The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, has everything for a long weekend or city break, bursting with culture at every turn. The steep cobbled streets lend themselves to exploration, admiring the stunning architecture and stopping for a well-deserved drink in one of the many atmospheric bars and restaurants are only a few of the many possibilities in Lisbon.
The iconic yellow trams run throughout the city and beyond, giving the opportunity to hop on and off, a fascinating way to spend a few hours. A popular route is to take the number 15E which runs to the historic district of Belem, taking approximately 20 minutes. There is much to see in Belem including Europe’s biggest plaza, the worlds largest collection of royal coaches and the impressive Jeronimos Monastery. Many would argue that the main reason to visit this area is to sample one of the famous Portuguese pastries from the bakery Pasteis de Belem.
The district of Alfama is the oldest area of the city and was one of the few places to escape the devastating 1755 earthquake, leaving the Moorish buildings intact. A wander through the narrow roads reveals a less touristy side to the city, with locals enjoying a drink in tiny backstreet cafes. The main attraction in Alfama is Lisbon Castle, with stunning views of the city from its vantage points along the battlements and walls. Other historic buildings worth a visit include Saint Anthony’s Church and The National Pantheon.
For a pleasant change from exploring Portuguese history, a visit to the modern side of Lisbon can be enjoyed with a trip to the Parque das Nacoes. This entire area has many water-based exhibits and features, combined with a futuristic design. Families with children will particularly like the Lisbon Aquarium, divided into four areas containing a vast number of fish, amphibians and mammals.
With so much to see and do, the city of Lisbon can be a repeat destination, bringing travellers from far and wide, eager to experience its many attractions and pleasant climate.