Sorry what? You thought I was done with telling you about my Portuguese adventures? I didn’t even get to the best part yet! So I’ll keep going.
A lot of people touring Lisbon forget to stop at the Parque das Nações. This part of the city is the modern part of the Portuguese capital. Most of it was built for the World Fair of Lisbon held in 1998. Even though the site is now 12 years old, it still clearly reflects the desire for a new and innovative world.
So our adventurous feet and insatiable curiosity took us to the Northern part of town!
The neighbourhood & architecture
It’s actually pretty easy to get to the park with public transportation, and so we did, quite early in the morning. When you arrive there, the first thing you see is the huge Centro Vasco de Gama, a gigantic mall with a lot of really cool shops and restaurants in it. We decided to stop there for breakfast and enjoy the view. The mall restaurants have a wonderful terrace overlooking the park and looking at it got us even more eager to go explore it!
We first started wakling around, checking out the buildings and the architecture. You can definitely picture yourself in the future there. Everything is so neat and graphic, I really loved the atmosphere. Especially walking along all the nations flags!
The Oceanarium’s gardens
We didn’t want to get into the oceanarium just yet, so we just had a look around what they call the oceanarium’s gardens. Which are pretty amazing – maybe even more than the oceanarium itself I must say! There’s this impressive waterfall that you can walk under, and then in the backyard, it’s a mix of nature, water, blue tiles walls, and little experimentations you can do with your kids – of course we tried it as well!
The place was very peaceful despite the crowd, maybe because of the Japanese garden vibe going on there? I don’t know. What I am sure of is that it was one of my favourites places that I discovered that day.
The cable car & the Vasco de Gama tower
As the basic tourists that we were, we really wanted to see the park from above. And what better opportunity to do that than by flying over it with a cable car! It was actually pretty cheap with the student discount so we decided to try it out. Even though we are not such big fans of paying touristy attractions, some are clearly worth it. The view was stuning, mixing the white modern buildings and the blue of the sky and the ocean. A really dreamy place!
We got down of the cable car at the bottom of the Vasco de Gama tower. It’s magnificient and really impressive! We couldn’t get in unfortunately because it has been turned into a luxury hotel.
The Parque das Nações
Then we decided to walk back to explore what we had been admiring from above. So this time we discovered the park by foot. There were little botanic areas, fountains, wooden constructions, that made the place once again, neat, peaceful, modern and Japanese inspired.
We then got a little cheeky and stopped for a delicious white sangria, it’s the holidays after all!
We finished the day with a kind of educational visit. I have to warn you: the entrance ticket for the Oceanarium of Lisbon is VERY expensive. If I went back I don’t know if I would pay… I mean it was interesting but it’s just your typical aquarium. They really emphasize the message on protecting the ocean and the animals that live there, that’s what I really liked.
We then grabbed a bite to eat before heading home, and that was another great day in Lisbon!