-Popular festivities (Festas Populares) –
These celebrations take place in the historical quarters of Lisboa.
Lisbon celebrates the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints) by decorating the city. Barely a street escapes as paper lanterns, streamers and coloured lights are hung from balconies and railings. At the street there are several parties, people dance, listen to Fado, eat grilled sardines and drink. As a symbol of affection people present each other with little pots of basil and paper carnations on which they write poems to each other.
There are parades in each district and everywhere there is music and dancing. In the evening make your way up to the Alfama, and Mouraria where sardines are grilled outside the houses and the narrow streets fill with people in the party mood. There is a big parade on the night of the 12 June for St António which makes its way along the Avenida da Liberdade. The old quarters of Alfama and Mouraria are particularly busy and celebrations continue until dawn.
Although the patron saint of Lisbon is St Vincent (its relics were rescued by our first king Afonso Henriques and brought to Sé de Lisboa our dearest saint is St António de Lisboa aka Saint Anthony of Padua (where he died) but whose real name was Fernando de Bulhões. He is especially invoked for the recovery of things lost, but above all... if you look for girlfriend / boyfriend because in Portugal he is recognized as the marriage saint.
That's why it's also traditional to hold a collective wedding ceremony on St António’s day (13th June) where the brides are known as Brides of Santo António.
i'm not really into amusement parks, but I'll admit it was rather entertaining to go here one night and try out one of the rides. I went on that thing that spins you around in circles. Since my friends and I were the only ones on the ride, the operator left us on there extra long. I think for at least 10 minutes, and I'm not even exaggerating. Needless to say, we were all puking or about to do so after we stumbled off the ride.
There's tons of games, rides, etc. here so if you are in Colombo and bored, head over to the amusement park. Outside there's this ride that flings you in a ball through the air at top speeds.
Cinemateca is a gorgeous renovated old theater that plays many independent and foreign films. Aside from the fantastic theaters with plush, leather seating, Cinemateca also holds a library and photo archive, a film museum, bookshop, snack bar and restaurant, and temporary exhibits.
Movie tickets are only 2,5 Euro
Rock in Rio-Lisboa is returning for the biggest party of 2010. The sloping terrain of the Bela Vista Park (200000 square meters), with trees all around, is perfect in what concerns the City of the Rock -the world’s biggest music festival that takes place outside Brazil for the second time in its history. Next summer all roads will lead you to the City of Rock. Besides concerts there is the ski ramp with artificial snow and a leisure area for the children, just to highlight two novelties.
Some of the most notable names in the Portuguese and International music scene will be present during the five days of the festival attended by more than 500000 people, as expected, which means about 100000 people every day in average.
Updated yourself @ the official site of Rock in Rio-Lisboa, and do not forget to participate in the world’s biggest music event, because you will have lots of fun and you will be contributing to build A Better World and helping thousands of children to smile.
Another big summer festival is Super Bock Super Rock where some of the rock world's greatest stars confirmed their presence.
Another event is Luzboa - International Biennial of Light dedicated to the art of light and lighting that add even greater colour to various landmark sites of the city. Lisboan’s streets, belvederes and monuments are transformed with original lighting displays. Specially designed routes through the neighborhoods of Chiado, Baixa and Castelo allow everyone to enjoy these amazing light displays. At night all can see Lisboa transformed by the art of light that lights up buildings, streets and monuments whilst presenting projections, sculptures and figures performing with illuminated suits.
September is a month of "lights" in Lisbon.
Olivais Docks, in front of the Portugal Pavilion, Parque das Nações (Nations' Park) is the venue of Lisboa World Pyrotechnics (over half million spectators attended the fireworks displays last year). Prestigious companies from this sector perform at this World Competition each with a fireworks display synchronised with music. Each show lasts around 20 minutes. The jury panel judge the shows according to various criteria including variety of colours and the originality of the displays.
