From the 25th of May to the 7th of June, Lisbon will once again be a stopover on the transatlantic leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15. This is a great opportunity to see the world's top sailors and to get to know the city.
For 14 days, the Pedrouços Dock will be welcoming one of the most important sailing events in the world. Lisbon is the only European capital on the route of the competition, which is being held for the 12th time.
Lisbon was an obvious choice when you consider what a close connection Portugal has had with the sea for many centuries. Belém, the competition venue, is in itself symbolic of the period of the Discoveries, as the setting-off point for the great Portuguese sailors, such as Vasco da Gama (15th century). But the competition is also an opportunity to visit and become acquainted with two monuments classed as UNESCO World Heritage, the Torre de Belém (Belém Tower) and the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jerónimos Monastery).
In this historical quarter, you can also visit the Museu dos Coches (National Coach Museum), which from May onwards will be housed in a new building designed by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha; the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries); the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia (National Museum of Archaeology); the Museu de Marinha (Maritime Museum); and the Centro Cultural de Belém (Belém Cultural Centre), which houses the Museu Berardo (Berardo Museum), with its impressive contemporary art collection.
From Belém, it takes no more than half an hour by car or tram alongside the river to reach the city centre. The "Baixa", "Chiado", "Bairro Alto" and "Alfama", where the Fado Museum is to be found, as well as the Castelo de São Jorge (St George's Castle) are the city's main attractions and are a must for any visitor to Lisbon. A good way to see the sights is to choose one of our suggested itineraries.
At dinner time, the riverside setting of the huge Praça do Comércio Square, the "Chiado" or the "Bairro Alto" are a good choice, because of the vast array of restaurants, lounges, open-air terraces and viewpoints offering panoramic views of the city.
But the Pedrouços Dock will also be very lively during the event. A "small city" is to be set up in the surrounding space and there will be activities to entertain visitors of all ages while they admire the yachts and rub shoulders with the world's top sailors. The competitors set off for Lisbon from the port of Newport, in the United States, on the 17th of May and will subsequently leave Lisbon for Lorient on the French coast, where they are expected to arrive between the 9th and the 12th of June.
For more information about the Volvo Ocean Race, see www.volvooceanrace.com.