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The city of Lisbon: Home of Oceanário de Lisboa 


Nestled on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is a gem of a country brimming with sun-drenched vineyards, ancient castles, bustling city life, and miles of stunning coastline. Its unique blend of traditional charm and contemporary vibrancy make it a must-visit on any travel bucket list. At the heart of this captivating country is Lisbon, a city that beautifully marries the old and the new.

Its cobbled streets, gothic cathedrals, and modern structures stand testament to its rich past and dynamic present. Among the city’s numerous attractions, the Oceanário de Lisboa commands a special place. A world-class aquarium, it brings together the wonders of the ocean and the heart of the city, promising an experience that leaves visitors of all ages spellbound.

Portugal At a Glance

Portugal, a land of diversity, is dotted with attractions that span its rich history, culture, and natural beauty. The city of Porto, famous for its production of fine Port wine, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that captivates with its medieval alleys, baroque churches and stately beaux-arts architecture. Further south, the Algarve region awaits with pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs and teal-blue waters that attract surfers from around the globe.

Inland, the cultural richness of Portugal continues to shine. The university town of Coimbra brims with academic vigour and youthful energy, while the ancient city of Évora in the Alentejo region is a treasure trove of Roman temples, Moorish alleys and Gothic cathedrals.

But Portugal is not just about architecture and history. Its natural beauty is equally compelling, with national parks such as Peneda-Gerês and Douro Valley offering a haven for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts.

And then, of course, there’s Lisbon. Portugal’s capital, home to the spellbinding Oceanário de Lisboa, is a vibrant cityscape of historic trams, pastel-coloured buildings, and an inviting food scene. Whether you’re exploring the cultural richness of the Belém district or losing yourself in the narrow, winding streets of Alfama, Lisbon is a city that invites you to savour every moment.

The Wonders of Oceanário de Lisboa

The Oceanário de Lisboa, a beacon of Portugal’s commitment to marine conservation, is a must-visit attraction that truly captures the essence of Lisbon. As one of the world’s largest aquariums, it offers an immersive journey into the fascinating world beneath the waves.

From the moment you step in, you’re welcomed by the sight of a massive central tank, mimicking the open ocean, that is home to a plethora of marine species—sharks, rays, and colourful tropical fish, all co-existing in a wondrous display of biodiversity.

Beyond the central tank, the Oceanário brings together ecosystems from the world’s oceans in four separate habitats: the cold North Atlantic, the temperate Pacific kelp forests, the warm Indian Ocean, and the vibrant Antarctic marine life.

Each area is meticulously designed to replicate the natural environments of the species, providing visitors with a genuine understanding of the complex interplay between various life forms and their habitats.

The Oceanário de Lisboa is not just about showcasing the marvels of marine life—it’s also about instilling a sense of stewardship for our oceans. The aquarium is deeply involved in environmental education and research, striving to inspire visitors with a profound respect for the oceans and the life they support. It’s a place where you can come face-to-face with the wonders of the aquatic world while gaining an appreciation of the need for their conservation.


The Oceanário de Lisboa 

At the heart of Lisbon’s Parque das Nações, sits the Oceanário de Lisboa, an architectural marvel that perfectly encapsulates the magic of marine life. Housing over 8,000 sea creatures from 500 different species, the aquarium offers an unforgettable adventure into the mysterious underwater world.

The highlight of the Oceanário is undoubtedly its central tank, a vast, light-filled space teeming with diverse aquatic life including graceful sharks, playful otters, and mesmerising jellyfish, just to name a few.

The journey through the Oceanário is a sensory feast. Each habitat is carefully created to mimic natural environments, making visitors feel as if they’ve embarked on a global tour of the world’s oceans. From the chilly waters filled with playful penguins and puffins to the warm tropics with its colourful schools of fish and coral reefs, each turn brings a new mesmerising vista. Every exhibit has been thoughtfully designed to educate, awe, and inspire, making for a day filled with wonder and discovery.

But the Oceanário is more than just its mesmerising displays. It’s an institution that prides itself on its environmental conservation efforts and its mission to educate the public about the vital importance of preserving our planet’s oceans. Regular educational programmes, workshops, and temporary exhibitions are designed to provoke thought and instil a respect for the marine environment.

With every visit, you’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for our planet’s aquatic ecosystems and the myriad of life they support, making the Oceanário de Lisboa not just an aquarium, but a vital educational hub.

History of the city of Lisbon 

Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, bears the distinct honour of being one of the oldest cities in Europe, predating other Western capitals like Rome, London, and Paris by centuries.

Founded by the Phoenicians around 1200 B.C., it was a prized city for several major civilisations due to its strategic position on the westernmost edge of continental Europe. The Romans seized it in 205 B.C., recognising the city’s value as a port and trading hub.

Under Roman rule, the city flourished, growing in size and importance. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Lisbon came under the control of various Germanic tribes, the most significant of which were the Visigoths in the 5th century.

While the Visigothic rule was marked by considerable instability, they left an enduring impact on the city’s culture and architecture.

The next pivotal moment in Lisbon’s history arrived in the 8th century, with the Moorish invasion. They transformed the city into a major political and economic centre, and their influence is still visible today, particularly in the Alfama district with its winding streets and whitewashed houses.

The tide turned in 1147 when Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques, recaptured Lisbon after a gruelling siege. This marked the beginning of Portugal’s Age of Discovery when Lisbon emerged as the launching point for some of the most significant maritime explorations in history, including Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India. The wealth and prestige brought by these explorations propelled Lisbon into its golden age, turning it into a global metropolis, a status it has maintained to this day.

The vivid culture of Portugal 

Lisbon, the heart of Portugal, pulses with a vibrant culture that seamlessly blends the traditional and the contemporary. At its core, Lisbon’s culture is a captivating tapestry of music, food, art, and history.

