An afternoon spent in the district of Parque das Nações can offer a perfect dose of riverside sightseeing in Lisbon’s most modern neighbourhood. As the site of the 1998 Lisbon World Exposition, The Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) is know colloquially as Expo and describes the area which sits in eastern Lisbon directly beside the Tagus River. The contemporary architecture and wide open streets present a stark difference from the traditional cobbles and narrow paths that are more custom to the city. For a day outside of the conventional coloured tiers of Lisbon, there is plenty to see in the area and, luckily, we have checked it all out and arranged a list of must-sees…
1. The Oceanario de Lisboa a.k.a Europe’s Largest Aquarium!
The Oceanario de Lisboa is the largest aquarium in Europe,
20,000 m², in size and with over 400 living species. They’ve everything from otters to penguins to sharks. It is recognised as the best in the world for its impressive range of oceanic variety and engaging installations. For example, around the aquarium there are several rooms with imitations of different climatic conditions, from the Indian tropics to the Antarctic, including examples of their inhabitant species.
2. Vasco da Gama a.k.a Europe’s Longest Bridge!
One of two of Lisbon’s infamous bridges, the Vasco da Gama stretches 17.7km across the water, making it the longest bridge in Europe and adding to another of the impressive attributes of the Parque das Nações area. Walking across it is an notable feat for anyone who completes it; or for those more strapped for time it’s a great place to hover over the Tagus.
3. Science Museum
Also on the list of places to pass an afternoon indoors, the Lisbon Science Museum is a perfect balance of fun and education. Situated inside the
Pavilhão do Conhecimento, or the “Pavilion of Knowledge”, the museum is entirely interactive and engaging. Whilst the space seeks to promote an interest in a younger audience, there is enough material to immerse a more mature audience too.
4. Ride the Cable Car Over Parque das Nações
The Parque das Nações cable car allows for a superb birds eye view of the area. Whilst only a short journey between the Vasco da Gama Tower and the Lisbon Aquarium, the ride is an opportunity to relax inside a peaceful bubble and notice details in the areas infrastructure. Tickets can be purchased on site for
€6 per person per ride.
5. Walk around the gardens and discover artistic installments
The three mile-long waterfront promenade is full of aesthetic and interesting sights. Amongst exotic trees and colourful flower walls, there are dozens of pieces of public art by local and international artists. These include impressive sculptures, tile murals, water features, and even modern renditions of Lisbon’s more traditional cobblestones.