The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Parque das Nações, Lisbon

Parque das Nações by night
Parque das Nações by night | © ricardoadelaide / Pixabay
Nina Santos

Known in English as the Park of Nations, Lisbon’s Parque das Nações was designed to accommodate the World Exposition of 1998 and is now the home for many corporate buildings. It also became one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. Strikingly modern, it contrasts with the otherwise historical and old-world appearance that Lisbon has become associated with, and it attracts locals and tourists with many activities that will fill both days and nights. Here are just a few things that you can enjoy in the Parque das Nações.

1. Visit Europe's largest indoor aquarium

Aquarium, Building

There’s no doubt that the Oceanário de Lisboa, or Lisbon Oceanarium, is one of the main attractions, catching the attention of everyone from families to couples and tourists wanting to visit Europe’s largest indoor aquarium. The main tanks, filled with approximately five million liters of seawater, let visitors get up close and personal to 100 species of fish, including sharks, eels, and a sunfish (who possibly steals the show). The other exhibitions include penguins, otters, amphibians, plants, and more, adding up to more than 400 living species.

Stretch your legs

A favorite pastime for Lisboetas is walking or jogging down the boardwalk along the river, and it provides one of the best running routes in the city. The entire length lasts just over four miles (6.4 kilometers), so grab your sneakers and head out for a day in the sun.

2. Attend a concert

Parque das Nações is home to the MEO Arena where many of the city’s biggest concerts and celebrations take place. One of the most popular events is the annual Super Bock Super Rock music festival, which occurs every summer.

MEO Arena, Rossio dos Olivais, 1990-231 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 891 8409

Attend a concert | © SplitShire / Pixabay

3. Plan an outing at the Lisbon Casino


Casino Lisboa
© Boris Dzhingarov/Flickr
Try to win big, or just head out for a unique night on the town, at Lisbon Casino. Open since 2006, it isn’t just a place for gamblers but also offers restaurants, bars, and a variety of shows from within the arena and auditorium. The casino even holds regular art exhibits.

Marvel at the architecture

Lisbon is chock-full of unique architecture, and that doesn’t stop at the Parque das Nações. Only, in place of centuries-old palace estates and traditional homes, this neighborhood showcases contemporary buildings inspired by the area’s maritime history, and some of the city’s most beautiful buildings are found there. A few examples include the tallest building in the city, called the Torre Vasco da Gama, or Vasco da Gama Tower, the twin luxury apartment buildings named after historic ships, the gravity-defying Pavilhão de Portugal, and the beautiful Oriente Train/Bus Station.

Torre Vasco da Gama, 1990-173 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 110 7600

Pavilhão de Portugal: Located just south of the twin luxury apartments

Walk by the beautiful twin apartments and the Pavilhão de Portugal along the waterfront

Snap a photo of Europe’s longest bridge

The Vasco da Gama Bridge is yet another impressive architectural masterpiece. Classified as the longest bridge in Europe, it extends 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) and connects Lisbon to the Setúbal district across the Tagus River estuary, heading towards the Alentejo.

Enjoy the view from a cable car

The cable car, or gondola lift, offers a bird’s-eye view over Parque das Nações while gliding over the boardwalk from near the Vasco da Gama Tower to the Oceanarium. Each car fits approximately eight people. The entire round trip costs just under 6€, and it is open all year long.

North Station, Lisbon, Portugal

South Station, Lisbon, Portugal

4. Visit the Pavilhão do Conhecimento


In addition to the Oceanarium, families and tourists can head to the Science Museum within the Pavilhão do Conhecimento, or Pavilion of Knowledge. This interactive, life-science museum is open every day except Monday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day, and entrance costs 9€ for adults and 6€ for children (unless they are under three years old, at which they can enter for free).

Pavilhão do Conhecimento, Largo José Mariano Gago, 1990-223 Lisboa, Portugal, +351 21 891 7100

Visit the Science Museum | © Filipe Rocha / WikiCommons

Enjoy lunch or dinner with a view of the river

Why not head to this side of the city to enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants along the boardwalk? From pizza to Asian cuisine and a variety of Portuguese restaurants (some reflecting Azorean influences), there are many options to choose from, and most restaurants offer terrace seating as well so that diners can enjoy the lovely view. Below are just a few popular options from which to choose.

Irish & Co Pub, 61, Rua Pimenta 57, 1900-280, Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 894 0558
Capriccioso Pizzeria, Passeio das Tágides 2.26.01, Parque das Nações, 1990-280 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 892 2595
Arigato Sushi, Alameda dos Oceanos, Ed. Lisboa lote 2.11.01 Letras E/F, Parque das Nações, 1990-223 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 896 7132

Restaurante D’bacalhau, R. Pimenta 43, 1990-254 Lisbon, Portugal, +351 21 894 1296

5. Jardim Garcia de Orta


This charming park is a lovely place to go for a walk while enjoying the botanical gardens reflecting exotic flora from Goa, Brazil, Macau, the Azores, Madeira, Cape Verde, and São Tomé. It is easy to find along the water, between the Vasco da Gama Tower and MEO Arena.

Garden location along the waterfront, Lisbon, Portugal

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