Parque das Nações – the Park of Nations – the former Expo 98 site, 5km to the east of the city, remains a huge attraction for Lisboetas who come here en masse at weekends – and it’s also a popular riverfront residential area. The main highlight is the Oceanário (oceanarium), though there are plenty of other attractions, from water gardens to a cable car, as well as a diverse array of bars, shops and restaurants, many overlooking Olivais docks and the astonishing 17-kilometre-long Vasco da Gama bridge.
Oriente metro exits in the Estação do Oriente, a stunning glass-and-concrete bus and train interchange designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. From the station, head through the Vasco da Gama shopping centre to the main Posto de Informação (parquedasnacoes.pt), which has details of current events. If you want to visit more than a couple of things, it may be worth buying a Cartão do Parque, which allows unlimited access to the main sights (including the oceanarium) and discounts at other attractions.
A road train trundles anticlockwise round the whole park, starting and finishing in front of the Pavilhão Atlântico. From here, you can also rent bikes, a good way to get round the flat, traffic-free lanes. It is not too taxing, however, to walk to the principal attractions, especially if you take advantage of the cable car.Read More
Oceanário de Lisboa
Oceanário de Lisboa
Designed by Peter Chermayeff and resembling a set from a James Bond film, the Oceanário de Lisboa is one of Europe’s best and largest oceanariums, containing around 8,000 fish and marine animals. Its main feature is the enormous central tank, the size of four Olympic-sized swimming pools, which you can look into from different levels to get close-up views of the sharks and rays. Perhaps even more impressive are the re-creations of various ocean ecosystems, such as the Antarctic tank containing frolicking penguins, and the Pacific tank, where otters bob about and play in the rock pools. These areas are separated from the main tank by invisible acrylic sheets, which give the impression that all the marine creatures are swimming together in the same space. On the darkened lower level, smaller tanks contain shoals of brightly coloured tropical fish and other warm-water creatures. Find a window free of the school parties and the whole experience becomes the closest you’ll get to deep-sea diving without getting wet.