The central focus of this region is the Tagus, the largest river of the Iberian Peninsula. Lisbon is the European capital that lies at the mouth of the Tagus. The river flows down an immense plain, called Lezíria, which follows the river’s path in a region named Ribatejo. Southbound, the plain becomes less and less humid and slightly hillier. Up north, however, there is a mountain range called Montejunto, Aires. To the north of Lisbon others are also found, which make the river slowly wind. The most important city in Ribatejo is Santarém, the Gothic capital of Portugal. The entire riparian zone of the Tagus is very appealing, considering that such a large river runs through it.
The Setúbal Peninsula is situated at the mouth of the river Sado. It comprises a wonderful natural park, Arrábida, with limestone hills and characteristic Mediterranean vegetation. There is also an uninterrupted passageway that travels up Caparica beach to the Cabo Espichel cliffs, where you come across a large expansion of pine trees.
Adjacent to the city of Lisbon, there are two major villages: Cascais and Sintra. The latter is a unique place, with its humid, misty climate and its breathtaking mansions peeking over the woods below. To the north of Lisbon is the “saloio” region, the Portuguese Estremadura, which is littered with cliffs, beaches, and pockets of interesting small towns. The local economy is made up of agricultural and the services sectors.
The coastline around Lisbon provides the perfect conditions for watersports such as surfing and windsurfing. However, sometimes the sea can be excitingly unpredictable and dramatic.
Lisbon airport is serviced by a well-developed road and rail network which links the airport to the rest of the country.
What not many people know, however, is that an average year’s rainfall in Lisbon is practically the same as in London. The only difference is that in London it rains all year long and in Lisbon it’s just once in a while. But when it does rain, it rains cats and dogs!