Parque das Nações is the area of Lisbon commonly referred to as ‘the Expo’. The area has a modern almost futuristic design and is located in the east of Lisbon around 20-mins to half an hour from the historical city centre. Much of the area was rundown and derelict until it was renovated when Lisbon successfully hosted the World Exposition in 1998 (hence the name Expo). The World Exposition 98 was a particularly special one as it was the 100th exposition and at the same time coincided with the 500th anniversary of Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India. The Portuguese put on a spectacular event from May to September that year. Many architecturally stunning buildings, stations and installations where built in the Parque Naçoes area. The longest bridge in the world (at the time) was also built and named after Vasco da Gamma and is visible from most parts of the Expo area. The Expo area was designed to be in use long after the World Exposition had moved on and true to its planning the Expo area is still a great place to visit and stay while in Lisbon. Check out the map of the Expo area for more detail on its location.
The Oceanarium- The oceanarium in Lisbon is one of the largest in the world and was designed by the American architect Peter Chermeyeff. It is designed to appear as if it is rising out of the water and is accessed via a foot bridge. The Oceanarium houses an enormous central tank that is around the size of 4 Olympic swimming pools. It was the first oceanarium in the world to incorporate different ocean habitats within one single environment. The different habitats are in fact separated by invisible acryllic walls which gives the impression they are all in the same tank.
The Cable Car- Another of the installations of the Expo 98 that still provides a great attraction today is the telecabine (as they are known) that stretches across the Parque Naçoes riverfront. From the cable cars you get an amazing view over the river, the Expo area, the gardens and the Vasco da Gamma bridge. At many points on the journey you are suspended over the river itself. The journey stretches for more than 1000 metres. The cable car really is a great relaxing trip and to view the stunning modern, futuristic architecture from a completly different angle.
Gardens & Riverfront promenade- One of the great left overs from the Expo 98 is the fabulous gardens and long riverfront promenade. All along the riverfront for quite a considerable distance is the beautifully kept promenade and landscaped gardens. Many of the gardens are themed such as the water garden, the Brazil garden, the Africa garden. many of the gardens house unique species of plant and they are all certainly relaxing and beautiful to look at. The riverside promenade has great views over the river and the spectacularly long bridge. On your stroll you will come across many different pieces of urban art all different shapes, sizes and designs. Among the most striking are the 4 metre high water fountain volcanoes, there are 6 in total. You can walk or cycle from the Parque das Naçoes all the way to the Vasco da Gama Bridge . Here at the riverfront you will also find many restaurants cafe’s and bars that are open all day and into the night. Many of the restaurants and bars have outdoor seating areas with great views over the river.
The Gare do Oriente – Another striking feature of the Expo are is the stunning railway station the Gare do Oriente designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The railway station is stunning by day and even more so at night with lots of atmospheric lighting and angles. Just opposite the station is the Vasco da Gama shopping centre thought to be one of the best in Lisbon. Here you will also find stunning architecture with a striking glass ceiling. In the same area you will also find other stunning architectural achievements such as the the Atlantic Pavilion, The towers of São Rafael and Gabriel and the Vasco da Gama tower with the round panoramic top floor restaurant.
The Expo area is full of attractions there is a theatre, conference centre, the Pavilion that frequently hosts concerts, and the Lisbon Casino. The Expo are is a thoroughly modern area with modern architecture and art everywhere you look. The riverfront is a great place to take a walk and enjoy the views over the river and enjoy the peaceful landscaped gardens. In the Expo area you will find all necessary amenities with its many shops, restaurants and bars. If you would like to stay in the Expo area check out our Expo apartments. The great thing about most of the Expo apartments is the free parking space!
Transport To & From Expo/ Parque das Nações- The Parque das Naçoes is easily accessable from the city centre and in fact is very close to the airport. The Metro station Oriente will take you right into the heart of the city centre and its complete contrast old-town. There are also several buses that will take you to many destinations city centre, airport or other train stations. One of the Lisbon tour buses comes right out to the Parques Nações and you can get off here and enjoy a few hours before catching the bus back into the centre again. The Oriente train station has several train links for those wishing to travel further afield.
Parking- Many of the attractions at the Parque das Naçoes have their own car parks its one of the many benefits of modern town planning. Many of the apartments in the area also have a parking space included. There are a few parking stations in the Expo area such as,