Archive for September, 2008


I came across this blog this morning as I was preparing for my journey to Portugal tomorrow for my final session of the International Organizations Systems Development course.

This is written by Andre Ribeirinho , an entrepreneur who lives in Lisbon.

“For visitors of the SHIFT conference I”ve written A small guide to Lisbon to help them on this visit. It’s small so don’t expect everything to be written here and it’s supposed to be a guide written by me so expect my personal opinion every now and then.

Tram Lisbon
(the Electrico is beautiful and still used in Lisbon – photo by Monguinhas)

Arriving in Lisbon

by air: airport is close to the city (too close in fact). There’s no underground so the best way to get to the center it to get a taxi. It will cost you around 10 euros (extra fee for luggage). You can also get the bus (#44 or #45). It’s cheaper but less convenient.
by train: you’ll probably arrive at Santa Apolónia train station. Get a taxi or a bus to the center.
by car: avoid rush hours (8-10 am and 6-8pm). Find a public park and use the underground or the bus.

rua augusta
(Lisbon is a beautiful city, full of nice people – photo by ivogomes)

Traveling in Lisbon

The best way to get to know Lisbon is to walk.
Lisbon has a few hills but nothing is more beautiful than walking the
old streets. Sometimes you may need to catch an elevador but that’s
just part of the fun.

If you need to, use the underground which is cheap, fast and clean. A journey ticket will cost you 0,70 euros for zone 1 which covers most of the city center. There also a bus network that might be more useful if you’re visiting something not in the underground’s way.

For transport directions get the underground and bus map or access the Google Maps Lisbon Underground mashup.

What to visit in Lisbon
Bairro Alto

Bairro (as it is shortly called by the Portuguese) is one of
Lisbon’s trendiest neighborhoods. During the day its narrow streets
have a very friendly athmosphere and you can shop around the design
shops. But when night comes, the neighborhood gets full of life.
Restaurants (some with Fado), bars and discos make this area of the liveliest in town.

Chiado / Baixa

Chiado is where some of the most fashionable shops are located. It
also has some very beautiful old cafes where once Lisbon’s intelectual
people use to go. Take a look at Brasileira where Eça de Queiroz and Fernando Pessoa
were frequent clients. I usually go in and just grab a croissant and
drink an expresso, standing in the middle of the crowd can be a bit

Convento do Carmo was once the largest church in the city but it was almost completely destroyed by the 1755 earthquake. It’s now a beautiful, open-air, set of ruins. Once there, walk down to the Baixa from Chiado or take the Elevador de Santa Justa (or do both!).

View of The Elevador de Santa Justa
(view of the Elevador de Santa Justa – by Batixa)

Baixa is the city’s lower town. It has lots of small shops and cafes around the area. You shouldn’t miss the Praça do Comércio and Rossio which are the main plazas.


Alfama is the
oldest of Lisbon’s neighborhoods. It has so many narrow streets and
small squares that you can spend a whole day just wandering around and
admiring the view over the Tagus river.

Just on the top of Alfama, Castelo de São Jorge (the castle) is one of Lisbon’s highest points and the view is accordingly amazing. Nearby, is Lisbon’s cathedral and is worth the visit.

Feira da Ladra is Lisbon’s most famous flee market.
It happens on Tuesdays and Saturdays. It’s not that special compared to
some of Europe’s flee markets but if you go soon in the morning you can
get the feeling of the market which is something, I think, all markets
have different. Get there by taking bus #28 or #12.

The Monastery of São Vicente de Fora and the Pantheon of the Bragança dynasty are landmarks of Lisbon and should not be missed. I specially like the amazing 360º view from the Pantheon’s dome.

Panteao Nacional
(the Panteão Nacional dome – photo by Batixa)

Not far away, if you’re into azulejos (tiles) visit the
Museu Nacional do Azulejo for a complete tour on this ancient art. I haven’t been there but I hear it’s very good.

(Azulejos history at the Museu Nacional do Azulejo – photo by Isolano)

If it’s lunch or dinner time and you’re still in the area try one of my favourite resturants: Casanova locate at Cais da Pedra à Bica do Sapato. It’s a more than delicious pizzeria just in front of the Tagus river.

Tagus from casanova pizzeria
(view of the Tagus from the Pizzeria Casanova – photo by batixa)

Parque das Nações

The 3 km riverside park used to be home to an oil refinery but it
has been completely transformed into what it is today because of the
Expo98 world fair. Besides de riverside walk there’s also are a few
other attractions. I live nearby so I can highly recommend the visit.
To get there take the underground to Estação do Oriente.

Parque das Nacoes
(The Parque das Nações calm – photo by batixa)

Once there, don’t miss the Ocenarium which has an impressive collection of marine life and makes a very relaxing visit.

From all over the park you can see the Vasco da Gama bridge as it crosses the Tagus river to the south.

