Lisbon

One of the most handsome European cities
The Moorish Castelo de São Jorge
The impressive Belém Tower

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Lisbon/Cascais

On the notes of fado music

Strung out over a series of hills facing the glistening waters of the broad estuary of the Tejo, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most handsome cities. Although its modern suburbs are ungainly, the historic centre is relatively compact and easy to explore in just a day when your MSC cruise takes you to the Lisbon.

The oldest part of the city, the warren of streets that make up the Alfama, sits below the spectacularly sited Moorish Castelo de São Jorge, its ruined walls facing another hill, the Bairro Alto or upper town, famed for its bars, restaurants and vibrant nightlife. The valley between these hills makes up the Baixa., or lower town.

The tall, imposing buildings that make up the Baixa (Lower Town) house some of Lisbon’s most interesting shops and cafés. A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the opportunity to reach via a narrow walkway the impressive Torre de Belém (Tower of Belém), an iconic symbol of Lisbon. It typifies M anueline style that was prominent during the reign of King Manuel, its windows and stairways embellished with arches and decorative symbols representing Portugal’s explorations into the New World.

Built as a fortress to defend the mouth of the River Tejo, it took years to complete, though when it opened in 1520 it would have been near the centre of the river – the earthquake of 1755 shifted the river’s course. Today, visitors are free to explore the tower’s various levels, which include a terrace facing the river from where artillery would hav ed been fired.
You can then climb a very steep spiral staircase up four lev el – framed view of the river – to a top terrace where you get a blowy panorama of Belém.

Must see places in Lisbon

  • Belem Tower

    Belem Tower

  • Sintra, view of Pena National Palace

    Sintra, view of Pena National Palace

  • Vasco da Gama Bridge

    Vasco da Gama Bridge

Discover our excursions

10 results found

  • CITY TOUR 4 hours

    CITY TOUR

    LIS01

    Leave the port and drive to the Belém district where we will admire two masterpieces built in the decorative Portuguese style known as Manueline. These are Jeronimo’s Church and Belém Tower, both built in the beginning of the XVI century, just after Vasco da Gama’s exploratory voyage to India. We will visit the monastery church that holds the tomb of Vasco da Gama and have time to explore the cloisters. The excursion continues with a scenic tour through Lisbon’s “new” city centre built after the devastating earthquake of 1755 : we will pass the Parliament and Prime Minister’s House, the Marquis of “Pombal” Square, “Liberdade” Avenue and “Rossio” Square – the heart of Lisbon’s downtown. Free time before returning to the ship. Please note: on Monday calls, a visit to Ajuda Palace will replace the visit to the Monastery. Only cameras without flash allowed inside Jeronimo’s Monastery. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. Although this tour includes periods of walking, wheelchair guests can take part, provided a helper to get on/off the coach accompany them. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available either on the first or on the second day.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4 h

    • LISBON BY TRAM 4 hours

      CITY TOUR

      LIS15

      This tour offers a great opportunity to explore Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city, from a unique perspective: on board one of its wonderful, old-fashioned trams, which are not only used by scores of commuters on a daily basis, but have also become a real tourist attraction. After leaving your ship, a short coach ride will first take you from the pier to Estrela Square, from where you will catch your tram. Once on board, you will be served a local speciality known as “pastel de nata” (a succulent little custard tart) along with a glass of “porto” wine to further sweeten your ride up to the hills of Lisbon, passing the elegant Baixa district on your way to the quaint Portas do Sol area. A gentle walking tour then follows through the famous Alfama district for a glimpse of old Lisbon, including Rossio Square and the 12th-/13th-century Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Mary Major, a building originally constructed in late Romanesque style, but later added to in a variety of other architectural styles. After visiting the Cathedral, you will have some free time to do as you please before boarding a coach for a drive-by tour of Lisbon’s main sights. Look forward to an exterior viewing of Jerónimo’s Monastery, a 15th-century building, as well as the early 16th-century Belém Tower on the banks of the River Tagus, both of which are fine examples of Manueline architectural style (also called late Portuguese Gothic) and both of which were declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your tour comes to a close with your return to the port and your ship. Please note: the tour is mainly by walking on uneven and sometimes uphill streets; it is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or in a wheelchair. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available on the second day.
      • Snack included

