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Things to Do in Lisbon - page 5

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National Museum of Contemporary Art (Chiado Museum)

Centrally located in Lisbon’s bustling Chiado district, the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea do Chiado, or MNAC) houses one of Portugal’s largest collections of modern art. Also known as the Chiado Museum, the gallery is housed in the historic Convent of São Francisco.

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Vasco da Gama Aquarium (Aquário Vasco da Gama)

Inaugurated in 1898, the Vasco da Gama Aquarium is one of Lisbon’s oldest science institutes. Don Carlos I, a Portuguese diplomat, naturalist and a pioneer in oceanography founded the aquarium and named it in honor of famed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama. However, the aquarium was dedicated to displaying Carlos I’s findings from a dozen marine exploration missions he led off the Portuguese coast around the turn of the 20th century.

Today, the aquarium is divided into two parts: the live exhibit and the museum. The museum is still home to artifacts and samples he collected on his groundbreaking journeys exploring Portugal’s rich marine life. The museum section features Carlos I’s old charts, notes, laboratory equipment and preserved invertebrates, sharks, fish, and sea shells. The live animal exhibits focus on marine life of the cool waters of the North Atlantic Portuguese coast, but also has creatures from tropical waters. Visitors can experience life under the sea with exhibits featuring seals, otters, sea turtles, amphibians, octopi and tropical fish.

This small aquarium and oceanography museum is off Lisbon’s traditional tourist trail and is particularly fun for kids and those interested in the early days of marine research. Don’t miss the massive coy pond outside the aquarium — for a small fee,

visitors can get fish food and feed the brightly colored coy.

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Carlos Lopes Pavilion (Pavilhao Carlos Lopes)
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Carlos Lopes Pavilion is among the standout features in Lisbon’s well-manicured Parque Eduardo VII. Built in 1922, the pavilion was transported to and from Brazil for the Independence Centenary International Exposition held in Rio de Janeiro. It has served many functions over the years, though today it’s primarily a conference venue.

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Estoril

Located just 9 miles (15 kilometers) from the bustling center of Lisbon, Estoril is a relaxing beach resort that offers visitors a sophisticated restaurant scene and luxurious accommodation options. The town’s most famous attraction is undoubtedly Casino Estoril, which is said to have inspired Ian Fleming to write the James Bond novelCasino Royale.

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Lisbon Cruise Port

Situated on the River Tagus (Rio Tejo) in the center of Lisbon’s downtown, Lisbon Cruise Port is conveniently located for cruise passengers wanting to explore this charming city’s many attractions. However, it also serves as a jumping-off point for venturing farther afield into the surrounding countryside and beyond.

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