The third part of our visit to Lisbon belongs to the city’s most northeastern, and the most contemporary part, completely reconstructed for the Expo ’98 World’s Fair.
- Lisbon in a Few Hours! (Part 3)
- Estação do Oriente
- Centro Comercial Vasco da Gama
- Parque das Nações
- Oceanário de Lisboa
- Jardins de Água
- Telecabina do Parque das Nações
- Torre Vasco da Gama
- Ponte Vasco da Gama
- Altice Arena
- Parque Eduardo VII
- Estádio da Luz
We will start our tour from the Estação do Oriente (the Lisbon Oriente Station), inaugurated on 19 May 1998, as a part of the opening celebration of the fair.
This is Santiago Calatrava’s masterpiece melding Gothic-style and Modernism, with the impressive modern design exterior, and a fabulous front canopy supported by the glass and metal lattices, resembling a dense forest. It is a busy and clean station, which includes a Metro station, a high-speed commuter and regional train hub, a local, national and international bus station, a shopping center and a police station.
There is the Centro Comercial Vasco da Gama (Vasco da Gama Commercial Centre) opposite the station and it is within walking distance from the waterfront as well as from several other attractions including the MEO Arena, Casino Lisboa, the Oceanarium, gardens, etc.
Located in a prime area of Lisbon’s Parque das Nações, the Vasco da Gama Shopping Centre has 170 shops, a six-screen cinema and a health club. Since the opening in 2009, it has become a favorite spot for everyone who values the option of combining shopping with free-time activities.
Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations) is a beautiful park, by the river, and next to the Oceanarium, dedicated to the different nations of the world, and ideal for a riverside walk.
It has a brand new marina, Marina Parque das Nações with 600 berths, a river pier for cruises or historical vessels, but also a spot for bird watching as it is situated in the Tagus Estuary, one of the largest estuaries of Europe.
The Oceanário de Lisboa (The Lisbon Oceanarium) in the Parque das Nações, was also constructed as one of central features for Expo ‘98 Built on a pier in an artificial lagoon, it resembles an aircraft carrier. It is the world’s largest salt water Oceanarium and is a fantastic tourist attraction especially for families. It has a large collection of over 450 different marine species, and about 16,000 individuals.
Right next to it, there are beautiful Jardins de Água (Water Gardens)
They are free, full of powerful waterfalls and misty geysers, dedicated to entertainment and leisure activities. They are a marvelous spot to cool off in summer.
Telecabina do Parque das Nações (The Nations Park Gondola Lift) and its south terminal is located next to the Oceanarium, so you should not miss the opportunity to enjoy this magnificent and unique experience… It was inaugurated on March of 1998, also for the International Exposition of Lisbon (EXPO’98), and it was one of its biggest attractions.
It has 40 closed cabins with automatic doors and the capacity of eight passengers. Its South terminal is located on Passeio de Neptuno, next to the Oceanarium and the North terminal is located on Passeio das Tágides, next to the old Vasco da Gama Tower, now the Myriad hotel. Its white and blue color stands as a beautiful contrast between the blue sky and the river.
The trip lasts from 8 to 12 minutes on a course of 1230 meters, 30 meters above the Tagus River, providing a breathtaking view.
It will take us to the Torre Vasco da Gama (The Vasco da Gama Tower), a 145 meter (476 ft.) lattice tower with skyscraper, built in 1998 for the Expo ’98, with a three-story building at its base that served as the European Union Pavilion during the Expo.
The base should have been leased for office space after the closing of the Expo, but never found tenants. Having been used only occasionally, both the observation deck and the restaurant were closed in October 2004.
The base of the tower was demolished in 2007 and the Parque Expo received the permission to construct a 20-floor, 178-room luxury hotel (The Myriad Hotel).
The architects were inspired by the form of a sail. The base enters the river like the bow of the boat. The tower has a vertical “mast”, a metallic, tubular “sail”, and a “nest”, a platform with the rotating restaurant and viewing area 120 meters above the ground. The view of the Vasco da Gama Bridge from here is truly amazing.
Ponte Vasco da Gama (The Vasco da Gama Bridge) is the longest bridge in Europe after the Crimean Bridge with a total length of 12.3 kilometers (7.6 mi) and it has six road lanes. It was built to alleviate the congestion on Lisbon’s 25 de Abril Bridge, and eliminate the need for traffic to pass through the capital city.
Its construction began on February 1995 and it was opened to traffic just in time for Expo 98, the World’s Fair that celebrated the 500th anniversary of the discovery by Vasco da Gama of the sea route from Europe to India.
We can walk back to the Altice Arena (formerly MEO Arena), a multi-purpose indoor arena that is also one of the largest indoor arenas in the European Union with a capacity of 20,000 people, and mostly used for big concerts of national and international stars.
Using the benefits of the perfectly functioning Lisbon Metro, I would end up our tour either at the Benfica Stadium for football fans, or at one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Lisbon, at Parque Eduardo VII.
Parque Eduardo VII (The Eduardo VII Park) is a public park with a nice landscape architectural style, and the largest park in the central city. Within the area of the Park are the Carlos Lopes Pavilion, and the Estufa Fria (a greenhouse garden)
On the northern top of the park, there is a flagpole with the present largest Flag of Portugal, offering a magnificent view of the city all the way to the Tagus.
The Estádio da Luz, officially named Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, is a multi-purpose stadium in Lisbon, owned by Portuguese club S.L. Benfica. It is one of the biggest stadiums by capacity in Europe and the biggest in Portugal. It was also elected as the most beautiful stadium of Europe in an online poll by L’Équipe.
Opened in 2003, it replaced the original Estádio da Luz, which had 120,000 seats. The seating capacity was decreased to 64,642.
The translation “Stadium of Light” is not accurate because Luz refers not to “light” but to the original address of the stadium: Estrada da Luz. It is often referred to also as a Catedral (the Cathedral) or as o Inferno da Luz.
It was designed to focus on light and transparency. Its polycarbonate roof allows the sunlight to penetrate the stadium and illuminate it. The roof, supported by four steel arches, seems to float above the tribunes.
Lisbon is a city of endless possibilities. The route I have offered you is just a plan that you can use to get the most out of a short visit. However, whatever you do in Lisbon, you will surely get the most beautiful memories.
Feel free to leave me a comment if you do not agree with something or if my advice has been helpful to you. I am here to share my experiences, and to help yours get richer.