Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with a population of 552,700 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km². Its urban area extends beyond the city’s administrative limits with a population of around 2.7 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 2.8 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (which represents approximately 27% of the country’s population). It is continental Europe’s westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost areas of its metro area is the westernmost point of Continental Europe.
Lisbon is recognized as a global city because of its importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts, international trade, education and tourism. It is one of the major economic centers on the continent, with a growing financial sector and one of the largest container ports on Europe’s Atlantic coast.
The Lisbon Metro is its main artery, connecting the city centre with the upper and eastern districts and now reaching the suburbs. Several expansion projects have been proposed. Bus, funicular and tram services have been supplied by Carris for over a century in the city and some places in Suburbs.
A traditional form of public transport in Lisbon is the tram. Introduced in the 19th century, the trams were originally imported from the USA, and called the americanos. The earliest trams can still be seen in the Museu da Carris (the Public Transport Museum). Other than on the modern Line 15, the Lisbon tramway system still employs small (four wheel) vehicles of a design dating from the early twentieth century. These distinctive yellow trams are one of the tourist icons of modern Lisbon, and their size is well suited to the steep hills and narrow streets of the central city.
There are four commuter train lines departing from Lisbon: the Cascais, Sintra and Azambuja lines (operated by CP – Comboios de Portugal), as well as a fourth line to Setúbal (operated by Fertagus) crossing the Tagus river, over the 25 de Abril Bridge. The major railway stations are Santa Apolónia, Rossio, Gare do Oriente, Entrecampos, and Cais do Sodré.
There are other commuter bus services from the city (connecting cities outside Lisbon, and connecting these cities to Lisbon): Vimeca, Rodoviária de Lisboa, Transportes Sul do Tejo, Boa Viagem, Barraqueiro are the main ones, operating from different terminals in the city.Lisbon is connected to its suburbs as well as throughout Portugal by an extensive motorway network. There are three circular motorways around the city; the 2ª Circular, the IC17 (CRIL), and the A9 (CREL).
Bridges and ferries
The city is connected to the far side of the Tagus by two important bridges:
- The 25 de Abril Bridge (pictured)
inaugurated (as Ponte Salazar) on 6 August 1966, and later renamed after the date of the Carnation Revolution, was the longest suspension bridge in Europe.
- The Vasco da Gama Bridge, inaugurated in May 1998 is, at 17.2 km (10.7 mi), the longest bridge in Europe.
Another way of crossing the river is by taking the ferry. The company is Transtejo & Soflusa, which operates from different points in the city to Cacilhas, Seixal, ontijo, Porto Brandão and Trafaria under the brand Transtejo and to Barreiro under the brand Soflusa.
Humberto Delgado Airport is located within the city limits. It is the headquarters and hub for TAP Portugal as well as a hub for Easyjet, Azores Airlines, Ryanair, EuroAtlantic Airways, White Airways, and Hi Fly. A second airport has been proposed, but the project has been put on hold because of the Portuguese and European economic crisis, and also because of the long discussion on whether a new airport is needed. However, the last proposal is military air base in Montijo that would be replaced by a civil airport. So, Lisbon would have two airports, the current airport in north and a new in the south of the city.
Cascais Aerodrome, 20 km West of the city centre, in Cascais, offers commercial domestic flights.
Lisbon is one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest in Western Europe, predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by centuries. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia, adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural center of Portugal. Unlike most capital cities, Lisbon’s status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted or confirmed officially – by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.
Lisbon enjoys a Mediterranean climate. It has one of the warmest winters of any metropolis in Europe, with average temperatures 15 °C (59 °F) during the day and 8 °C (46 °F) at night from December to February. The typical summer season lasts about four months, from June to September, although also in April temperatures sometimes reach around 25 °C (77.0 °F).