Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal. It is situated in southwestern Europe, at the mouth of the Tagus River and it has an estimated population of 505,526 and an urban area population of 2.8 million, making it the 10th most populous urban area in the EU.
Lisbon stands out because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism.
It is one of the major economic centres on the continent, with a growing financial sector and one of the largest container ports on Europe's Atlantic coast.
The city occupies the 40th place of highest gross earnings in the world and most of the headquarters of multinational corporations in Portugal are located in the Lisbon area.
Data and Facts
Lisbon is the second oldest city in Europe, after Athens and one of the oldest cities in the world.
Lisbon has a Mediterranean climate which implies mild rainy winters and warm – hot dry summers. The city is sunny throughout the year, with an annual average of 2900 – 3300 hours of sunshine, which make the city an ideal tourist spot.
Lisbon is known to be built on seven hills: Catelo, Graca, Monte, Penha de Franca, S. Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Catarina and Estrela.
The Tagus is the largest river and its estuary at Lisbon, up to 14 km wide, is said to be large enough to contain all the warships in the world.
The raven is a symbol of Lisbon. Historically there was a large cage with ravens in the Sao Jorge Castle but nowadays the birds have disappeared and you can only find the in the coat of arms of the municipality.
Lisbon has its own Cristo Rei, a Catholic monument overlooking the city, standing on the southern bank of the river. This statue commemorates Portugal's survival of WWII and it was inspired by Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
Lisbon has two sites listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site: Belem Tower and Jerónimos Monastery.
The administrative division in Portugal is a highly centralized system. It is divided into 18 districts and 2 autonomous regions. This Government structure is based on the 1976 Constitution and it identifies 3 tiers of government: Civil parishes, municipalities and administrative regions. Lisbon, as the capital city of Portugal, is considered the main district and the political centre of the country as it is the residence of the head of state.
This district is composed of 16 municipalities and 226 parishes. Currently, the mayor of Lisbon is Fernando Medina, who was elected in April 2015.
Lisbon is considered the financial and commercial centre of the country. Its economy is centred mostly across the city and concentrates almost 45% of the Portuguese GDP. This wealthy territory is heavily industrialized, including textile, footwear, leather, furniture, ceramics, cork, oil refineries, petrochemicals, shipping industry, electrical, machinery and paper industries.
Traditionally, its economy was based on the fishing industry but since the 1990s, the tertiary sector has become the dominant economic activity in the city. Other traditional industries such as cork and textiles have been able to maintain their competitiveness through technological innovation.
The port of Lisbon is one of the busiest in the world due to its strategic location on the coast between Europe, Africa and the Atlantic.
Also, due to the heavily populated surroundings of the city, Lisbon is also a developing and important financial and technological hub. Many multinational companies are headquartered in Lisbon, which increases the trade across the region.
Tourism is another significant industry as the city receives an average of 4.5 million tourists per year. In 2019, Portugal was placed the second safest country for tourists according to acclaimed travel specialist BookMundi.
Portugal was placed among the top 50 exporting nations in global trade during 2017, shipping $62.2 billion worth of goods according to the International Trade Centre. Portugal’s highest-value exports are processed petroleum oils, automotive parts and accessories, cars, footwear, paper, new rubber tires, T-shirts, medicines and wine.
In 2019 the Lisbon tech ecosystem started to bloom and has now become a new hotspot for startups in Europe. Many entrepreneurs are eyeing the city as a low cost, potentially high-growth hub of the future, with an enviable beachside lifestyle.
For decades, substandard infrastructures hampered Portugal's economic development but entry in the EU changed that. With the help of the union, Portugal has invested heavily in its rail and road network and the investments have paid off and their infrastructures are currently good and getting better all the time.
The first Highway opened in Lisbon in 1944, connecting the city with the National Stadium. It was one of the first motorways in the world but it wasn't until 1980s when a significant expansion began. There are three circular motorways around the city; the 2ª Circular, the IC17 (CRIL), and the A9 (CREL)
The city is connected to the far side of the Tagus by two important bridges:
The 25 de Abril Bridge, inaugurated on 6 August 1966, with its 2277 metres, is the 40th largest suspension bridge in the world.
