• Photo: Peter Guttman/Peterguttman.com

Alcantara and Belem

The old port district of Alcântara got a face-lift in the 1990s, and since then it has been a nightlife hub, as well as a great place to relax by the river on warm days. The inauguration in 2008 of the Museu do Oriente was a regeneration landmark, and the colorful LX Factory has transformed a derelict industrial site into a creative hub of coworking spaces, café-bars, and boutiques, while the revamped docks are now home to smart bars and restaurants.

Farther west, some of Lisbon's grandest monuments and museums are in the district of Belém (the Portuguese word for Bethlehem). It was from here that the country's great explorers set out during the period of the discoveries. The wealth brought back from the New World helped pay for many of the neighborhood's structures, some of which are the best examples of the uniquely Portuguese late-Gothic architecture known as Manueline. The area’s historical attractions are complemented by the modern and contemporary art and performances showcased in Lisbon’s largest cultural center.

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