If you want to escape the unpredictability of spring make sure to head to Lisbon, one of the world’s great historical cities. Besides the mild climate, Lisbon is famous for its variety of tourist attractions, amazing cuisine, its vicinity to sandy beaches and unofficially being the least expensive capital city in Western Europe – who doesn’t love a great bargain?
When to Go?
To make the most of your trip visit Lisbon in the months leading up to and following the summer months – the weather is warm and sunny but not so hot as to discourage you from a bit of sightseeing on the cobblestoned streets.
If all of the above hasn’t convinced you yet you’ll be happy to hear that Lisbon is also the European capital closest to the United States and around 3 hours-flight from other major European cities. For the flyers, Lisbon airport also known as Lisbon Portela Airport, is the main international gateway to not only Lisbon but also the whole of Portugal.
The best way to kick-off a fun-filled trip to Lisbon is a panoramic view of the city you’re about to discover. Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcantara is a perfect place to get a 180-degree view of Lisbon while sipping an ice-cold lemonade.
Save some walking for later and take Lisbon’s second oldest funicular, Elevador da Gloria to Praca dos Restauradores from which you can easily walk to Praca de Pedro and Praca da Figueria. The former hosts markets and concerts from time to time while the latter gives home to one of the best pastelerias in Lisbon, Confeitaria National.
No trip to Lisbon is complete without cramming yourself onto tram 28 – the best way to take in the scenic route of the city. The tram will take you to Castelo de Sao Jorge. A castle dating back to the mid-11th century and boasting an amazing view of the whole city.
If you like dramatic architecture visit the ruins of Convento do Carmo, a 14th century convent built for the Carmelite Convent but badly damaged during the earthquake of 1775. This Gothic convent now functions as an archeology museum.
It’s only a short tram/bus-ride and you’ll quickly find yourself in the neighbourhood of Belém. Here you can easily spend a day or two with visiting Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos, an impressive-looking monastery founded in 1501; the tower of Belém and the Padrao dos Descobrimentos both scenic reminders of the Age of Discovery and Museu Coleccao Berardo, Lisbon’s modern art museum.
Eat and Drink
If you need a sweet pick-me-up during your day-out in Belém don’t miss the Antiga Confeitaria de Belem, a patisserie close to the monastery that has been sweetening the life of locals and visitors alike with their heavenly pastéis de belém since 1837.
A great little place for a nice meal before you head out for bar-hopping in Bairro Alto, Restaurant Sul is located on the southern (`Sul`) part of the North street (Rua do Norte) and has a great variety of wines and port not to mention their amazing steak on the sizzling stone.
Lisbon’s artsy crowd likes to hang out in the LX Factory, a former 19th century textile factory that now houses numerous restaurants and bars – not to mention galleries, concert venues and a very impressive book/ CD shop. It also hosts a low-key market on Sundays selling everything from vintage clothes to hand-made cupcakes.
The Bairro Alto Hotel located in the popular Bairro Alto district is a great place if you want to spoil yourself. It is just a stone’s throw away from many bars and restaurants and it has a roof terrace which offers an amazing view of the city.
If you would like to be home away from home it’s best to book an apartment that has all the amenities of a home and a hotel. Varanda Luminoso is also located in the aforementioned Bairro Alto area and it has a great price-quality ratio. You even get your own little outdoor terrace.
For a cheap and cheerful accommodation book a room at the Lisboa Central Hostel, located just off the Avenida da Liberdade. This place prides itself with their great location, affordability and occasional movie nights.
Here are additional options for where to stay in Lisbon.