ROL Cruise recommends…
The History of Europe
Thought to be the oldest city in Western Europe, and one of the oldest in the world, Lisbon is known to have been settled as far back as 1200 BC. The diverse cultural patchwork of Portugal’s now-capital results from the Neolithic Pre-Celtic tribes, the Phoenicians, Romans, and Moors who have called it home over the years.
Visit historic Belém to celebrate the glorious Age of Discovery. Led by Henry the Navigator, the explorers, scientists, artists and missionaries of the 15th and 16th centuries are immortalised at the grand Padrão dos Descobrimentos; a grand monolith sited where they set sail into the unknown sea. A stone’s throw away is the impressive Torre de Belém. Proudly adorning the water’s edge, this much-photographed structure was built as a fortress, though it has served as a lighthouse, jail and customs house during the last 500 years. Ascend the narrow staircase of this UNESCO World Heritage Site to enjoy sweeping vistas, or marvel at the magnificent Gothic architecture of the Jerónimos Monastery, another of Lisbon’s architectural triumphs.
Lisbon sits at the mouth of Iberia’s largest river, the Tagus. Stretching over the waterway is Ponte 25 de Abril which, at first glance, could easily be mistaken for the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Across the river you’ll also find the equally-familiar Christ the King statue, a Catholic shrine inspired by the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
Explore the city
Embrace your natural curiosity and explore the city’s picturesque streets and spacious plazas. Look out for the elaborately painted Azulejos tiles which decorate the city. Admire their beautiful patterns and artistic depictions of historic events, or discover more at The Lisbon Tile Museum. Take a break in a cosy café, then jump on the iconic yellow tram 28 for an enjoyable journey along steep, winding alleys as you pass through many of Lisbon’s finest districts. Head for Castelo de São Jorge to learn how this 6th century castle was fortified by the Romans. Nature lovers can escape the urban buzz at the Oceanario de Lisboa, a modern aquarium and educational centre boasting over 8,000 marine creatures that lurk beneath the surface.