Modern Lisbon can be found on the former Expo site of 1998 in the Parque das Nações (National Park). Modern architecture, the Oceanarium, an underground tile gallery, a shopping centre, cafes, restaurants, walkways and cycle paths along the Tagus were built on about 340 ha.
Until 1993 old factories, like scrapped oil refinery stood here and contaminated the ground. In 1980 a contest for ideas for restructuring the area on the occasion of the world exhibition was proclaimed. Today you can find thousands of apartments, service companies and the Park of Nations, the residents’ recreation area.
Train station Oriente
Take the metro to Oriente railway station, the former Expo area. Don’t rush out of the station after disembarking, as a small gallery with beautiful mosaics can be found inside.
Art by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Boyd, amongst others, can be discovered here. Directly on the lower platform is a picture by Hundertwasser – a city sunken to the sea bottom. Right next to it, a picture by Antonio Segui with colourful comic figures. The Icelandic artist Erró has created a beautiful pop art picture with the colourful tiles and the Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama contributed a piece in colours from the Far East.
On the opposite platform, you can discover works by Haider Raza and Boyd. Also above the railway tracks, you can find some really beautiful works by different artists. For all art lovers, this platform is a visit to a small galley for the price of one Metro ticket. I think it was a good idea to take a little time to explore the station.
Walk across the grounds of the Expo site of 1998
The station exists lead directly into a large shopping centre. An opportunity to shop on three floors, eat and, if you fancy it, be spoiled in a wellness area. The shopping centre is the former reception building for the world exhibition. Leaving the shopping paradise on the eastern side gets you on the former Expo grounds.
Our first glance fell onto the Pavilhão Atlântico, a multifunctional hall, which during the world exhibition was called Pavilhão da Utopia. Today, it serves as a venue for concerts and other events. A little further to the north is a conference centre where we picked up our starter packs for the Lisbon Mini-Marathon.
We then went north on the banks of the Tagus. We were accompanied by a funicular that runs from Torre Vasco de Gama to the Oceanarium. The Torre Vasco de Gama is about 140 meters high and looks like a sail in the wind. As a luxury hotel has been built, the tower cannot be visited anymore. But right behind the tower, you have a really great view of the Ponte Vasco da Gama.
We finished our northbound trip here and walked back to get to know the southern section of the terrain. The route did not lead us along the Tejo this time, but along some beautiful, green areas and streets with restaurants of various kinds. Another evening on which we ate really well. After leaving the Pavilhão Atlântico, we passed the Lisbon Casino, Pavilhão do Futuro, and the Lisbon Science Museum, the former Pavilhão do Conhecimento. We saved our visit to the Oceanarium for another day, the weather was just too nice for an indoor activity.
We rather walked along the beautiful paths, enjoyed the small green areas, water features and the lovely sunshine. We passed the harbour basin and then reached the end of the Park of the Nations.
The site of the Expo 1998 is perfect for a stroll along the Tagus River.