Sprawling across seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, with a thriving foodie scene, offers a fantastic city break for those on a budget – and those who aren’t.
Whether you’re in the mood for history, the vibrant nightlife, or just soaking up the sun with a glass of port and a custard tart, there’s both old and new delights to be found.
WHY SHOULD I GO?
LISBON predates London, Rome and Paris. You can feel the past all around you, especially as you walk the cobblestone streets of the Alfama district, but the city still vibrates with youthful energy.
Amid the pastel-colored buildings, you’re just as likely to find a stylish boutique or world-class restaurant as a magnificent museum.
The really wonderful thing about this city, however, is its value for money. Expect to pay just three euros (£2.50) for a glass of wine or two euros (£1.66) for a beer.
ARE THESE ROADS MADE FOR WALKING?
Pleasantly compact, Lisbon is really best explored on foot – but bring comfortable shoes as those famous hills are steep.
Climb to the Miradouro das Portas do Sol viewpoint and be rewarded with a view over the red rooftops down to the sparkling blue of the Tagus River.
Away from the city center, one of the best walks is the waterfront district of Belem, where you can admire the cloisters of the Jeronimos Monastery and admire the Padrão dos Descobrimento Monument, which celebrates Portugal’s proud history of discovery.
EVERYTHING FOR THE BUCKET LIST?
YOU must try the famous Pastel de Nata – pastry tarts filled with egg custard.
You can find them in most cafes, but it’s worth queuing at Pasteis de Belem, where the recipe is so secret it’s never been written down.
When you tire of walking, hop aboard a traditional wooden tram. Route E28 passes the Se Cathedral, Sao Jorge Castle and the National Pantheon, but can get crowded. Your best chance of getting started is where it begins, at Campo Ourique—and get there early.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT?
At the more rustic end of the scale, try Cervejaria Ramiro for the freshest seafood served in an unpretentious setting.
Think garlic butter-soaked mussels, sizzling jumbo prawns and delicately arranged crab, all washed down with a cold beer.
For something more out there, A Cervicheria is an elegant spot that offers a Portuguese twist on the Peruvian classic, ceviche, under a striking octopus chandelier. Everything we ate looked like a work of art.
Or, if you want to try a little of everything, visit the Time Out Market in Cais do Sodre, home to 40 food stalls featuring some of Portugal’s best chefs and restaurants.
I WANT A DRINK…
LISBON’S signature drink is ginjinha – a sweet tart liquor – but you might be happier with a reasonably priced glass of wine or beer.
During the day, we loved the view from the Park cocktail bar, atop a multi-storey car park in Bairro Alto.
In the evening, find a bar with live fado – Portugal’s haunting traditional music, usually performed by a singer and guitarist.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY?
Built on the site of a 100 year old bakery on posh Rua das Janelas Verdes, Emerald House is a brand new hotel in the Hilton Curio collection.
You can enjoy the impeccable Hilton standards but with the intimate, whimsical vibe of a boutique hotel. The place is decorated with antiques and curios from Lisbon’s thrift shops.
There’s also a 24-hour gym, a sleek bar, and a reliable restaurant that serves an incredibly varied breakfast buffet.
We loved the river views from our balcony, a stone’s throw from the National Museum of Ancient Art and a short walk to the nightlife of Cais Do Sodre – nicknamed “Pink Street” because of the color of the sidewalk.
GET THERE: Wizz Air flies from Luton to Lisbon from £21.99 each way. see wizzair.com
STAY THERE: Rooms start from 130 euros (£108) per night. See hilton.com
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8661591/european-city-break-portugal-lisbon-cheap-beer/ The Europe city trip with 1.66 pound beer