Vasco da Gama Bridge, Europe's longest
The Vasco da Gama Bridge was inaugurated in 1998 as Europe’s longest and remains one of the largest in the world (it’s longer than Öresund Bridge, which links Denmark and Sweden). It connects Lisbon to southern Portugal and Spain, and was named after Portugal’s famous explorer on the 500th anniversary of his voyage to India, which opened maritime trade between the East and the West for the first time.
The bridge is 13km (8 miles) long and seems to almost vanish into the distance. You don’t need to drive over it to get a close-up view, as it’s possible to walk under it, following the waterfront promenade of the Parque das Nações district.
Parque do Tejo with a view of Vasco da Gama Bridge
There’s a skate park below it, and it stands over Parque do Tejo, a park where locals jog, cycle, walk their dogs, and play soccer. Very few tourists come this far, but those who do, often pose for selfies on the boardwalk with the bridge as a backdrop.
Boardwalk by the Vasco da Gama Bridge
A few feet from the boardwalk is a smaller version of a colossal statue of Catherine of Braganza (a Portuguese princess who became the queen of England when she married King Charles II) that was to be placed by New York's Hudson River (the borough of Queens was named in her honor). That larger statue was never completed, since the African-American community in New York protested, remembering Catherine’s family’s ties to the slave trade.
Statue of Portuguese princess and British queen Catherine of Braganza by the Vasco da Gama Bridge
How to Get to Vasco da Gama Bridge
The closest metro station to the bridge is Moscavide, on the red line. Walk towards the river when you exit the station, and you’ll see the Vasco da Gama Tower. The bridge is a short walk from there. You may also take the metro to Oriente station, and walk down the waterfront promenade towards the bridge.
You may ride the metro (as well as the city’s buses, trams, funiculars, and trains) for free with the Lisboa Card.
For a view over the bridge, head to the restaurant at the top of the Vasco da Gama Tower or go on a cable car ride, which starts by the tower. The attractions of the Parque das Nações district, such as the Oceanarium and the casino, are all within walking distance.
Where to Stay by Vasco da Gama Bridge
For a bird’s-eye view of the entire bridge, stay at Lisbon’s tallest hotel. It’s literally in the water, inside the Vasco da Gama Tower, and all of its 176 rooms offer views of the city’s most modern district. At the very top of the tower is a restaurant, if you want to dine as you admire the bridge (it’s quite beautiful at night).