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The Portuguese capital of Lisbon is one of Europe's most unique capitals, with its sun-bleached limestone buildings topped with red roofs, tiny alleyways in the older districts and easygoing ambience. It's now a year-round visitor destination and gives a great base for touring the small country with a rented motorhome. Rentals are easily available in the city and at the airport, and there's a choice of several attractive motorhome camping sites dotted around.
The city is built on seven hills and boasts many museums telling of its former glories as well as a selection of pretty parks and gardens. Its oldest district is Alfama with its remnants of medieval Moorish architecture, and downtown Baixa's elegantly-planned 18th century layout boasts heritage buildings and spacious squares. Belim district is packed with monuments and landmarks and trending Principe Real is shoppers' heaven.
The Castelo de Sao Jorge perches on its central hill overlooking the city, and riverfront Belem saw Vasco da Gama's ships depart for their voyages of discovery. Both Belem Tower and the magnificent Jeronimos Monastery are here, and both are UNESCO World Heritage sites displaying exotic carved stone motifs celebrating distant lands.
Barrio Alto is Lisbon's charmingly historic bohemian district, home to restaurants, bars and the city's haunting fado music with its tales of triumphs and tragedies. Principe Real with its renovated historic homes has antiques shops as well as gay bars, and overlooks the neoclassical Parliament building. Its neo-Moorish Embaixada shopping gallery is a delight.
For lovers of futuristic architecture, a visit to the Parque das Nacoes is a must for its steel and glass structures including fantastic Pavilhao de Portugal with its undulating roof. Two towers resemble Vasco da Gama's ships, and the city's spectacular Aquarium is nearby.
Lisbon's trendy Chiado district lies adjacent to Barrio Alto and is home to 18th and 19th century architecture including stunning Art Nouveau examples. A must-see whilst in Lisbon is the Gulbenkian Museum for its Asian and European antique treasures as well as artworks by Rubens, Monet, Rembrandt and a collection of Lalique glass artefacts.
Parque Municipal de Campismo is Lisbon's main campsite, set just six kilometres from the city centre in a pretty municipal park. There's a supermarket, lounge, restaurant, 24/7 security and laundry facilities, swimming pool and children's play area.
Camping Lisboa is set in a quiet area on the edge of the city, and offers a bar and lounge, restaurant, supermarket and laundry facilities. BBQ pits, a swimming pool, kids' play area, tennis courts and a sports field are all here.
Orbitur Camping Guincho is 30kms from Lisbon along the fast A5 motorway, and is attractively set in a green, palm-lined complex fronted by sand dunes. Two swimming pools, a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, social lounge and supermarket cater to all needs.
Driving on the right, busy traffic, narrow streets, blind corners and hills, minimal parking facilities and the vagaries of local drivers are all deterrents to driving a motorhome in Lisbon, especially in the downtown district. Driving on rural and coastal roads is a different story, with the scenic aspect of most routes keeping your speed down and avoiding incidents.