Lisbon is exceptionally striking, but its architectural homogeneity is chiefly a result of an earthquake that virtually destroyed the city in 1755. Today’s Lisbon would be unrecognizable to navigators such as Vasco da Gama, who set sail from the Tagus estuary in the late 15th century. Only the old Alfama district is still laced with medieval alleys. The Belém neighborhood is home to a wealth of monuments, including the iconic Belém Tower and the Jerónimos Monastery, where da Gama is buried. Bairro Alto is the home of fado music, whose melancholy strains are said to embody the Portuguese national temperament. International brands haven’t taken over Lisbon’s retail scene, allowing local talent to shine. While the usual luxury suspects cluster on Avenida da Liberdade, the shopping areas of Chiado and Príncipe Real are lined with small boutiques that showcase Portuguese textiles, ceramics and leather.

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