Lisbon wouldn’t be Lisbon without the River Tagus and the ferries, cruise ships, cargo ships and the sailboats and frigates which cross it every day. There are tourists who have just docked in the port; alfacinhas (locals) doing exercise or out for a walk; and the people coming and going from one side of the river to the other, all making up the many different cities of Lisbon rolled into one.
The Tagus is a constant presence and responsible for the mythical light which illuminates the city and brightens the life of those who live in it. It’s where people go to have a coffee, sunbathe in the outdoor cafés, enjoy a drink, have lunch with a riverside view and, for braver souls, go for a sail.
Water sports are hugely important in the city’s river life: every weekend the river fills with young novice sailors in their Lasers, Optimists and 420s, alongside larger cruising sailboats. It’s true that many sailors prefer the atmosphere aboard to actually hoisting the sails, but on regatta days the Tagus fills with boats of all sizes and styles in a spectacle that is truly unforgettable.
The sea air also inspires all the other sportsmen and women who run, cycle and walk day and night beside the deep waters running into the Atlantic. The Tagus is also host to several major international events, such as the Tall Ships Races – which provides a unique view of the world’s largest sailing ships – and the Volvo Ocean Race – where you can meet the crews and yachts in this impressive round-the-world race.
If you’d like to get a unique view of the city, hire one of the many boats and catamarans to sail along the river, or catch the mythical cacilheiro, the ferry which links Lisbon to Cacilhas. These are special ways to discover Lisbon. And if you bring your trainers, you can walk for miles beside the river in total safety and with an impressive view.