Vasco da Game bridge
(Vasco da Game bridge – photo by batixa)

Avenidade da Liberdade / Parque Eduardo VII

Avenidade da Liberdade is considered to be Lisbon’s
most important avenue. It takes around 20 minutes to walk. It’s now
home to high-end shops like Louis Vuiton and the likes but it is worth
it the visit if you want to walk for a while. At the top of this avenue
lies the Parque Eduardo VII which has two very interesting plant houses: the hot and cool houses. Both have a nice athmosphere.

Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

It’s one of my favourite places in Lisbon. The building and the gardens of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian are impressives. The Gulbenkian Museum and the Centro de Arte Moderna (Modern Art Center) are very important in terms of cultural Lisbon and should be visited with that in mind. There’s also a small cafe that serves very good (and cheap) food.

Calouste Gulbenkian
(sculpture from the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian gardens – by Sophie)

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga

Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga is Portugal’s national gallery. It holds an impressive set of works that date back to the fifteenth and sixteenth century.


The best way to reach Belem is to take the tram (#15) or bus from
Gulbenkian Museum (#51). Belem has lots of intersting things to visit
and you can easily spend a day there.

The Mosteiro dos Jeronimos is a magnificent manueline monastery that dates back to 1500. A few metres closer to the river lies the Torre the Belem (which once controlled the entrance to the port). Both are represent the great discovery of a sea route to the Orient by Vasco da Gama.

Located between the two previous monuments, Centro Cultural de Belem is an important cultural center. Besides the Design Museum it also presents some cultural exhibitions and concerts.

Every time I go to Belem I can’t return without going through the Pasteis de Belem factory where anyone can try some of the most delicious cakes man has ever made. thankfully, boxes of 6 are available to buy!

Around Lisbon

There are a lot of good places to visit if you decide to leave Lisbon for a few hours. I highly recommend Sintra, Estoril, Cascais and Setubal are some of most interesting. If you dedide to visit only one, definitely try Sintra.

Sintra is one of
the most beautiful Portuguese villages. Lots of trees cover the old
villas that make up the character of Sintra. There are many thing to
visit there.

In the village centre try the Palacio Nacional and admire the giant chimneys that grow from the kithcens. On the way to the fantastic Palacio da Pena don’t miss the ruined Castelo dos Mouros.

Palacio Nacional - Sintra
(Palacio Nacional and its impressive chimneys – photo by Batixa)

Sill in Sintra, visit the Quinta da Regaleira where a set of tunnels lead the visitors from a spiral well to a distant lake. Really, really nice.

More information
VisitPortugal covers Lisboa
Turistic Association of Lisbon
A very complete source of information over at GoLisbon.com

There are a also few books about Lisbon. I own The Rough Guide to Portugal (also online) and it’s really good, so I can highly recommend it. There’s also A Hedonist’s Guide to Lisbon and Lonely Planet Portugal or if you’re into french, Guide du Routard Portugal.

Enjoy your visit to Lisbon!

Note: those of you who read this and think you can add something. Please do so in the comments below. Thank you.”


Read Full Post »

Vail Octoberfest

Get-away-weekend in vail. Hike, great food and wine, local activities

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

In 2003, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) launched its vision statement – the Blueprint for New Tourism. Outlining a multi-stakeholder vision, the Blueprint for New Tourism “looks beyond short-term considerations… and focuses on benefits not only for people who travel, but also for people in the communities they visit, and for their respective natural, social and cultural environments.” One way in which WTTC exemplifies that vision for New Tourism is with the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards.

Destination Stewardship Award

This award goes to a destination – country, region, state or town – which comprises a network of tourism enterprises and organizations which show dedication to and success in maintaining a programme of sustainable tourism management at the destination level, incorporating social, cultural, environmental and economic aspects as well as multi-stakeholder engagement.

Community Benefit Award

This award is for a tourism business or initiative that has effectively demonstrated direct benefits to local people, including capacity building, the transfer of industry skills, and support for community development.

Conservation Award

Open to any tourism business, organisation or attraction, including lodges, hotels or tour operators, able to demonstrate that their tourism development and operations have made a tangible contribution to the conservation of natural heritage.

Global Tourism Business Award

Open to any large company from any sector of Travel & Tourism – cruise lines, hotel groups, airlines, tour operators, etc – with at least 200 full-time employees and operating in more than one country or in more than one destination in a single country, this award recognises best practices in sustainable tourism at a large company level.

Read Full Post »

one of my favorite villages

Komiza, one of my favorite villages

Just back from an amazing 2 week cruise through central Dalmatia.

June/July is really not the best time for an active land vacation but for an active cruise it worked out fine.
5am walks through villages and vineyards followed but gellato or espresso…then back to the boat for a swim before lunch.

Afternoon Kayaking, swimming, visiting the small villages, touring Roman ruins and Romanesque churches.
Time for evening Pivo (beer!) before dinner. Late night stroll through the small cafes and bars on each island.

Incredible local food and wine, amazing people. Can’t wait to go back….in September!

Komiža, Isle of Vis, Croatia

Read Full Post »