Every year 40+ hot air balloons from around the world take to the sky during the biggest balloon festival in Portugal. Usually departure can be from any place in Portugal and this year was in Lisbon (Praça do Império, Belém).
The festival is one of the largest in Europe with hundred thousand spectators which come to watch as the balloons inflate and eventually fill the sky with an array of colours. There were additional activities such as market stalls and the opportunity to have a balloon baptism (free ride).
But the best part was the "Balloon Night Glow" with a perfect synchronism between music (classic, heavy-metal, symphonic rock, etc.) and the glows...
What a night...
Come to see next festival. Have a look at the schedules http://www.balloonevents.org/
This is one of the most beautiful trainstations that I know of, so even if you don't need to use the train (it is the one that takes you to Sintra), do take the chance to at least take some pictures of the beautiful facade.
Built in 1886/87 this neo-manueline is located between the Rossio and Restauradores square and could easily be missed if you are not paying attention. It has recently been renovated and connected to the subway station (Restauradores, which is closer) and the interior is also worth a visit, specially the ceiling.
December is another month of "lights" in Lisboa. Lisboa takes on new colours and a special warmth during the festive season. The colours and magic of thousands of Christmas lights that decorate the city create a true fairytale-like atmosphere.
Sponsored by Lisboa City Council and shopkeeper’s associations, the Christmas lights and decorations extend from Rossio to the Baixa/Chiado area and from the Avenidas Novas as far as Belém.
This luminous atmosphere can be enjoyed whilst Christmas shopping throughout Lisboa’s shopping districts. An excellent opportunity to become acquainted with the city’s streets and Christmas customs.
Until the Day of Kings on January 6, the Christmas festivities, brightly lit streets, decorated shops and Christmas songs can be heard throughout the city making Lisboa even warmer and more welcoming.
For me, one of the grandest to do things during a trip or vacation is to enjoy and then enjoy some more the local cafe houses of the city or town I happen to be visiting in. It is soothing, highly personal, entertaining and atmospheric, not to mention it being quite economical. So, when I'm in Lisbon...or, Lisboa, as is appropriately referred to by the natives, I spend a great deal of time knowing and relating with this great city from the vantage point of her cafes. And she has so many unaccountable number as well as unnameable cafe houses all round. One cannot in Lisbon walk across a block or two without passing by another cafe. And they come in all forms from grand state-room-like opulent halls to simple non-descript hole-in-the-wall little shops to secluded outdoor neighborhood front yard-like setting...all serving great coffee complimented by equally fantastic sweets and desserts this side of the globe. I like the tiny outdoor neighborhood type with only a few pint-size tables spread out in the open air usually with a backdrop of an old church, a house thoroughly tiled on its exterior, a park, fountain or between steep steps leading nowhere and everywhere and the locals hang about doing their normal ways.
Lisbon's or Portugal's coffees for that matter, are the kinds which come from her former colonies, the result of its most ambitious and adventurous discoveries in so many parts of the world: Brazil, Goa, Timor, Cape Verde Islands, Angola, Mozambique, just to name a few...and they're all excellent coffees. They actually also make great presents to take home with.
The basic coffee to drink in Lisbon is called 'bica', the super-strong and dark undiluted coffee served in tiny cups or dimitasse just like the Italian expresso which you go ahead and down into your system in one rapid quaf. If you prefer your expresso coffee with a bit of milk, order a 'garoto'. But if you want a larger cup dark with undiluted milk, it is called 'um duplo com pouco leite' and the one with more milk (usually using warm milk) than coffee in a full glass is called 'galao' which is much preferred generally by older ladies and the elderlies.
This museum is an absolute must-do if you want to discover the importance and/or history of Fado in Lisbon life. It is situated at the border of Alfama.
The museum houses information about the history of Fado, the different kinds of Fado, the Fado on radio and TV, the Fado artists, and also the Portuguese guitar.
