As European capital cities go Lisbon is as understated as it is elegant. Should a beauty contest of European cities ever be held, the Portuguese capital would be assured of its place on the podium. Built on many more hills than Rome along one bank of the River Tagus and with the Atlantic Ocean firmly in its sights, the combination of mountain, ocean and city makes Lisbon holidays immediately likeable and enchantingly attractive.
Belying a location on the very edge of Western Europe, the climate and ambience of Lisbon and the Estoril coast feel decidedly Mediterranean with a twist of the exotic and where Gulf-stream induced mild winters allow palm trees and birds of paradise to flourish. The Festival of Saint Antoine on 12 June is the city’s most important annual festivity. In a carnival style atmosphere the streets fill with music and dance, a parade along Avenida de Liberdade, and an abundance of food stalls serving grilled sardines and caldo verde soup paired with plenty of wine, until the sun rises the next day.
Vintage Tram, Lisbon
We’re delighted to highlight a few holiday experiences to enhance your visit to Lisbon. Simply confirm at the time of booking or prior to travelling.
For further details and prices of private excursions and small group escorted tours, to visit some or all of these places of interest, please ask our Personalised Travel Team about pre-bookable experiences and excursions on 0800 008 7288.
We highly recommend…
Enjoy the unique and beautiful sounds of the fado singers in traditional
tavernas and restaurants in the Alfama district, and as Lisbon is
very hilly, a great way to see the city is by Segway tour.
A tour to appreciate Lisbon’s main attractions including a visit to one of its most fascinating museums and one of the oldest and most traditional quarters, Alfama, where fado music seems to echo around every corner.
A day tour to the Alentejo region and the beautiful, UNESCO-listed medieval town of Evora. Discover its famous landmarks and also tour one of the oldest wine estates in Portugal, the renowned Monte da Ravasquiera.
See Lisbon from the waters on a mini cruise. Sail past the most picturesque neighbourhoods framing the historic centre until you reach the city’s cultural heart, the Belem district with its many monuments.
See Lisbon’s striking monuments, narrow streets and avenues bathed in the evening light before relaxing over dinner at Timpanas, where traditional flavours can be enjoyed to the sound of Portugal’s soulful folk music, fado.
A full day tour to see the highlights of Sintra including the unique Pena Palace. Also visit the nearby Cabo da Roca cape and witness nature’s might at the famous Boca do Inferno sea cave before ending with a stop in Cascais.
An unforgettable tour of the west taking in the pretty medieval town of Obidos, the religious centre of Fatima, the small town of Batalha, with its UNESCO-listed monastery, and the fishing hamlet of Nazare, world-renowned for its big-wave surfing.
Although a modern cosmopolitan capital, Lisbon wears its heritage on its sleeve creating an enchanting marriage of past and present. The earthquake of 1755 might have denied the city world class palaces, churches and monuments, but this is more than compensated for by a graceful charm and easy going friendliness.
The city’s medieval quarter Alfama, is a labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets and steep crooked alleyways and the place to eat in local cafés, wander amongst the antique and bric-a-brac emporia and lose yourself in the twice-weekly flea market. The former industrial area Parque das Nacoes is home to the striking Vasco da Gama bridge and the city’s impressive aquarium, Oceanario de Lisboa. The Tower of Belem, Jeronimos Monastery, the Planetarium and the unmissable Ajuda Palace lies in Belem, the city’s cultural heart and museum district. The elegant residential neighbourhood Bairro da Lapa is home to foreign embassies, expensive town houses and Portugal’s largest museum, the National Museum of Ancient Art. The central district of Baixa is the traditional shopping centre, whilst Bairro Alto is famed for its nightlife. In the evening head to a bar or restaurant where traditional fado is performed; a music genre recognised by UNESCO and an essential part of Lisbon’s heritage.
From city-chic restaurant menus to humble fishermen’s home cooking and delicious petiscos, Portuguese tapas, there’s a variety of palate-pleasing dishes on offer. Portuguese ports and wines are eminently drinkable and pastry-lovers must not leave without sampling Pasteis de Belem, delicious flaky tartlets filled with custard like cream.
In addition to a metro and buses, there are charming vintage trams trundling along narrow streets and historic funiculars making light work of steep hills. Purchase a pre-paid card and load with pay-as-you-go fares or day passes, or a Lisboa Card which includes transport and allows free entrance to many sights.
Built across seven hills means the city affords panoramic views from almost everywhere; don’t miss the views from the Castelo de Sao Jorge, Miradouro de Nossa Senhora do Monte, Miradouro da Graca and Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara.
Both are UNESCO-listed, with Torre de Belem a flamboyant concoction of filigree stonework guarding the river entrance to Lisbon’s harbour, and nearby, the 16th century Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon’s most impressive religious monument.
A ride through the most scenic parts of Lisbon aboard an often vintage, but always full, tram which appeals to both locals and tourists.
A neo-Gothic curiosity which is the craftsmanship of Gustave Eiffel’s apprentice, Raul Mesnier. Stunning panoramas of Lisbon’s cityscape are to be had from the top of this vertical street lift.
Towering above the city and offering breathtaking views, this handsome 11th century castle is one of Lisbon’s iconic landmarks.
Make the 40 minute train journey from Lisbon to the charming town of Sintra in the foothills of the Sintra Mountains. See its whimsical palaces, lavish mansions and admire the spectacular views from the ancient castle ruin.
Classic Collection Holidays offer a fantastic selection of 4 & 5 star hotels in Lisbon. Click here to find your perfect luxury holiday.
Ask our travel consultants about combining a stay in Lisbon with a visit to Cascais or Porto. See our dedicated Portugal brochure for further details.