All aboard and welcome to the Eurovision Song Contest!

With the slogan “All aboard”, the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in May in Lisbon, with 43 countries scheduled to take part. The inspiration for the choice of slogan comes from the link between Lisbon and the ocean, a historical connection, because Lisbon was the centre of the most important world maritime routes that linked Europe to the rest of the world. Today, Lisbon is a city of diversity, respect and tolerance, sharing the values that Eurovision represents. Through the sea, Portugal invites the international community to come together and celebrate Europe and music in this year’s competition. Welcome aboard!

Praça do Comércio – Lisboa © Shutterstock_AER

The Festival, which takes place at the Altice Arena, will have two semi-finals on 8 and 10 May followed by the Grand Final on 12 May. If you don’t manage to get a ticket, you can experience this unique environment in the Eurovision Village. Here, admission will be free, and it will be open to the public between 4 and 13 May from 3 pm to 11 pm. This space is located in the Praça do Comércio, the most iconic public square in Lisbon; it is open to the River Tagus and during the golden age of the discoveries it was the nerve centre of maritime trade. Every day you will find here a lot of entertainment in which music plays a leading part, and you can watch as the DJs perform or follow the broadcasting of the festival performances.

Parque das Nações – Altice Arena © Paulo Magalhães

If you want to watch other musical shows, you will find that the musical programme is packed and varied throughout the year, in both Lisbon and the rest of the country. In addition to shows by national artists, Portugal is part of the tours of the most highly acclaimed foreign artists and is increasingly known for the quality of its Music Festivals. From urban settings to festivals in the heart of the countryside, in a field or beside the sea, or even in historical sites, the choice is huge. From rock to classical music, from jazz to dance music, there are sounds to suit all tastes.

Alfama – Lisboa © CML | DPC | José Vicente

Take the chance, too, to get to know unique expressions of Portuguese music that have been recognized by UNESCO as intangible heritage of humanity. Two examples are Fado, which conveys the Portuguese soul so well, sung brimming with feeling, accompanied only by a guitar, and the Cante Alentejano [Alentejo singing] in which groups of men and women sing in chorus, without any instrumental accompaniment.

But as you’re in Lisbon, please take the chance to get to know this safe and friendly city which is easy to visit, but has a lot to see. From the Castelo to Belém, from the historic districts such as Alfama or Bica to the late 20th century architecture in the Parque das Nações, you will find a city that is at once ancient and modern, and without doubt, always fascinating. Follow our suggestions on 10 things to see and do in Lisbon and lose yourself in this city.

Quinta da Regaleira – Sintra © Rui Cunha | Turismo Cascais

There is also plenty to see and find out about in the outskirts, too. The coast of Estoril and Cascais, a small fishing town, the romantic Sintra with its palaces and farms, and Mafra with its majestic Convent are places you really shouldn’t miss. And if you prefer wave sports like bodyboarding and kitesurfing, you’ll find the perfect conditions for them very close by, on the Costa de Caparica or in Ericeira, Europe’s 1st surfing reserve.

Lisbon is also a good starting point for travelling around the country because there are excellent transport links to all parts of the country. Do the same as the competitors in the Festival, who have been filming their postcards in several places in Portugal and venturing out into our country. You’ll find that you won’t regret it. In addition to the diversity of landscapes, a wealth of experience awaits you that will ensure great moments to remember.

Aveiro – Centro de Portugal © Emanuele Siracusa

Starting in Portugal’s Centro Region, try a trip on the colourful moliceiros (boats used to gather seaweed) in Aveiro and taste the delicious cheese in the Serra da Estrela. Further north, next to Oporto in Gaia, you absolutely have to visit the port wine cellars to enjoy this delicious nectar, and if you want to get to know some of our most traditional folklore, go a little further up, to Viana do Castelo. In addition to the music and dance, you will be entranced by the wealth of costumes and Portuguese jewellery.

Porto © João Paulo

If you head south, you’ll see the pure blood Lusitano horses in Alter do Chão and can try a balloon flight in Alentejo. By now in the Algarve, a boat trip through the jagged caves or a round of golf with a view of the sunset over the sea are images you will not forget.

Ponta da Piedade – Lagos | Algarve © Shutterstock – M.V. Photography

And you can also visit the islands in the middle of the Atlantic, discovered by the Portuguese in the 15th century and now less than a two-hour flight from Lisbon. In Madeira, experience the adrenaline rush as you take a ride down from Monte to Funchal in a traditional wicker basket sled, or go diving on the golden island of Porto Santo and discover the wonders and diversity of the seabed. And then, in the Azores, go whale watching or venture down into the depths of these islands of volcanic origin to discover the beauty that also lurks in their interior.

Açores © ART Açores

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