      • Limited seats

      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        4 h

    • SINTRA & CASCAIS

      CITY TOUR

      LIS05

      Sintra is famous for its mountain range, its temperate climate and country palaces and cottages. Drive to this lovely UNESCO World Heritage Site village to visit the historic National Royal Palace that houses the oldest collection glazed tiles in Portugal and features fine examples of the large conical medieval chimneys. Our next stop will be Cascais, a fishing village and favourite summer retreat of the royal family. Free time to explore the village before returning to Lisbon where a short panoramic coach tour passing Belém area is included on your way to the port. Please note: only cameras without flash allowed inside Sintra Palace. This tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair, as there are approx. 100 steps inside Sintra Palace. ;;;;;;
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          5 h

      • FATIMA approx. 5 hours

        CULTURE AND HISTORY

        LIS06

        Those interested in theology and religious mysteries can look forward to a special day out in Fatima. We will leave the port of Lisbon for a 1.5-hour coach drive to cross the Portuguese plains and reach this important religious destination. Millions of pilgrims have visited this site annually since 1917 when three shepherds saw a vision of the Virgin Mary here. Visit the Shrine and the chapel where the Holy Virgin appeared before enjoying some free time in Fatima to stroll around or to shop for souvenirs. Please note: this tour is available only during half day calls. Guides will give explanations from outside the site; guests will proceed to inside visits individually. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
        • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          5 h

      • FATIMA approx. 7 hours, lunch included

        CULTURE AND HISTORY

        LIS02

        Those interested in theology and religious mysteries can look forward to a special day out in Fatima. We will leave the port of Lisbon for a 1.5-hour drive coach crossing the Portuguese plains to reach this important religious destination. Millions of pilgrims have visited this site annually since 1917 when three shepherds saw a vision of the Virgin Mary here. Visit the Shrine and the chapel where the Holy Virgin appeared before enjoying some free time in Fatima to stroll around or to shop for souvenirs. Lunch included. Please note: guides will give explanations from outside the site; guests will proceed to inside visits individually. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available on the first day.
        • Lunch or dinner included

        • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          7 h

      • QUELUZ, SINTRA AND LISBON approx. 7 hours, lunch included

        CULTURE AND HISTORY

        LIS03

        Leave the ship, board a coach and enjoy a short sightseeing tour of Lisbon before driving inland to reach the Portuguese town of Queluz. You will then visit the royal residence of Queluz, a magnificent palace with elegant rooms and beautiful gardens that is also known as the Portuguese “Versailles”. Continuing on to nearby Sintra, you will have time to explore this lovely UNESCO World Heritage Site at your own pace. Sintra houses the National Palace, the former residence of the royal family and the best-preserved medieval royal palace in Portugal. Before returning to Lisbon you will have a short photo opportunity in the fishing village of Cascais. Finally, the coach will return to Lisbon for a visit of the Jerónimos Church. Before returning to the vessel your coach will drive by Belém Tower, Lisbon’s main landmark. Lunch included. Please note: on Monday calls, Jeronimo’s Monastery will be visited only from outside. Only cameras without flash allowed inside Jeronimo’s Monastery. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available on the first day.
        • Lunch or dinner included

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          7 h

      • THE MAIN SIGHTS OF LISBON & PASTRY TASTING 4.5 hours

        SCENIC ROUTE

        LIS08

        Excursion to Lisbon on a tour around the oldest part of the city, the atmospheric Alfama district. Meander through its labyrinth of narrow alleys, honeycombed with steps and archways, and admire the houses with their painted façades, decorated with panels of tiles and embellished with wrought iron balconies. We will visit the Cathedral of Lisbon noted for its interior that takes the form of a Latin cross, with three naves. Our walk continues downtown to the “Baixa” quarter that was completely rebuilt after the earthquake of 1755. You will have free time in “Rossio” square before proceeding to Belém Tower for pictures followed by a short visit to the legendary “Confeitaria de Belém” bakery where you will enjoy the typical custard cream cake, “pasties de Belém”. Our tour will also include a visit to one of the two masterpieces built in the decorative Portuguese style known as Manueline: the Jeronimo’s Church, built in the beginning of the XVI century, just after Vasco da Gama’s exploratory voyage to India. We will visit the monastery church that holds the tomb of Vasco da Gama before returning to the port. Please note: the tour is mainly by walking on uneven and sometimes uphill streets; tour not is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties. Only cameras without flash allowed inside Jeronimo’s Monastery and Cathedral. Conservative attire recommended for visiting places of religious importance. This tour is not available on Saturday and Sunday calls. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available on the first day.
        • Snack included

