The impact of culture on the tourist’s decision – Case Study: Lisbon

The term culture is associated with main domains and areas, from the cognitive level to the educational one, from symbolic level to semiologic area, from economic to artistic, from national and historical to social, spiritual and aesthetic. Culture is the key that opens tourist doors to new destinations, while tourism promotes the development of creativity, innovation, arts. A city that combines cultures and influences, that awe with colors, flavors, and music: Lisbon will capture the tourist’s – not only eye- but also the heart. And most of it because of its unique culture.


Its popularity among tourists is increasing: promoting Portugal image and identity, the city developed a culture based on innovation, but also on authenticity. The capital is a symbol of the urban tourism, playing a vital role in the international-but also national gateways- tourism.

Lisbon is impressing with the art of tiles (azulejo), the art of stone paving (calçada portuguesa), with the fado music – national Portuguese music genre – , with visual, antique, modern, decorative and performing arts, with architecture.


The city has a rich cultural life that has an impact on the tourist’s decision to put the capital on the places to visit. One of the cultural forms with which the country is associated is fado, „poetically musical tradition”, recognised as “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 2011.


Fado, derived from fate (Latin roots) . the “urban popular music”, became a symbol of Lisbon’s cultural identity, a „living” heritage, appreciated by both tourists and locals, which determinated the creation of the Museu do Fado (Fado Museum). Originally dated from the 18th century, the style mixes Moorish elements with indigenous and African bits. The lyrics of the fado represent the regret, sadness or nostalgia for the past or for the homeland and usually it’s associated with saudade, an emotional stage, a deep feeling which express the longing after something or someone.

Another two Portuguese symbols, impressive with the Gothic architecture, representative examples during the Age of Discoveries and classified as UNESCO World Heritage attraction are Mosteiro dos Jerónimos ( The Hieronymites Monastery) and Torre de Belém (Belém Tower).


Jerónimos Monastery is one of the two UNESCO World Heritage attractions in Belem, along with the Torre de Belém. The monastery, built in the memory of Henry the Navigator has a unique exuberant style, was donated to the monks of Saint Hieronymus. The other outstanding heritage, located on the Tagus river is the tower built by Francisco de Arruda, known as Tower of St. Vincent, in commemoration of Vasco da Gama.

The azulejo (small polished stones) has been used all over Portugal for decorations and is associated with the traditional Portuguese art, which tells a story. The portuguese pavement (calçada portuguesa) is used a lot in the pedestrian areas, the pieces being arranged in a pattern, similar to the mosaic.

The multiple historical and cultural offerings attract a significant number of tourists. The streets (Avenue of Liberty), squares (Praca do Comercio), boulevards-all combine the authenticity and the vibe of the city. Among the historical attractions: Sao Jorge Castle, a medieval Moorish and royal residence and the well-known point of views (miradoures) from where the tourists and also the lisboetas are enjoying the view every day and every night: Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara, Santa Luzia, Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Miradouro da Graca, Miradouro da Nossa Senhora da monte. The nightlife center of Portugal, Bairro Alto is the place where youth from various subcultures find entertainment through various music genres.


Culture, with its forms and values has an important role in creating contacts, dialogue and interchange among different cultures and lifestyles, also in the tourism development

Ana-Maria Nae – participant at EECT training course – representative of GEYC Romania