Gondomar, Santa Maria da Feira and Braga all wanted to serve as Eurovision 2018 host city. But on Tuesday Portugal’s RTP confirmed that Lisbon had won the gig and will welcome the world to MEO Arena next May 8, 10 and 12.
With a great transportation network and endless accommodation options, the Portuguese capital was the obvious choice. It has an international airport with its own subway station, allowing visitors to reach the city centre in less than 20 minutes.
The MEO Arena has hosted some of the biggest music concerts in the country’s history, and is located inside the stunning Parque das Nações (Park of the Nations), a free-access park that includes Europe’s longest bridge and its second-largest aquarium. It’s been heralded as “a shining model of urban regeneration” and represents the Lisbon — and now the Eurovision — of the future.
“Europe has always been plural, yet it’s legacy represents the wish for a brighter future, with one another,” an RTP representative said at the press conference, in a planned statement published early by eurovision.tv. “Portugal is a country in one of the far reaches of Europe, and strongly connected to it, but always wide opened to the sea. And the oceans can give us a hint into this idea of being intertwined. All things flow. And through them we too are connected. That has been the main key in Portugal’s history, bridging not only with the rest of Europe, but also with Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. By sea. Five hundred years ago Lisbon was the place where these sea routes departed from and arrived. And today, the city of diversity, respect and tolerance, with a society of all colours and creeds that shares the values Eurovision stands for, invites everyone to celebrate this willingness to come closer and stand united.”
Eurovision 2018 dates
Semi-Final 1: May 8, 2018
Semi-Final 2: May 10, 2018
Grand Final: May 12, 2018
Eurovision 2018 venue: MEO Arena
wiwiblogger @bernardo_tavares_pereira didn't miss the opportunity of being in @meoarenaoficial – the front runner venue to host #eurovision2018. Tonight a Harry Potter event is taking place but @wiwibloggs is already on the ground working for next year. It's HUGE! #eurovision #celebratediversity #lisbon
MEO Arena is the biggest venue in Portugal and has unrivalled experience hosting large-scale music events. With a capacity of around 20,000, it has already welcomed global superstars like Ariana Grande, Adele, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. If B can serve “Naughty Girl” there, then so can we.
Located in Parque das Nações, the venue boasts great transport links and other infrastructure to support the contest. Plus it’s literally by the river, which will help calm nervous performers and excited fans.
Parque das Nações
For journalists and bloggers covering Eurovision, and spending up to two weeks basically living at the arena, the area surrounding the venue is significant. In Malmö the venue was opposite a shopping mall, so it was easy to grab food and other essentials during the fortnight. But in Copenhagen the venue was in the middle of nowhere.
Thankfully the Parque das Nações, home to MEO Arena, has it all — from food to entertainment. From the Portuguese food at Bota Feijão to the Chinese at Old House to the some quick and delish pizza at Il Pizzarium, visitors will not be forced to eat at Mafia every day (if you were in Kyiv, you’ll know what we are talking about).
You can grab a selfie along the Ponte Vasco da Gama — Europe’s longest bridge — and buy clothes for EuroClub at the nearby Vasco da Gama Shopping Mall. The latter is an airy and bright temple to fashion with more than 170 shops, including 33 restaurants, six movie screens and a health club. Sign us up!
Are you excited about Eurovision 2018? Have you booked your hotel rooms and airline tickets? Let us know in the comments box below.