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Parque das Nações Lisbon Guide
Parque das Nações (Park of Nations) was originally the site of Expo 98 and since has been transformed into the striking ultra modern side of traditional Lisbon. The park borders the River Tagus estuary and is a popular tourist area due to the range of different activities and sights.
Contained within the park is an Oceanarium, a cable car, a vast shopping centre, a discover museum, Lisbon’s casino and a host of other attractions with a water theme. At night there is a strip of restaurants, bars and nightclubs and is regarded as one of Lisbon’s best areas for a night out. This guide will provide an overview of the sights of Parque das Nações and a brief description of the park.
Sights of the Parque das Nações Lisbon
Lisbon Oceanarium Expo Park
The Oceanarium of the Parque das Nações is one of the best aquariums in Europe having four massive tanks that represent the four Oceanic climates of the world. There is a vast section of wildlife in the centre with each of the tanks able to viewed from above or below or the side.
The ultra modern Lisbon Oceanarium
The Oceanarium is one of the best family orientated attractions of Lisbon and should not be missed, for a guide to the Oceanarium please click here.
Parque das Nações Cable Car
The Parque das Nações follows the eastern edge of the Tejo estuary and running the length of the park is a cable car.
The cable car in the Parque das Nações
The 8 minute ride travels from the Vasco da Gama tower at the northern edge to the Oceanarium at the southern edge. A single ride costs 3.95 and a return is €5.90. From the gondolas there great views over the park, the estuary and the Vasco Da Gama bridge.
Vasco Da Gama Shopping Centre
The natural flow of the Parque das Nações leads visitors from the metro station into the Vasco Da Gama Shopping Centre. This centre was designed to reflect that of an ocean-liner with the constant running water over the glass roof and intermittent fog horn call.
The Vasco da Gama shopping centre
On the top floor is a cinema, which shows new releases in English with Portuguese subtitles and in the food court is a section of good value fast food restaurants. Standing above the shopping centre are two apartment blocks which represent two of Vasco da Gama’s ships used of his epic voyage to India, the Sao Gabriel and the Sao Rafael.
Other sights of the Parque das Nações
The largest of these exhibit halls renamed the Pavihao Atlantico (Atlantic Pavilion) is Lisbon's main multi-purpose indoor arena where touring concerts perform. Lisbon’s tallest building, at 145 m, the Torre Vasco da Gama marks the northern edge of the park. The Vasco da Gama tower once had a panoramic viewing restaurant but has undergone an extensive re-construction to build an exclusive hotel and accommodation.
The Casino Lisboa
The Pavilion of Knowledge is an interactive science/technology museum which contains many exhibits for children. The massive Vasco Gama bridge which extends for 15km across the estuary was constructed at the same time as the Expo Park and is Europe's longest bridge across water.
Travel to Parque das Nações Lisbon
The Parque das Nações Lisbon is easy to reach from any location in Lisbon as it is served by the Gare do Oriente station. The Gare do Oriente contains metro (redline), bus and major train station spread over three levels of the ultra modern steel and glass structure. The metro is the easiest method of travel from the historic and tourist district of Baixa. For late night revellers there are always lots of taxis waiting to pick up passengers.
The train station at Gare do Oriente
History of the Parque das Nações and Expo Park
Parque das Nações which is still referred to as Expo Park or just Expo by Lisbon residents was the site of the World Fair of 1998. Expo 98 was planned to coincide with Portugal’s celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama's arrival in India, in 1498, and this presented the organisers a flexible and varied theme based around the world’s oceans, with a title of The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future.
Expo Park Lisbon
Expo 98 was regarded as a great success for Portugal which promoted the new industrial might of the small country and is even considered to have helped Portugal join the Euro single currency. After the ticket offices closed on Expo 98 many feared that the area would become an expensive disused area as with prior Expo events. The good management and foresight of the organisers has ensured the transformation into a trend setting area of the capital and a popular tourist destination.