        • Limited seats

        • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

          Difficulty Level
          Strenuous

        • Duration
          4:30 h

      • ARRABIDA WINERY TOUR 5 hours

        SOMETHING SPECIAL

        LIS07

        Depart from the pier and, passing over 25th April Bridge, sister bridge of the Golden Gate, you will drive to the base of the Statue of “Christ the King”, from where magnificent views of Lisbon can be seen. Our excursion continues in the town of Azeitao, renowned for its famous pastries and for the “Moscatel de Setubal” wine. We will visit a local wine lodge for wine tasting session and to learn more about how this sweet aperitif wine is produced. Next, we will proceed towards the “Parque Natural da Arrabida” – National Park – that was established to protect the wild, beautiful landscape and rich variety of birds and wildlife found here. The road winds across the mountain ridge and offers stunning views of Setúbal and Tróia. Return to Lisbon to enjoy a sightseeing tour and then reach “Rossio” where we will stop for a little time at leisure. Return to the port. Please note: this tour includes long transfers by coach. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available on the first day.
        • Tasting included

        • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

        • Limited seats

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          4:30 h

      • THE AMAZING QUINTA DA REGALEIRA approx. 4.5 hours

        SOMETHING SPECIAL

        LIS20

        Prepare to enter a world of arcane symbols on a tour to the Quinta da Regaleira, a large estate and Gothic mansion on the outskirts of Sintra. After boarding a coach, you will first travel alongside the Atlantic coast and then through the Sintra National Protected Forest, an unforgettable area of natural beauty, en route to the Quinta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally constructed in the early 20th century, the complex was then substantially enlarged and ornamented with a plethora of stone-rendered symbolism by the millionaire António Augusto Carvalho Monteiro. The enigmatic structures within the grounds include an inverted tower, which is actually a deep well whose walls house a galleried spiral staircase that can be walked down – and up again. Also called the Initiation Well, the unusual structure is meant to facilitate a journey of contemplation and rebirth. Moving on, you will then head for the picture-perfect old town of Sintra, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, for some time to explore on your own. The National Palace is certainly one of Sintra’s most iconic landmarks. Your tour then draws to a close with your coach transfer back to your ship. Please note: the tour is mainly by walking on uneven and sometimes narrow path; it is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. On MSC Sinfonia 2015 2-day call, this tour is available on the first day.
        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          4:30 h

      • WALKING IN LISBON & WINE TASTING

        SOMETHING SPECIAL

        LIS09

        Leave the port for a bus transfer to the most authentic and vibrant part of the city - Lisbon’s
        • Snack included

        • Limited seats

        • Active excursions recommended only for guests in good physical health

          Difficulty Level
          Strenuous

        • Duration
          4 h

      The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
      Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

       

      Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

      Reach the port

      Port of Lisbon

      This section contains information on how to reach the port.

      Cruise Terminal:

      Santa Apolónia

      Reach the port by

      • Car

        Lisbon is easy to reach, being well served by motorways and major roads. MSC Cruises has arranged special Park & Cruise rates for your additional convenience and comfort. Follow the signs for Baixa and then for Santa Apolónia, where the port is located.
        Car
      • Train

        The Santa Apolónia terminus train station is right beside the Cruise Port.
        Train
      • Plane

        Lisbon airport is just a short drive from Cais de Santa Apolónia.  Taxis are available outside the airport entrance.
        Travel time: about 20 minutes depending on traffic.
        Plane

      Portugal

      Golden beaches and coloured azulejos

      Golden beaches and coloured azulejos

      Once a powerful seafaring kingdom that dominated the merchant routes to Africa, South America and the Orient, Portugal today is a friendly, low-key place with a laidback vibe and a fantastic coastline, much of it fringed by golden sands and endless dunes.

      Many of these beaches extend as far as the eye can see, and are rarely busy even in high summer, but as they face the full power of the Atlantic, they can be dangerous for swimming. 


      Its rolling interior is perfect for exploring on foot, by kayak, by bike or even on horseback – though a large part of the country’s charm comes from languorous days on the beach, dining on fabulously fresh seafood and kicking back with a beer to watch the sunset over the Atlantic. 


      During a holiday to Portugal legacy of its former wealth and power can be seen in its historic cities; Lisbon, superbly sited on the Tejo river estuary, is popular today for its grand Manueline monuments and medieval alleyways. 


      A cruise to Portugal is also a good chance to visit Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.