Lisbon is Portugal’s hilly, coastal capital city supporting a population of around 3 million people. The city dates back a long, long time, this is one of the oldest cities in the world. In fact, Lisbon is the oldest city in Western Europe, amazingly pre-dating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome.
Like many European cities it has many tales to tell. From the 5th century, Lisbon was ruled by a series of Germanic tribes until the 8th century, when the Moors laid claim to it. In 1147, the Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal.
There are a lot of things to love about Lisbon, I think what I love about Lisbon is the sheer variety of what is on offer. The architecture, the historical sites, museums, gardens, the food and wine scene, the friendly and festive locals, and the nightlife is outstanding. There is something for everyone to enjoy in lively city.
There are so many attractions in Lisbon such as Jerónimos Monastery, built by King D. Manuel I and designed in the Manueline architectural style. I just loved the Belem Tower or Torre de Belem as it is known locally. Belem Tower is stunning, a fortified tower located in the civil parish of Santa Maria de Belem. Both of these attractions are classified by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.
The Sao Jorge Castle is a Moorish castle occupying a commanding hilltop position overlooking the historic centre of Lisbon and the Tagus River. The view embraces the old city’s pastel-coloured buildings, the Tagus Estuary and Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge.
View from Sao Jorge CastleWalking around this city can be tiring because it is so hilly so use the trams to help navigate your path. There are many great gardens and squares to stroll through. Visit the Praça do Município, Praça do Comércio and the Praça do Rossio. NMeed a break from the city head into the beautiful gardens of Jardim da Astrela or the Jardim do Principe Real.
If history is your thing and you love museums, Lisbon will not disappoint. Visit the Museum of the Orient, the National Azulejo Museum houses a collection of tiles, ceramics and paintings. The National Museum of Ancient Art is an exquisite art collection of mainly religious art and ornaments.
When the sun goes down in Lisbon the city seems to step up a gear. The restaurant and bar scene is just fantastic. You will find everything from traditional fine dining, cafes, bars and hip and quirky establishments. The Bairro Alto is a particular festive area, but all around you will find great night spots to eat, drink and enjoy the evening.
The Clube da Esquina is a chilled place to hang out in Bairro Alto. The staff are friendly, and the prices are good. It’s well known for its cocktails including: caipirinhas, mojitos and their famous morangoska. During the summer Clube da Esquina can get really busy and the party often spills out onto the street, but the very same thing happens in the neighbouring bars, resulting in an awesome street party.
Most bars close between 2 and 4am, but late-night owls can continue the party at the docks of Alcântara and the district of Santos, home to several fashionable bars and clubs. The O Vinhaca Tapas & Vinhos on Rua do Salvador is a really well-priced tapas bar.
Hop on, Hop off Bus
We always use the ‘Hop on, Hop off’ Bus when we arrive in a new destination. Apart from the fact that it works out as a reasonable cost for transfers all over the city, it gets you to all the attractions that are worth while visiting. We then make a short list of all those places we want to get back to.
The city has several beautiful old theatres, such as the Dona Maria II National Theatre, which presents contemporary works and classical plays.
The city of Lisbon offers a wide variety of accommodation options from budget through to luxurious boutique hotels.
Rooftop view from the Hotel Mundial Lisbon is a great city to explore. We did the Lisbon River Cruise and enjoyed every minute. The boat sailed past many of the great sights and its just a cool way to see the city from a different view.
Get to Lisbon and enjoy one of Europe’s finest cities, often proclaimed as one of the most beautiful capitals of Europe. With flights from most London airports taking just under three hours, it’s also close by. Lisbon is lively, entertaining, fascinating and ideal for city break.