Lisbon's laid-back wine bars can be found on many of the city's cobbled streets
As Portugal’s coastal capital, Lisbon radiates an effortless swagger and charm through its mix of contemporary culture and mystical, labyrinthine streets. Enchantment resonates from within its historic back alleys lined with traditional tabernas – carefree cafés by day and bustling bars by night.
Lisbon is a true hub for the local cuisine, with mouthwatering must-try dishes served all over town. Bacalhau – dried, salted cod, and cozido a portuguesa – a delicious stew made with many types of meat, can be found in most restaurants. No visit is complete without munching on a few pastéis de nata, sweet custard tarts made with a secret recipe, available at any pastelaria. At dusk, the cobbled streets of the Bairro Alto come to life, with various small bars and restaurants open until the wee hours. Soak up the best of both worlds by dining somewhere that hosts typical fado music, which generally consists of several performers, a handful of folk songs and boundless passion.
The famous Tram 28 navigates a sharp turn in the Alfama district
Lisbon's alluring old town draws in sightseers and history buffs alike, and can be toured in style aboard Tram 28. Unlike other trams in Lisbon, these classic ‘Remodelados’ can clamber up steep inclines and navigate sharp turns, making it an exciting way to travel from Baixa to the castle and Alfama.
The city's streets and squares are perfect for people watching in the midday sun
When to go?
Lisbon is a stellar destination for year-round visits, but venture there in spring (March–May) for sunny days and mild nights. June is a month of festivities in Portugal, celebrating the Popular Saints, with Festas de Lisboa held on 12 and 13 June. Winter months (November–February) are less predictable weather-wise, but offer better value for money.
Where to stay?
Lisboa Carmo Hotel
Lisboa Carmo Hotel – Lisbon, Portugal
Nestled between Bairro Alto, Baixa, Chiado and Avenida da Liberdade, Lisboa Carmo Hotel is a short walk from landmarks such as the Lisbon Cathedral, the Church of Saint Roch and the Chiado Museum. Traditional Portuguese cuisine is served in the restaurant, along with carefully chosen local wines.
My Story Hotel Ouro
My Story Hotel Ouro – Lisbon, Portugal
My Story Hotel Ouro is housed in an 18th-century building on Rua Áurea, better known as Rua do Ouro (Gold Street), in the heart of the Baixa district. Booking.com travellers who stayed here recommend it as a great base for sightseeing. The on-site restaurant plates up typical cuisine such as dried cod, paired with an enticing cocktail list.
BessaHotel Liberdade – Lisbon, Portugal
Situated on the tree-lined boulevard of Avenida da Liberdade, BessaHotel Liberdade is decked out with an unconventional vertical garden which has to be seen to be believed. You can top up your tan on the sun-kissed terrace or take a dip in the indoor spa pool. All rooms have an integrated Bluetooth sound system, and some have balconies overlooking the city.