Fado, Portugal’s unique genre of music, echoes through the city’s labyrinthine streets, encapsulating the Portuguese spirit of saudade—a deep, emotional state of nostalgic longing. Whether heard in a traditional Alfama tavern or a contemporary music venue, fado is a moving experience that beautifully embodies Lisbon’s soulful culture.

On the culinary front, Lisbon offers a gastronomic journey that’s as diverse as it is delicious. The city’s eateries, ranging from historic bakeries and rustic tascas to modern fusion restaurants, serve up an array of delectable Portuguese dishes.

Seafood is a staple, best exemplified by the ubiquitous bacalhau (salted cod) that can be prepared in countless ways. Lisbon’s food scene is also famous for pastéis de nata, a custard tart that’s a bite-sized embodiment of Portuguese love for sweets.

Artistically, Lisbon is a city of vibrant colours and dynamic creativity. The city’s streets are an open gallery showcasing the artistic talent of the locals—from the traditional azulejos (blue and white ceramic tiles) that adorn many buildings, to the modern street art that brings life to the city’s urban landscapes.

Meanwhile, the city’s museums, such as the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian and Museu de Arte Antiga, offer a deep dive into the rich tapestry of Portuguese and international art. The culture of Lisbon is a dynamic, living entity that continues to evolve, yet remains deeply rooted in the traditions and history that have shaped this captivating city.

Food and drink in the city of Portugal 

The food and drink scene in Lisbon, the city, fondly known as the culinary capital of Portugal, is a smorgasbord of flavours, aromas and textures. The city’s gastronomic landscape is shaped by its Atlantic location, yielding an abundance of fresh, high-quality seafood.

It’s not uncommon to find locals gathered around bustling markets such as Mercado da Ribeira, savouring plates of fresh grilled sardines, oysters, or the ever-popular ‘bacalhau a bras’, a delectable concoction of shredded salt cod, onions, and straw potatoes bound by golden scrambled eggs.

Lisbon’s reputation for divine pastries is well deserved. These sweet treats are a testament to Portuguese ingenuity and love for all things sugary. The ‘pastel de nata’ is the undisputed star, with its flaky crust enveloping a rich, creamy custard, ideally enjoyed slightly warm.

But let’s not forget the lesser-known, yet equally delicious, ‘travesseiros’ and ‘queijadas’ from Sintra, which offer a delightful fusion of almond, egg yolk and cheese flavours .When it comes to drinks, Portugal’s world-renowned wines take centre stage. From the full-bodied reds of the Douro Valley to the crisp, effervescent Vinho Verde from Minho – the variety is astounding.

Lisbon’s ‘ginjinhas’ shops are also a must-visit. Serving ‘ginjinha’, a traditional sour cherry liqueur, these tiny establishments are a testament to the city’s penchant for conviviality and good cheer. Whether you’re a food connoisseur or a casual foodie, Lisbon promises a gastronomic journey that tantalises the palate, warms the heart, and nourishes the soul.

Getting around in Portugal 

Effortlessly navigating through Lisbon, the heart of Portugal, is a breeze thanks to its efficient and well-connected transportation network. Whether it’s hopping aboard the iconic yellow trams, catching the metro, or simply exploring on foot, getting around the city is an experience in itself.

The tram system, known as ‘Elétricos’, lends a nostalgic charm to the city while providing convenient routes to major tourist attractions. Tram 28, the most popular, is practically a moving viewpoint, traversing the narrow, cobbled streets of the city’s historic old town.

The Lisbon Metro, boasting clean, safe, and punctual services, is the quickest way to travel across larger distances. It’s an art lover’s dream with each station featuring unique art installations reflecting Portuguese culture and history. For short distances, nothing beats the joy of walking. Lisbon’s compact, pedestrian-friendly layout makes it easy to meander through its winding streets, steep hills and stairways, immersing oneself in the sights and sounds of the city.

Renting a bike or an electric scooter is another viable option in Lisbon, particularly for exploring riverside areas. You can cycle along the dedicated bike lanes or zoom through the city on scooters, available for hire via several apps.

Taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber also offer affordable and convenient transportation options. However one chooses to get around, Lisbon promises an engaging travel experience, with every method of transport offering a unique perspective of the city’s vibrant character.

Practical information about the city of Portugal 

When preparing your journey to Lisbon, the enchanting capital of Portugal, it’s essential to consider a few practicalities to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. One of them is the city’s weather. With a Mediterranean climate, Lisbon boasts warm, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. The best time to visit is in spring (May to June) or autumn (September to October) when you can enjoy pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodation rates.

Currency in Lisbon is the Euro (€), and it’s advisable to have some cash handy for smaller purchases, although most places do accept credit and debit cards. ATMs are widely available for cash withdrawals. Regarding language, Portuguese is the national language, but English is widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas and by the younger population.

Another practical aspect to consider is safety. Lisbon is generally a safe city with a low crime rate. However, just like in any other major city, it’s sensible to remain alert to your surroundings and keep your belongings secure, especially in crowded tourist areas. Public Wi-Fi is readily available in most cafes, restaurants, and public spaces, but using a VPN is recommended to secure your data.


In conclusion, Lisbon, the vibrant capital of Portugal, is an enchanting city that offers a multitude of sensory experiences. From the mesmerising tapestry of modern and historical art to the mouth-watering array of local cuisine and world-renowned wines, the city is a feast for the senses. Its well-connected transportation network makes exploring the city’s winding streets and hidden gems an effortless adventure.

Moreover, practical aspects such as prevalent English understanding, easy cash availability, and city safety make it a convenient destination for travellers. A trip to Lisbon promises a rich immersion in a culture where traditional charm meets modern sophistication, creating an unforgettable journey for every visitor.