Capital city of Portugal and one of Lonely Planet’s top cities to visit in 2017 the blend of warm weather, cultural sites and delicious food make Lisbon the perfect escape.
Keep an eye out for: Azulejos – these beautiful glazed ceramic tiles still decorate the sides of many buildings in Lisbon. As you wander around the city you’ll be sure to see some dotted around, there is even a museum dedicated to their history!
By plane – Many low cost and national carriers fly directly to Lisbon from multiple European destinations. From London Ryanair, TAP, Easyjet and British Airways all run daily routes with journey times of 2 hours 30. From further afield popular routes fly via London, France, Spain or Germany. To get into the city from the airport you can take the metro (takes around 25 minutes into Lisbon, change at Alameda if heading to the historic centre), the Aerobus (dedicated bus service with luggage racks offering limited stops in the centre) or opt for a transfer/taxi (costs around €30).
By train – High speed trains also run regularly from major Portuguese and Spanish cities. There are several train stations within Lisbon, Rossio being the most centrally located. Popular routes include Madrid, Barcelona and Paris.
By bus – Lisbon is well connected to the rest of Portugal by bus with several buses a day running from Lisbon to Porto, Lagos and Coimbra. Eurolines operate international bus links from Gare do Oriente to major cities in Spain, Germany and France amongst other European countries.
Lisbon is split into several districts each with their own charm. Head to Baixa-Chiado for the historic centre of Lisbon, Alfama for old-world quaint winding streets and Belém for culture.
Casa Do Barao, Baixa-Chiado – This stunning renovated old townhouse located in the Baixa-Chiado area has great access to all the sights around the city centre. With a lovely garden and pool to enjoy a spot of Portuguese sunshine, and a library complete with walls of books and decanters of Port and Moscatel to relax in the evenings, this is the perfect home away from home.
Santiago de Alfama, Alfama – 15th centure Palais dos Castros has been converted into this gorgeous boutique hotel. Splurge on the Santiago suite for incredible panoramic views of Lisbon, and dine on delicious Portuguese dishes with a twist at Audrey’s Café and Restaurant.
Memmo Alfama, Alfama – Located amongst the narrow streets of Lisbon’s oldest quarter near to São Jorge Castle this converted building is a perfect blend of old and new. The star of Memmo Alfama has to be the outdoor terrace complete with a swimming pool and stunning views of the Tagus and rooftops of Alfama.
Altis Belém Hotel & Spa, Belém – Situated within the birthplace of Pastéis de Nata and overlooking the River Tagus with views of Belém tower each of the rooms at Altis depicts an ancient Portuguese colony. This sumptuous design hotel also houses Restaurant Feitoria (one Michelin star) and Spa BSpa by Karin Herzog offering guests the complete luxury stay.
Fish – Portuguese meals often feature a lot of fresh fish. Grilled sardines are served with tomatoes or roasted red peppers to add sweetness to the salty fish; and salted cod can be cooked several ways most commonly with egg and potatoes.
Prego roll – The perfect grab and go lunch, a Portuguese Prego is a crusty roll filled with steak cooked in garlic and butter.
Polvo à lagareiro – Octopus cooked in olive oil and flavoured with salt and garlic, when cooked to perfection the octopus is served soft and tender.
Pasteis de Nata – These small Portuguese egg tarts originally made by monks in Belém are the perfect sweet mid-afternoon snack when served warm topped with cinnamon.
Caldo Verde – A traditional soup made from shredded kale and thickened with pureed potato this makes a healthy Winter option.
Mercado da Ribeira – The best place to grab lunch in Lisbon, this food market run by Time Out offers a wide selection of stalls grilling and frying up every dish you can think of. Fresh seafood, cured meats, cheese and other Portuguese tapas feature heavily with dishes starting at around €5.
Lisboa a Noité – This lovely fish restaurant offers authentic Portuguese flavours incorporated into modern dishes. Located within converted stables within Baixa-Chiado this is a great dinner spot with an excellent wine list.
Bistro 100 Maneiras – This second restaurant by award winning Ljubomir Stanisac is a more informal spot offering an ever-changing menu showcasing his eccentric creations.
Ultimo Porto – Seek out this local gem hidden between cargo containers within Lisbon’s port. This no frills restaurant is popular for a reason, offering the best barbecued fish around.
Cervejaria Ramiro – The winning combination of fresh seafood and bottles of Portuguese Sagres beer ensures this restaurant is always busy.
Ginjinha – This Portuguese liquor is made from sour cherries, often served in a mini chocolate cup as a lovely sweet (and alcoholic) snack!
Port – No trip to Portugal is complete without a tipple of Port after your meal. Although this fortified wine is produced further North in the Douro valley you’ll find it on many wine lists in Lisbon.
Espumante – Portugal’s answer to champagne, this delightful sparkling wine is light, refreshing and dry perfect for sunny Summer days.
Wines of Portugal Bar – Sample many of Portugal’s incredible wines here from espumante to Douro red wines starting at under €1 for a tasting serving.
Entretanto Rooftop Bar – Sip a gin and tonic or cocktail at this rooftop bar atop Hotel Chiado enjoying unparalleled views across Castelo San Jorge and Alfama.
Red Frog – Gain entry to this speakeasy bar by pushing the ‘press for cocktails’ button below the red frog logo and a world of delicious Prohibition style cocktails awaits.
Portas do Sol – Offering amazing views over the rooftops of Alfama this is the perfect bar for a sundowner. With beanbags and sofas to relax on you can enjoy nibbles and a bottle of bubbly as the light fades.
Wine with a View – You don’t even need to head to a wine bar for a glass of wine! Wine with a View vendors operate by Belém tower and São Jorge Castle so you can buy a glass of vino, pull up a chair and admire the view!
Hot Club Portugal – One of the best and oldest jazz clubs in Europe you can enjoy jazz performances from world class performers as you sip on cocktails.
Take in the views – Lisbon is renowned for its hills leading to numerous amazing viewpoints dotted across the city. Head to Miradoura San Pedro or Castelo San Jorge for views across the rooftops of the city out to the River Tagus.
Visit a Convent – Carmo Convent showcases instagrammable architecture even though the convent was partially destroyed during the 1755 earthquake of Lisbon. There is a small museum housing various archaeological items from bronze age tools to a mummified child.
Ride Tram 28 up to Alfama – Lisbon’s historic yellow trams still run on some routes. Buy a ticket for Tram 28 to take a ride back in time as your journey takes you into Alfama, Lisbon’s oldest district.
Explore Belém – One of Lisbon’s outer districts, Belém is the centre of culture. Head inside Jeronimo’s monastery and wander along the river Tagus admiring the Monument of Discoveries and Belém tower.
Marvel at sea otters – Lisbon’s Oceanarium is one of the largest in Europe holding a wide variety of sea life from bull sharks to manta ray and even a pair of adorable fluffy sea otters.