The Vasco da Gama Bridge, inaugurated in May 1998 is the second longest bridge in Europe with a total length of 12.3 km.
The lisbon metro is Portugal's oldest and largest subway system. It connects the city centre with the upper and easter districts. It comprises 4 lines and 56 stations, being a total length of 44.2 km.
One of the most popular attractions in Lisbon is the tram. They were originally called “Americanos” and the first route was constructed in 1873. The distinctive yellow trams are one of the most iconic symbols of the city and hundreds of tourists use them every year to take a ride around the city.
There are 4 commuter train lines departing from Lisbon. The major railway stations are Santa Apolonia, Rossio, Entrecampos, Cais do Sodre and Gare do Oriente, being this last one designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava.
The local bus service in Lisbon is operated by the company Carris. There are also other commuter services from the city connecting with the main cities of the country.
The Lisbon airport, named Humberto Delgado Airport is located within the city limits and it is the main international gateway to Portugal. It's the 20th largest airport in Europe with a volume of more than 30 million passengers in 2019.
We can also find a regional airport, the Cascais Aerodrome, within 20 km from the city Centre. It offers commercial domestic flights.
Lisbon is the proud home of Web Summit, an annual technology conference that is considered the largest tech event in the world. The topics of these conferences normally centre on internet and emergent technologies and the speakers always include a mix of experts representing all levels and sectors of the global high technology industry. These conferences are expected to generate $3.5 billion in revenue for the country in the next decade, attracting 80.000 tech professionals to the city. This is an opportunity for home-grown startups to pitch international venture firms and it is contributing to put Lisbon on the European Tech map.
The education system is also fueling this scene with young highly qualified talent. Universities in Portugal have a particularly strong focus on high tech skills and it's producing a really high number of engineers per capita.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Education in Portugal is free and compulsory until the age of 18. There is a system of public education and also many private schools at all levels.
In Lisbon there are numerous international schools along 3 public universities: the University of Lisbon, founded in 2013, the Technical University of Lisbon and the Classical University of Lisbon, founded in 1973. Additionally the is a university institute that provide degrees in all academic disciplines.
Lisbon is considered one of the safest cities in the world, enjoying a low crime rate.
Portugal has universal health coverage through its publicly financed National Health Service (called the Serviço Nacional de Saúde, SNS). Basic national health coverage is administered through local and regional health centers and through hospitals and includes all types of care.
The available healthcare for foreigners in Portugal has greatly improved over the past ten years or so. The Euro Health Consumer Index ranked Portuguese healthcare as the 13th best in Europe in 2018
Lisbon has the largest and most developed mass media sector of Portugal, and is home to several related companies ranging from leading television networks and radio stations to major newspapers.
Portugal music culture is very rich but the most common known genre that has come to represent the country is the Fado. This genre is known as the Portuguese blues, a plaintive, crying son with an exotic middle eastern feel that gives it a special appeal.
In 2018 Lisbon hosted the Eurovision song contest after Salvador Sobral won the 2017 edition.
Lisbon’s oceanarium is one of Europe's largest aquariums, with 16 000 animals and 450 species.
Lisbon is home to numerous prominent museums and art collections, from all around the world. The National Museum of Ancient Art, which has one of the largest art collections in the world, and the National Coach Museum, which has the world's largest collection of royal coaches and carriages, are the two most visited museums in the city.
Other notable national museums include the National Museum of Archaeology, the Museum of Lisbon, the National Azulejo Museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, and the National Museum of Natural History & Science.
The most popular sport in Portugal is football. There are 214 clubs registered in the Association of Lisbon.
The city host 3 clubs in the Portuguese premier league: Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Sporting clube de Portugal and C.F.Os Belenenses.
Other sports, such as basketball, roller hockey, rugby and volleyball are also popular.