Lisbon is the capital city of Portugal and boasts the largest population of the country. Along with a thriving and lively café culture and university scene, Lisbon has a wealth of history (dating back to the Phoenicians in 1200 B.C.), culture, art, business, and education. All of these make it a prime tourist destination and an ideal place to visit on university trips, where students can experience the sites that draw visitors from both within Portugal and abroad.
Oceanario de Lisboa
- When it was opened in 1998, the Oceanario de Lisboa was the centre point of the 20th century's World's Fair, which was aptly themed, 'The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future'. University trips to the oceanarium can highlight how the modern design of the building marries it to the theme of the future while creating a living space for a plethora of marine life. Visitors will see how the main tank was especially designed with glass walls as a centrepiece that is seen throughout the oceanarium, and gives the illusion of the open ocean.
There are four tanks around the central tank which house four different habitats, complete with their natural flora and fauna. 'The Oceanário de Lisboa is located in Parque das Nações, at the south end of Doca dos Olivais.'
Torre de Belém
While you are near the water, visiting the Oceanario de Lisboa, you should stay around and visit the Torre de Belém on the River Tagus at the entrance to Lisbon Harbour. The Torre de Belém, or Tower of Belem, was begun in 1514, and by 1522 it was completed as part of the defensive plan for the city. University trips can take students right inside the structure, which consists of several rooms. It has served a variety of functions over the years, as defence of the entry to the harbour has become less of a concern to Lisbon. There are five floors that rise above the bulwark and they include four main rooms: the Hall of Kings, the Chapel, the Courtroom and the Terrace Tower. In 1983, the Torre de Belém and the Monastery of the Hieronymite were given UNESCO World Heritage Status.
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga
- Located on the Rua das Janelas Verdes, Lisboa, those on university trips cannot miss the building itself - notable for its yellow exterior and green coloured windows. Founded in 1884, this is one of the best museums to gain a thorough understanding of ancient Portuguese culture and history. The museum occupies the former palace of the Count of Alvor (which dates back to the 17th century) and the convent of Santo Alberto. Inside, the museum houses paintings, metalworks, sculptures, drawings, furniture, jewellery, and textiles dating from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century.
Ponte 25 de Abril
While a bridge may not seem like the most likely of options for tourism, certain bridges and architects have cult followings.
University trips to Lisbon should include on their itinerary a visit to the red span of the Ponte 25 de Abril, crossing the River Tagus with six road lanes and two train tracks. The bridge itself can be seen from the castle walls and if it reminds you of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, it is because it was built by the same company (the American Bridge Company), and is the 21st longest suspension bridge in the world.
Robert Emdur works for Equity Student Travel, the UK's leading specialist in group travel for students in higher and further education. We organise university trips to destinations around the world covering a wide range of subjects, as well as conference & event-focused trips.