Sitting at the mouth of the Tagus river on Portugal’s west coast, Lisbon is a beautiful city. With its atmospheric hills, steep streets and attractions like the cafe culture and historic monuments, the Portuguese capital is the perfect place for your next city break. Deciding where to stay and spend your time is always a crucial part of any trip, so have a read of our advice and discover which part of this romantic city sounds like it’s best for you.
If it’s the air of romance that draws you to Lisbon, the Alfama is the place for you. The city’s oldest quarter is full of charm, with its tightly wound streets, Moorish castle and incredible views out over the terracotta roofs that spill down towards the Tagus. Go for a wander, check out the cathedral and explore the markets during the daytime, before swinging your hips with your loved one to the beat of traditional fado music once the sun’s gone down.
After the Great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, the city’s downtown area, or Baixa, had to be completely rebuilt. The tall, impressive buildings that now remain play host to some of Lisbon’s quirkiest shops and cafes. As well as traditional stores selling items such as beads and sequins, there are lots of modern shops. Throw in plenty of hotels and guesthouses, and this is a popular place to stay in the thick of the action.
If you’re looking to get lots of holiday shopping done during your Lisbon city break, don’t miss the Chiado. This is an elegant shopping district which is packed with history. Make your way along the historic streets as you dive into the range of stores to pick out some new purchases. Then sit down for a coffee next to one of the Chiado’s many statues and monuments, before heading up to Bairro Alto for the breathtaking views and late night partying.
Waterfront Belem boasts some of Lisbon’s best cultural attractions, including the UNESCO-listed Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery. The imposing Padrao dos Descobrimento monument is testament to Lisbon’s prominence in the Age of Discovery, while you’ll also be able to see what is arguably the city’s most iconic landmark across the river, the enigmatic Cristo Rei monument. There’s lots of restaurants to try out in Belem, as well as green spaces like the Jardim Botanico Tropical, and a range of interesting museums such as the Coach Museum and the Museu Colecao Berardo, a modern and contemporary art museum.
Top transport and value
Wherever you decide to stay in Lisbon, the city is known for being easy to get around. From its efficient tram system, to vintage funicular, and plenty of bike lanes, it’s usually nice and quick to find your way between different parts of the city – though watch out for the hills if you’re on a bike. Lisbon also has a reputation for great value. In 2016, the Post Office ranked it as the fourth cheapest city break in Europe, and the cheapest in Western Europe. Your holiday budget will stretch nice and far on everything from your hotel to evening meals and entry to top attractions. So raise a cool beer or glass of port to this stunning city as you enjoy your Lisbon city break.