Legend has it that Lisbon was founded by Ulysses. The name comes from “Olissipo”, which has its origins in the Phoenician words “Allis Ubbo”, meaning “enchanting port”.
In all likelihood it was founded by the Phoenicians and was later ruled by the Moors, whose influence can be seen in the architectural styles of a period lasting 450 years. In the 12th century the Christians reconquered the city, but it was not until the mid-13th century that Lisbon became the country’s capital. With the beginning of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, Lisbon was enriched as a centre for trade in spices and jewellery.
The breakthrough for Portuguese expansion came in 1498 when Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. This was indeed the beginning of a golden age, characterised by the Manueline architectural style named after King Manuel I, with its decorative use of maritime motifs.
Over the centuries Lisbon grew and changed. When the city centre was almost completely destroyed by the earthquake of 1755, it was rebuilt by the Marquess of Pombal, who then created the Baixa Pombalina, a commercial area that still retains much of its original layout.
Over the past few years the city has prepared itself for the future. Lisbon held the enormously successful Expo ’98 world’s fair in 1998 and the European Football Championship in 2004. As a result, a city that was already vibrant and diverse rapidly acquired a more modern and avant-garde dimension.
As “The Observer” said, “Lisbon itself changed, phoenix-like, into a more modern and colourful city”. Lisbon is a historic capital, a potpourri of unusual character and charm, where 800 years of cultural influences mingle with modern trends and lifestyles, creating spectacular contrasts.




The euro is the currency in circulation. Major credit cards are accepted in most establishments. Banks are open from 8.30 am to 3.00 pm, Monday to Friday.  


Lisbon has an Atlantic climate. In May the average daytime temperature is usually around 20º C to 24º C (68º F to 75ºF), the nighttime temperature around  12º C to 15º C (53º F to 59ºF) and 14 hours of daylight.

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