Travel guide to Lisbon
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As one of the cities that has been capital of Portugal, Lisbon has benefited from the gigantic wealth that the country was able to extract from its many colonies in South America and Africa, and as such it has some stunning buildings and artwork for visitors to enjoy during their stay. Modern Lisbon is a combination of a number of individual cities that have gradually merged into a single urban area, but which have retained a great deal of their own identity into the bargain. The city is spread around a vast natural harbour that was the basis for the city, and two main bridges cross the water – the most spectacular is Ponte Vasco da Gama which stretches around 5 miles over the water.
Lisbon itself is home to around 4 million people, and throbs and bustles like most modern capital cities, but it is unique in Europe due to the proximity it has to the sea, being the only major capital in southern Europe which has natural beaches within the city limits.
This closeness to the sea defines much of the maritime culture of Lisbon, and means that the populace are more laid back than in many similar sized cities.
If you have access to a car in Lisbon you are not restricted to the city itself for the duration of your stay, and instead of spending all of your time in the busiest areas, you can escape into the surrounding countryside or along the coast to find peaceful locations where you can enjoy time to yourself.
Cascais lies less than 5 miles from central Lisbon and is recognised as being one of the most upmarket suburbs of the city. It has beautiful public beaches and some lovely boutique hotels to choose from. If you travel slightly further south from Lisbon, you can make your way along the rugged Atlantic coast to the Algarve where the rough seas and surf make way for white sand and resort towns where you can relax on the beach and unwind in un pretentious restaurants and bars.
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