Exploring Lisbon’s Expo Area

On our penultimate day in Lisbon we decided to do something different. A speedy hotel breakfast then we hopped on the metro and whizzed out to the Expo area of the city. Once derelict, this whole place was redeveloped completely for the 1998 Lisbon Expo. Son was already keen to visit the famed aquarium here, we figured we might as well leave aside a bit more time and explore the whole area properly. An easy metro ride there, we jumped out at Oriente ready to see the sights.

Not surprisingly the Expo area is completely different to the rest of Lisbon in just about every way. The station at Oriente was our first glimpse of this. Ultra-modern it is a railway station, metro and bus terminal with a curious glass and steel roof – apparently supposed to resemble a row of palm trees. You can connect to the whole of Portugal here, they say it handles more passengers than Grand Central in New York and claim it is so well designed people pass through with the minimum of fuss. I’ll go with that. It was busy but we found it an easy place to navigate and had no crowd issues.

I did fancy lingering at a lovely little market inside the station but Husband and Son steamed ahead and were not keen. I complied.

We crossed the road and passed through the Vasco da Gama shopping centre. Again this was all modern, all glass and had some interesting looking shops. The gents in the family were still not in the mood for shopping.

The Expo area is right on the waterfront at the eastern end of Lisbon. We did like our time here but I have to say my heart was definitely back in lovely old Lisbon. The architecture is striking and contemporary but really you could be anywhere. One good thing though, I read this area was formerly derelict and heavily polluted. They cleaned it all up and transformed it for the Expo with the result loads of people live here and it is almost like a city in itself.

We didn’t have a plan for exploring, we just wandered where the fancy took us and found plenty of things to look at and interesting pieces of artwork dotted here and there.

Son spotted the cable cars and was keen to pursue this option. We found a stop near the Oceanarium building, bought one-way tickets and jumped on straightway, no queue. It was fun and worth doing. The route ran the full length of the Expo site parallel to the river with some lovely views all the way.

We got out at the Vasco da Gama Tower and Bridge. The tower is so tall, shaped like a sail and houses a luxury hotel. The bridge was my favourite – once Europe’s longest bridge it spans more than 10 miles and looks incredible as it snakes off into the distance. It is not as charismatic or beautiful as the 25 April Bridge but we loved the way it stretches into the horizon.

We strolled back through some unusual gardens and saw no end of bars and restaurants along the way.

A visit to a pavilion where there was an exhibition all about the Expo and the building work that took place here was interesting.

Son larked about for a while and soon it was time for lunch.

23 thoughts on “Exploring Lisbon’s Expo Area

  1. We also really enjoy this district of Lisbon- so different from the rest of the city! Looks like you did a great job exploring it; even though we’ve been there several times, you still found things that we have never seen.

  2. That looks like a good spot for having a relaxing wander – no pressure to see and do particular things – but I’m with you in preferring places with more history and more specificity with their culture.

    • It was fun and our son enjoyed it especially but my heart was back in the old part of the city. It is so gorgeous I just wanted to spend as much time there wandering as possible.

  3. We enjoyed visiting here too but it was almost deserted outside probably because it was January. Like you I preferred the ‘old’ central districts but it was certainly worth a visit. Your post brought back some good memories!

    • It was warm and sunny during our visit but not very busy either (except in the aquarium which was unbearably packed). We enjoyed the cable car ride especially and I was glad I came here but the old part was my favourite.

  4. Very interesting Joy and good to show some of the more modern parts of town as some people do prefer that. I’m with you in that old towns win my heart every time but I still like exploring these modern areas and it’s great to see that they have regenerated what was a very run down part of town before by the sound of it!

    • We read about all the regeneration in a very interesting display they have here and they have done wonders it seems with this part of Lisbon. We did enjoy it Rosemary, especially the cable car ride but I have to say I loved the old part of Lisbon so much anywhere else would have found it hard to compete!

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