’s good to double-check beforehand. Taxi drivers also aren’t required to accept credit cards, though some do.
For tipping, it is acceptable to do so, but there is no customary amount. Generally, 10% to 15% of your total bill is a fair amount to leave for good service while in Portugal.