It is explained in an easy, interesting way and pushing on the buttons, you can hear pieces of Fado music. The greatest part is at the end, when you have an imitation of a pub/Fado house, in which you can sit down and listen to it. Very well done!
When I was there, there was a temporary exhibition about Amalia Rodrigues, THE fadista par excellence! Again, you could listen to her songs by headphone, reading about her life and achievements.
Go to this museum and discover Alfama afterwards and you’ll have a great time discovering this intriguing part of Lisbon!
Lisbon's Oceanarium is one of the world's largest aquariums. Designed by American architect Peter Chermeyeff, it rises from the river and is reached by a footbridge.
It is a deep-sea diving experience without any of the risks, with about 25,000 fish, seabirds, and mammals in an enormous central tank that is the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Visitors can look into it from different levels for close-ups of the various creatures, including different species of sharks.
But it's the design rather than the size that makes it outstanding.
It is the first aquarium ever to incorporate world ocean habitats within a single environment, with impressive recreations of various ocean ecosystems -- the Antarctic tank containing penguins, and the Pacific tank with otters playing in rock pools.
They are all separated from the main tank by invisible acrylic walls, giving the impression that all the creatures are swimming in the same space.
There are also high-tech multilingual interactive displays explaining the development of ocean life.
This was a website adviced to us (workers) by my company.
I never tryed it but if they adviced us (living in Lisbon) it should be good, anyways Im thinking in giving it a try so I drop note if I do so :)
Ginjinha. Sounds like a term of endearment for a pretty girl in the neighborhood, sweet, well-endowed and nubile. It also sounds as tho a resounding warning or a curse of an incoming danger about to plunge at one headlong. And indeed it should be taken and interpreted as a warning, at least the idea of getting terribly indulgent and so drunk from it as a result.
Ginjinha is a cherry liqueur or brandy of Portugal. The country has its share of many potent drinks and heavy liqueuers and Ginjinha is topmost for its accessibility in terms of a cheap drink for the ordinary citizen and reason for its highly popular likability.
In Lisbon, one can find many a Ginjinha bars which expectedly also serve up other alcoholic drinks; and it's become such a trend in the city to simply walk into one and have a quick swig or two at any good excuse. Much more and will have a predictable lethal consequence. It is therefore not anymore an unusual phenomenon/sight to see individuals or groups stagger uncontrollably and carreen about the area from a Ginjinha intoxication...or even dead-drunk from it. And this trend which is quickly rising to becoming an undeserved tradition is gaining popularity even among travelers in the know...to find at some point in one's visit to Lisbon a convenient Ginjinha Bar and have a try of it. This one (accompanying foto) is brazenly called A Ginjinha as tho it has the monopoly and sole franchise of the said brandy while the others only inferior imitators. But supposedly this one is the most known and always attract both the curious and the seasoned partakers.
Curious, I tried it for one swig at this very place during another of my regular visits to the city. I made sure I went with a friend just to be on the safe side as my tolerance to highly alcoholic liquors is shamefully low. It was only a shot and of course with the veritable age-cured cherry in it which by the way I had been warned to stay away from eating it afterwards. I did not listen. It was to me, the drink, so heavy and potent it took no time to hit me in the head. I could feel the veins in my forehead whoosh to almost explosion and my balance getting ridiculous. Good thing I quaffed only a shot or I would easily have found abandoning myself among the pidgeons and other lost souls upon the sidewalk. Thank heavens for my friend.
In Rossio you can taste a typical Lisbon sweet drink – “Ginja” or “Ginjinga”... Is alcoholic but very sweet & drunken in a very small amount glass, appreciated by everyone...
This historical “Ginjinha drinking spot” is just a very old & tiny tavern considered an official monument, where people always stopped, by brief moments, to have a sweet taste of Lisbon...
You can appreciate an incredible diversity composed by all: ages, cultures and social classes (tourists often crowds in this spot)... People is always arriving and leaving, excellent for a taste of Lisbon human heart and soul...